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April 2012
Enjoy the Music.com Review MagazineWorld Premiere!
Ultimate Tone Records (UTR)
Advancing into the past with amazing new 78 rpm audiophile vinyl pressings!
Article By Claude LeMer

 

Ultimate Tone Records (UTR) Vinyl LP  With the powerful resurgence of vinyl in the new Millennium coinciding with a steep decline in CD sales worldwide, is it not surprising that a new spin on an old format dares to breathe some life into an old flame. Ultimate Tone Records, or simply UTR, is hedging their bets on the assumption that the most demanding audiophiles will be willing to go to the ultimate upscaling of the vinyl format -- brand new 78 rpm remasterings. Say that again, I hear you voicing. That's right, first there was MoFi's Japanese pressed half-speed remasterings in the late 1970s and 1980s, then came along Classic Records in the late 1990s offering up select 45 rpm editions of their LP catalogue, a trend continuing with Analogue Productions, Music Matters and many others and now UTR is venturing in uncharted waters with the schedule release of no less than five titles on the hi-speed format starting next June. Harking back to the fabled CBS 6-Eye, these new releases will be referred to as UTR 10-Eye.

You may think this is suicidal given that the mass majority of record-players still offer only 33 and 45 rpm, then again most audiophile do not own a good reel to reel deck and yet Bottlehead's Tape Project is selling well despite the $300 (subscription) price for 1/4 inch Master Tape copies. As UTR president Jonathan Fisher justly points out, "With the growing number of used and even new 3-speed idler and rim drives flooding the market, their definitely was a vacuum to fill and we are well positioned to be at the forefront of this emerging wave". For those poor unfortunate souls who do not own a 3-speed table, UTR can furnish an electronic speed converter module or a simple mechanical pulley adapter for an old Regae 3 or Lynn LP12 (just ask).

Most people equate 78's with those ol' scratchy 'narrow-banded' shellacs; nothing could be further from the truth with regard to this latest medium. In fact the 78 rpm speed is about the only common trait with the older gen. UTR will be cutting lacquer with a regular 'variable micro-groove' lateral width as opposed to the wider 'fixed groove pitch' of the 1920s and beyond; i.e. no need to change your favorite cartridge for a 78 stili replacement. Also, gone will be the elevated and distracting shellac and early-vinyl noisefloor. Instead, all UTR's will be pressed in Holland at Phillips former pressing plants on Super Extra eXreme (S.E.X.) Virgin vinyl, thus surpassing even the legendary JVC Japanese pressings but without the often-times 'bass-lite' sound signature. That is because first and foremost UTR employs a greater concentration of carbon in its vinyl pellets than anybody else. In double-blind experiment tests between 'non-carbonized' clear, normal moderate-carbon black and heavy carbon deep black vinyl, the latter came out on top every time, countering some past experiences of others who are no longer in the market. Fisher argues that these results reflect in fact a large preference with many tubeophiles who seek out black carbon plates for their more ballsy organic textures instead of gray or silver aluminum and even rarer copper ones.

Secondly the choice of vinyl weight may also surprise some, with UTR choosing 165 gram over 150, 180 and 200 gram as the ideal 'mechanical impedance load' claiming superior 'groove factor' and subjective organic rendering. The new 78s will also benefit from agent 317XXX Lateral Ultra Bias Enhancer (L.U.B.E.), an improved LUBE for the SEX formulated pressing anti-static ingredient once used in the 1960s by RCA's Living Stereo laboratory research department reserved for 'hotter cutting test pressings'. All titles will be remastered from the original session or master analog tapes and cut by veteran engineer Douglas Horn at SeaBass Mastering Lab.

The first five titles were chosen for their musical impact and in commemorating their 45th anniversary; all are limited to 1000 copies and priced around $75 for a set of three 12 inch double sided 78 rpm containing roughly 6 to 7 minutes per side.

Starting in June and throughout the summer will be the following:

Ultimate Tone Records (UTR)1) Jefferson Airplane
    Surrealistic Pillow

2) The Velvet Underground
    The Velvet Underground and Nico

3) The Jimi Hendrix Experience
    Are you Experience

4) The Beatles
    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

5) Cream
    Disraeli Gears

 

Later in the year, UTR says we can expect the following 'Golden-Aged' titles:

6) Miles Davis
    Birth of the Cool

7) Sonny Rollins
    Way Out West

8) Frank Sinatra
    Come Dance with Me!

9) Art Pepper
    Art Pepper + Eleven - Modern Jazz Classics

10) Frank Sinatra
    Nice 'n' Easy

11) Johnny Griffin
    The Kerry Dancers

12) Bill Evans Trio
    Waltz for Debby

 

Be sure to reserve fast before they fly off the hook!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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