Pressing plant information in the matrix

johmbolayajohmbolaya 4,472 Posts
edited July 2005 in Strut Central
Some of this may be well known to a lot of you, but it came from a discussion on different Atlantic Records pressings, and how to determine which plant it was pressed at. Basically, all the matrix information. I found a thread that might be of interest:

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=37991

Some examples on the information found within:

Hey, one of your guys posted about "secret re-1,-2 recuts?". Originally "re" meant re-cutting to change a song, or a mix, or EQ. By the time I started cutting in '72 it just referred to any replacement lacquers needed down the line. As I recall WB and UA used that system. Columbia used PAL and PBL prefixes for side 1 and 2 and A and B suffixes for the Santa Maria, Ca. plant, C and D for Terra Haute, In. and E and F for Pitman N.J. Six (or more) sets of lacquers were usually cut for any big-name artist, so the very first mastering would be 1A,1B,1C,1D,1E,and1F. Any recuts would be the next higher number for that plant. That way they could easily keep track of how many replacements were needed for each plant. If a part was blown in processing, the next higher number was used, so even the first run could have numbers higher than 1 or 2 . As I recall when WB started using the Columbia plants in the 70s they went over to the 1A, 1B etc. Our old "buddies" at MCA also numbered each lacquer and added a -P or Pville and -G or Gville for Pinckneyville, Il., and Gloversville, NY respectively. I can't remember for the life of me what Capitol used... I know one of their plants was on Orange St. here in L.A.
as well as...
Indeed, "AT" does denote a lacquer cut at Atlantic Studios. Some of the mastering engineers there over the years included one Dennis King (he of the "D.K." initials; from the late 1970's on his lacquers had a stamped "ATLANTIC STUDIOS D.K." on the dead wax) and Bell Sound alumnus Sam Feldman ("sf," the one who inscribed "Phil + Ronnie" on those lacquers for the Let It Be LP and other Spector-produced Apple sides in 1970).

A hint as to pressing plants who handled Atlantic during the period of this release (as on the suffix of the matrix number on the label) include:
- PR = Presswell Records Mfg. Co., Ancora, NJ - they handled most of Atlantic's LP's during much of this period
- LY = Shelley Products, Huntington Station, NY
- SP = Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA
- MO = Monarch Record Mfg. Co., Los Angeles, CA
- PL = Plastic Products, Inc., Memphis, TN (mostly 45's, alas)
- RI = PRC Recording Corp., Richmond, IN
- AR = Allied Record Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA (after WEA acquired the plant in '78-'79)
And let's not forget Columbia, which pressed LP's for Atlantic (only available via the Columbia Record Club, a.k.a. Columbia House) up to 1973 and after 1978-79.

As for that pressing: It had to have been post-1975, for Atlantic's offices moved from 1841 Broadway to 75 Rockefeller Plaza in late 1973/early 1974, and the W logo first appeared on Atlantic product around the spring or summer of '75. Also, what's the catalogue number on that copy, and what was it originally? That could also be your clue.

The other thing was that beginning around 1973-74, Atlantic began overhauling their lacquer mastering apparatus. They replaced one of their Scully lathes with a lathe that cut 45's in my collection of such singles of the period as "I Shot The Sheriff" by Eric Clapton, "Supernatural Thing" by Ben E. King, and "Hijack" by Herbie Mann. The other Scully lathe -- one of the last lacquers cut on which was the 45 of "Pick Up The Pieces" by AWB -- was gone by mid-'75, replaced with a Neumann.

  Comments


  • BeatChemistBeatChemist 1,465 Posts


    You deep diggin dudes blow my mind sometimes. I love my records and all... but damn! Tracking them back to the plant, and THEN possibly to which replacement laquer was used? DAMN.

    Now THAT's puttin in work.

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts
    One of my favorite activities to do when purchasin' 12" singles back in the '80s was to check the run out groove to see if mastering engineer Herbie 'Pump' Powers Jr. had inscribed his signature + some phrase (occasionally cryptic) - this was pretty much commonplace on the work he did for Cory Robbins's Profile Records and Tom Silverman's Tommy Boy... Much like the SST label was a trademark for quality for a stretch durin' the mid-'80s for anythin' punk rock related, the presence of Powers's handiwork was a sentinel for good product in his heyday...

  • Deep_SangDeep_Sang 1,081 Posts
    One of my favorite activities to do when purchasin' 12" singles back in the '80s was to check the run out groove to see if mastering engineer Herbie 'Pump' Powers Jr. had inscribed his signature + some phrase (occasionally cryptic) - this was pretty much commonplace on the work he did for Cory Robbins's Profile Records and Tom Silverman's Tommy Boy... Much like the SST label was a trademark for quality for a stretch durin' the mid-'80s for anythin' punk rock related, the presence of Powers's handiwork was a sentinel for good product in his heyday...

    Sorry to stray...

    But what do you consider his heyday?

    I have been thinking about this a little bit lately as I wade through endless piles of crappy late HP productions.

    84-87 ish maybe?

  • johmbolayajohmbolaya 4,472 Posts
    One of my favorite activities to do when purchasin' 12" singles back in the '80s was to check the run out groove to see if mastering engineer Herbie 'Pump' Powers Jr. had inscribed his signature + some phrase (occasionally cryptic) - this was pretty much commonplace on the work he did for Cory Robbins's Profile Records and Tom Silverman's Tommy Boy... Much like the SST label was a trademark for quality for a stretch durin' the mid-'80s for anythin' punk rock related, the presence of Powers's handiwork was a sentinel for good product in his heyday...

