Fully Restored, Now Used to Cut Indie Records
History: Rumor has it, there are less than nine LS-76 Scully lathes in the world. Prior to acquiring it, the Scully was partially refurbished and we’ve done a considerable amount of work to bring it to full restoration. We believe this particular lathe to be serial number 001 of the LS-76 model because it’s completely void of serial numbers, which is unlike any other Scully.
How It’s Used: The Scully is used to cut vinyl lacquer masters, which are then used to create the metal parts that press records. After tracking and mixing, mastering (and vinyl mastering) is the final step before an album is pressed.
The Scully lathe is used every day at Infrasonic Mastering. We’re cutting fewer production masters for CD duplication now that more bands are releasing their albums on digital and vinyl only, so the Scully is an integral part of our workflow. Some of the recent albums we’ve mastered to vinyl on this particular lathe include projects with Fool’s Gold, The Soft Pack, Wavves and others for labels like Stones Throw and Suicide Squeeze.
Modern Modifications: It’s a Scully mechanically, but we’re using Neumann cutting heads and electronics on it, which had to be retrofitted to work with the Scully lathe. Since these machines are no longer made, it’s often necessary to fabricate modern parts from scratch in order to repair or modify the system.
Lessons Learned: I think modern recording engineers will be forced to learn the physical limitations of the vinyl format, something that engineers in previous decades were more familiar with. Engineers understood how to mix for the format; they accommodated for its limitations by correcting issues in the mix that could adversely affect the way it would translate to vinyl. Since CDs don’t have the same physical limitations as vinyl (low end phase requirements, frequency response, distortion and tracking issues, etc.), these challenges are often overlooked, making vinyl cutting more challenging than ever. Fortunately, our experience at Infrasonic clues us in to the majority of those issues before we cut the lacquer and we’re able to get the best cut possible.
About The Author:
Pete Lyman is the Co-Owner and Principal Mastering Engineer of Infrasonic Sound, an audio and vinyl mastering studio in Los Angeles, CA. Lyman has mastered projects for artists including No Age, Wavves, Best Coast, Shooter Jennings, Butch Walker, People Under the Stairs, Norah Jones and The Soft Pack. For more info visit www.infrasonicsound.com.