Berliner Meister vinyl records

Bolívar SoloistsBolívar Soloists
Paavali JumppanenPaavali Jumppanen

The Berliner Meister Schallplatten company was founded in 2012 in order to revive a sound recording method which is rarely used today: the direct cutting of vinyl long-playing records. But what are the deliberations behind direct cutting? Why make new recordings that are destined only for LPs? Why analogue technology? Why forgo editing, post-recording mixing and all manner of digital sound enhancement? Is this just a case of nostalgia? No. There are numerous good reasons for direct-to-disc recording, including the conviction that such recordings produce unique musical and tonal results. For a start, there are very many releases on LP these days that are mostly re-releases of old analogue magnetic tape recordings or new digital releases made from a CD master and subsequently released on vinyl. Berliner Meister Schallplatten, however, wishes to create new range of repertoire that has been recorded exclusively for release on analogue vinyl records.

The direct-to-disc recording method is an obvious choice. Actually it is the original method that was used by the inventor of the disc record, Emil Berliner. In a direct-to-disc recording, the sound is transferred in real time via a microphone to the cutting machine, whereby the cutting stylus “scratches” the oscillations onto the so-called lacquer disc. It is not possible to take a break, and also not possible to undertake any changes later (so-called post-production). The invention of the magnetic tape and later on digital recording permit editing and subsequent overdubbing and sound enhancement, but Berliner Meister Schallplatten decided to abstain from these technical developments quite deliberately for two reasons: firstly, an acoustic signal that is transferred directly from a microphone to an LP results in less interference and falsification of the sound, and also the equipment that is used (magnetic tapes or digital recording apparatus) can no longer create a disturbance. The second reason is far more important: we get the musicians’ immediate reactions, and thus the direct-to-disc recording is far more honest. They play with more fervour and adrenalin levels are high during the recording session. And that goes for the recording team too. All this is audible. This is why Berliner Meister Schallplatten works with musicians who are confident in themselves and who are proud of what they play in such an intensive and stressful situation.

Our name – Berliner Meister Schallplatten – stands for our programme: With the name “Berliner” we not only pay homage to the inventor of the record and the Emil Berliner Studios which carry his name, but also the location of our recording studios. The world-famous Emil Berliner Studios emanated from Deutsche Grammophon’s studios. With the word “Meister” we not only refer to the Meistersaal, a truly beautiful and historic concert hall which is situated directly above our studios in the heart of Berlin, but also to the term “Tonmeister” (recording engineer), whose skills enable one to listen to an LP in one’s home in the most masterly quality imaginable.

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