    I always wondered why the Pac Men on the "Pack Jam" 12" was scribbled. Oh well.

  • LaserWolfLaserWolf Portland Oregon 11,518 Posts
    Some of this may be well known to a lot of you, but it came from a discussion on different Atlantic Records pressings, and how to determine which plant it was pressed at. Basically, all the matrix information. I found a thread that might be of interest:



    http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=37991



    Some examples on the information found within:



    Hey, one of your guys posted about "secret re-1,-2 recuts?". Originally "re" meant re-cutting to change a song, or a mix, or EQ. By the time I started cutting in '72 it just referred to any replacement lacquers needed down the line. As I recall WB and UA used that system. Columbia used PAL and PBL prefixes for side 1 and 2 and A and B suffixes for the Santa Maria, Ca. plant, C and D for Terra Haute, In. and E and F for Pitman N.J. Six (or more) sets of lacquers were usually cut for any big-name artist, so the very first mastering would be 1A,1B,1C,1D,1E,and1F. Any recuts would be the next higher number for that plant. That way they could easily keep track of how many replacements were needed for each plant. If a part was blown in processing, the next higher number was used, so even the first run could have numbers higher than 1 or 2 . As I recall when WB started using the Columbia plants in the 70s they went over to the 1A, 1B etc. Our old "buddies" at MCA also numbered each lacquer and added a -P or Pville and -G or Gville for Pinckneyville, Il., and Gloversville, NY respectively. I can't remember for the life of me what Capitol used... I know one of their plants was on Orange St. here in L.A.




    as well as...

    Indeed, "AT" does denote a lacquer cut at Atlantic Studios. Some of the mastering engineers there over the years included one Dennis King (he of the "D.K." initials; from the late 1970's on his lacquers had a stamped "ATLANTIC STUDIOS D.K." on the dead wax) and Bell Sound alumnus Sam Feldman ("sf," the one who inscribed "Phil + Ronnie" on those lacquers for the Let It Be LP and other Spector-produced Apple sides in 1970).





    A hint as to pressing plants who handled Atlantic during the period of this release (as on the suffix of the matrix number on the label) include:

    - PR = Presswell Records Mfg. Co., Ancora, NJ - they handled most of Atlantic's LP's during much of this period

    - LY = Shelley Products, Huntington Station, NY

    - SP = Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA

    - MO = Monarch Record Mfg. Co., Los Angeles, CA

    - PL = Plastic Products, Inc., Memphis, TN (mostly 45's, alas)

    - RI = PRC Recording Corp., Richmond, IN

    - AR = Allied Record Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA (after WEA acquired the plant in '78-'79)

    And let's not forget Columbia, which pressed LP's for Atlantic (only available via the Columbia Record Club, a.k.a. Columbia House) up to 1973 and after 1978-79.



    As for that pressing: It had to have been post-1975, for Atlantic's offices moved from 1841 Broadway to 75 Rockefeller Plaza in late 1973/early 1974, and the W logo first appeared on Atlantic product around the spring or summer of '75. Also, what's the catalogue number on that copy, and what was it originally? That could also be your clue.



    The other thing was that beginning around 1973-74, Atlantic began overhauling their lacquer mastering apparatus. They replaced one of their Scully lathes with a lathe that cut 45's in my collection of such singles of the period as "I Shot The Sheriff" by Eric Clapton, "Supernatural Thing" by Ben E. King, and "Hijack" by Herbie Mann. The other Scully lathe -- one of the last lacquers cut on which was the 45 of "Pick Up The Pieces" by AWB -- was gone by mid-'75, replaced with a Neumann.







    Thanks John this is great stuff. Somebody is going to have to collect all this info in one place. I mentioned before that Beatles colleting in the last few years has become all about the pressing plant. There is now a 3 volume US Beatles guide; Captiol 45s, Capitol lps, VJ. An original Beatles lp typically has, I think, 6 pressing plant variations. If you don't have all 6 you aint serious.



    I am glad that us soulgroove guys have not gone that deep, but tracking original presses and variations is still important.



    Dan


  • johmbolayajohmbolaya 4,472 Posts
    Thanks John this is great stuff. Somebody is going to have to collect all this info in one place. I mentioned before that Beatles colleting in the last few years has become all about the pressing plant. There is now a 3 volume US Beatles guide; Captiol 45s, Capitol lps, VJ. An original Beatles lp typically has, I think, 6 pressing plant variations. If you don't have all 6 you aint serious.

    I am glad that us soulgroove guys have not gone that deep, but tracking original presses and variations is still important.

    I have The Beatles On Apple, and eventually I will get the Apple solo book, all of them (including the ones you mentioned) by Bruce Spizer. In terms of different Capitol pressings, you have the three plants, and each one doing a mono and stereo pressing. Let's not forget the fact that in some parts of the mid-West and East, they would also get Canadian pressings, and occasionally they shared the same catalog number. (check http://www.beatle.net if anyone is interested in checking out these guides).

    I brought this here because a lot of people on SS do ask on how to verify an actual first pressing of an album, especially on a major. While label variation IS important, sometimes one label variation may go through two or three subsequent pressings. With Atlantic stuff, a certain album that may be the "sample of the week" may not have had any more than 20,000 copies made, if that, but if a release has a quirk that is known, collectors and dealers can determine which is the first pressing. If anything, collectors can also keep this knowledge in mind with someone who is looking for that key first pressing.
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