Out via Betonkopf Media by mid-April 2022 are 4 new vinyl reissues of the albums “:Wreath of Barbs:” and “Body Census” with direct metal mastering.
Originally released in 2001 and deleted for years, “:Wreath of Barbs:” will get a reissue on clear and black vinyl, both as limited editions of 300 copies each.
“Body Census” was originally released in 2007 and now sees a re-release wine red and black vinyl, again limited to 300 copies each.
What is direct metal mastering ?
Unlike conventional disc mastering, where the mechanical audio modulation is cut onto a lacquer-coated aluminum disc, DMM cuts straight into metal (copper), utilizing a high frequency carrier system and specialized diamond styli, vibrating at more than 40 kHz (i.e. 60 kHz) to facilitate the cutting.
The direct metal mastering technology addresses the lacquer mastering technology’s issue of pre-echoes during record play, caused by the cutting stylus unintentionally transferring some of the subsequent groove wall’s impulse signal into the previous groove wall. In particular, a quiet passage followed by a loud sound often clearly revealed a faint pre-echo of the loud sound occurring 1.8 seconds ahead of time (the duration of one revolution at 33 rpm). This problem could also appear as post-echo, 1.8 seconds after a peak in volume.
Another improvement is noise reduction. The lacquer mastering method bears a higher risk of adding unwanted random noise to the recording, caused by the enclosure of small dust particles when spraying the silvering on the lacquer master, which is the necessary first step of the electroplating process for reproduction of the master disc. As the DMM master disc is already made of metal (copper), this step is not required, and its faults are avoided.
With the groove being cut straight into a metal foil, this removed a number of plating stages in the manufacturing process. This gave rise to more upper frequency levels and less surface noise. Additionally, groove pre-echo problems are significantly diminished. Bass is typically tight and well defined, even described as more accurate than the fat, mushy sound of lacquered vinyl pressings.
However, because of the modulation arising from this cutting method, the sound of such ‘DMM’ records has often been labelled as bright or edgy. Let’s see if you will hear the difference.
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