Vinyl News

Speakers Corner? Analogue Only

Here’s an interesting note I received from the German-based audiophile record label, Speakers Corner. Thought you might like to read it

“In various media, even including the Washington Post, a discussion has arisen about the non-transparent mastering methods of various audiophile LP labels.

“With regard to this, we should like to emphasise that all of Speakers Corner Records’ nearly 700 releases since 1993 have been produced purely using analogue technology, beginning with the microphone right up to the finished LP. At no time were digital files used or was digital processing carried out.”

Speakers Corner? Analogue Only

To be completely transparent, there is one exception to that. Alan Parsons’ Eye in the Sky was recorded digitally but it was mixed using analogue technology and an analogue master tape was created from which the LP was made.

“We pledge not to alter our commitment to the principle of ‘pure analogue’ in the future,” said the company.

For further information about the company’s mastering standards, click

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  • Reply
    Mr. Ashley Carr
    31st August 2022 at 6:32 am

    I’ve been looking for an excuse to post this.

    As you know I’ve been spending quite a lot of time cleaning (over and over again:-)) some of my vinyl recordings. My impression has been that the older the recording the better the sound. My non-scientific impression seems to fall along the digital divide. Analogue vinyl recordings sound better than digital recordings. Is this always true?

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st August 2022 at 10:56 am

      In terms of age? Not always, Ashley. It’s dangerous to generalise. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Let’s remember that modern reissues are almost always aimed at pernickety audiophiles. The original pressings were often not. They were often aimed at people running Dansette record players with a creaky amp pushing out sound to a speaker smaller than the saucer sitting under your tea cup. That was the target audience back then. That was the sound to master towards. Or…they mastered singles towards cheap and nasty transistor radios with a speaker that did its best to mask the sound altogether.
      Often, I’ve applied my best record cleaning techniques to a vintage original pressing only to be faced with compressed mids, squeaky treble and wooly bass. Bad for my HiFi. Great for listening via a transistor radio.
      I have featured articles on this site where the mastering engineer(s) have basically started again from scratch. Doing it right, this time. Without those mass market commercial pressures lurking behind their shoulder (let’s not forget, mastering engineers were often told what sound envelope to work towards, the producers were and are still a major influence on the final sound, the mastering engineer is just being paid to do a job – the best producers just tell the mastering engineer to do the best possible job and then leave the poor guy alone). And they can sound vastly superior.
      Not always, though. Some new reissues show a lack of care and attention.
      But hey that’s why I’m in a job. To report on these things 🙂
      As for the use of digital techniques in the creation of vinyl (is that what you’re alluding to)? It’s been going on for years…and years. Again, check out my features here (under the Feature/Interviews tab) and the mastering engineers freely discuss the processes.
      If done with care and craft and skill, the results can be truly stunning. And yes, many of them also ignore digital and only handle analogue – like Speakers Corner – and they can sound wonderful too. The results often depend on the skill of the engineer and – big one this – the budget applied to the project. It costs a lot of cash to do a great job.
      My advice? Take each and every release as an individual case and beware anyone who offers a blanket opinion. No such thing exists.

  • Reply
    Mr Ashley Carr
    31st August 2022 at 11:32 am

    Fair points.
    It makes me wonder how difficult it is to decide if it is my equipment or the record at times. One of my recent acquisitions was The War On Drugs new album (bought at the gig so the artists hopefully got more money) I Don’t Live Here Anymore. It’s awful to listen to, as was the appalling sound at the O2 Birmingham. I assumed that both engineers involved have been in the game too long and their ears are shot. And yes, I have cleaned it, several times. It was one example of why I whinged earlier. In my very small sample, most albums I have before 1992 sound wonderful, even after the years of abuse before I discovered proper cleaning. Since then, even the audiophile reissue versions of treasured albums are not significantly better.

    You are right about what I was alluding to. I was thinking is it as simple as record analogue for analogue. Note to self, go and check how “new” old records have been remastered. As you say, it probably isn’t that simple and blanket opinion isn’t correct. Bloody frustrating all the same.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      31st August 2022 at 2:43 pm

      Agreed but it’s always been like this. It’s nothing new. Some people think that, just because vinyl is back ‘in’, 100% of the output will be perfect. Nope. Never was, never is, never will be. Creating vinyl is an art because there’s a heap of variables to get wrong. And there’s so many reasons for it: lack of cash, lack of skills, lack of equipment. I remember interviewing a guy who used to be in an old group called The Fireballs. They were hot in the late 50s and early 60s. They knew Buddy Holly and Norman Petty. I recall this ex group member telling me that one of their albums was recorded in the front of a shop! A pane of glass the only thing between them and a busy road outside! So it’s not even the mastering that’s in focus here, sometimes its the original recording that needs examining. Or the cutting engineer. Or the pressing plant. Or…well, you get the idea.

      • Reply
        Ashley Carr
        31st August 2022 at 4:45 pm

        Sounds like the Fireballs recorded in the same studio as the Drugs.

  • Reply
    Ashley Carr
    31st August 2022 at 2:48 pm

    I wonder how many people think they need to upgrade their Hi-Fi because their favourite albums sound crap? 🙂

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