Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

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Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby Greg Reierson » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:15 pm

The plating shop called today to say they ruined four of my lacquers. Left them in the cleaning solution too long. The interesting thing is that he said the amount of time to leave a lacquer in the cleaning solution depends on the type of lacquer. Specifically, he said Apollo lacquers need a little more time but if you leave MDC in that long then it causes trouble = noise, etc.

Does this make sense to you guys with plating experience or was he just covering for a goof-up in the plant? He was very apologetic and seemed genuinely sorry. I don't know much about plating but I guess it seems plausible.

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Re: Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby Aussie0zborn » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:00 am

Yes, its true. I don't recall the exact reason for this occurring but leaving them in the degreasing solution for too long would cause them to be noisy.

It sounds like they successfully plated them, made mothers and listened to those mothers - is this correct?

I imagine they don't see too many MDC lacquers. Might be a good idea to throw a reject cut in the box next time so that they can experiment a little. Before sending them re-cuts, you might determine if they have worked out the correct degreasing time.
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Re: Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby mossboss » Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:50 am

Not every lacquer that Goes through the process of plating up is going to finish up perfect
The process is simple enough on the one hand with a stack of unknowns on the other.
One would have thought that after 100 odd years we would have it all down pat. I am afraid that's not the case at all. As an example, We never had worms in our Aus ops never heard of them until I got to the uk. There they call them the friendly worms. They show up like a wriggle on the uncut surface. No one seems to know the reason they appear or how to get rid of them. Than after you pulled your hair out they just go away as sudden as the appeared.
The crazy thing is that some 12 months later we got them in Aus. What a night mare, ruined dozens or more cuts. they than disappeared
Help? From where?
In your case well it could be anything including the cleaning solution keeping in mind that the raw material used to make them is rarely the same from batch to batch.
That's why they mix a few 1000 gallons at a time trying to get some consistency.
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Re: Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby andybee » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:01 am

in my experience (before I had a pressing plant), most pressing plants prefer MDC Laquers.
They say, they are much easier to silver then Apollo.
The formula of the MDC laquer surface is for sure different then Apollo/Transco.
We also silvered sucessfully some shank PVC discs, but backround noise from cutting is much higher then laquer discs.

All the steps, preparing, cleaning the laquer etc. are critical, and you never know, what´s happening.
Sometimes you repeat the hole process (cutting, plating, testpressings) and the result is
different, even if all steps are done with the same temperatures, materials etc.
And every plating shop has his own way and formula of preperationl, silvering etc.
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Re: Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby boogievan » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:25 am

MDC lacquer is soft - easy to cut - and very flatly coated. However, after processing, the high treble - shakers - tambourine - mandolin picking - filigree and lace of reverb tails - etc... in the mothers (and pressings) will be attenuated, compared to the sound of mothers that are grown on fathers that are grown on lacquers (having cuts of the same program) that have a stiffer formula - thereby having more 'plastic memory.' Transcos that work have the best sound - are Trans-parent - but unfortunately the formula sometimes makes 'once-around' whooshes or scrapes or static - especially when QC'ing with headphones.

Indeed, random and repeating noises are sometimes heard in Transco lacquers used for refs - so, not always an e-forming issue - the factory knows this and tries to supply lots that have acceptable surface noise - but we've experienced many Transcos that don't have a noisy groove that nevertheless make noisy mothers. We were able to play back 'shot' lacquers which somehow survived separation and didn't take on any noise, yet the stampers made from them did have unacceptably loud, once-around, scrape-like noises or consistent static - sometimes only in one channel! This has happened with several lots of Transcos at three different labs this year. The surface noise is not visible at 150x, so, they're very small disturbances... Alas, if the issue is only in the metal, the factory can blame the lab when it might still be the lacquer formula that is the cause of normal processing causing invisible, but audible, damage to the walls of the metal groove.

Our MDC cuts did not make stampers with once-around noise, and neither did the few Apollos we tried. But 9 out of 10 Transcos this year have made otherwise good sounding stampers with preposterous noise, requiring many recuts...

One interesting theory is that something about the formula can sometimes make the silver 'grabby.' So, when the father is carefully separated from the lacquer, his silver-coated face (which has reverse-plated onto the nickel matrix) doesn't want to let go of the mandrel. A sector of slightly torn groove walls will result in a 'once-around,' sub-microscopic damage pattern in the father that will telegraph to the mother (since she is grown on the father).

Mossy will recall that someone in Canoga Park had this issue and decided that his pre-plating current was initially too low - he later posted (at that his electrode connections had become resistive and limited the current until enough nickel had developed on the bottom of the father to present more electrons to the suspended ions at which point the current had a normal value. He stated that once he corrected the initial pre-plating current, the silver was better reverse-plated onto the nickel, so silver groove-tear no longer happened during separation.

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Re: Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby mossboss » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:33 pm

Argh the joys of making vinyl records ha
Well yes I remember that post
The guy was effectively dummy plating his cut lacquers, nothing worst, unbeknown to him of course, his output was bad until he figured it all out
I wouldnt go that far as saying that Transco Apollo or MDC are in any way better or worst, the best one can say is They are different
Over many years we have established that there are variations in all of them
I would say some of the comments are valid, overall no one can say with confidence, this is what you do with this lacquer or that lacquer, simply does not work
People do say this that the other, despite softness hardness evenness or whatever one gets variations in all of them even within one box of the same brand let alone from the three diferent formulas
It is the nature of the product the way is made the incomplete science behind it you name it
Well, having said that it is experience that counts, mostly empirical, well tried methods in making that crucial component, these two companies have it, No doubt about it
It never stops to amaze me, these companies have been at it for so long they stuck it out in the days when sales must have been almost non existant, prices went up and up so as to keep the doors open, nowdays to ruin a lacquer it is a considerable cost, in days gone past it was a low enough cost item that no one ever bothered complaining
The debate no doubt will remain prominent amongst platers cutters pressing plants etc
In my view it will always remain as such A debate
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Re: Lacquer Specific Plating Issues

Unread postby Dub Bull » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:10 am

I saw an interesting thread here:

The OP pasted a commentary by Classic Records which had specific problems with lacquer brand and silvering.

"...Transcos became noisy as a result of their supplier of nitrocellulose acetate, the material lacquers are coated with, delivering material that was not filtered as rigorously as it had been in the past and chemistry problems with the materials used to make nitrocellulose acetate. Further complicating the matter these problematic lacquers, even when we used hand-selected examples, often had problems in plating during the silvering process, requiring sides to be recut. On a tip from the plating plant, we sourced and began importing MDC brand lacquers from Japan, which for a while, were both quieter and plated more consistently than Transcos...."

I agree that Transcos usually sound v. good. However, there's a post here from concrete man who cited issues with test pressings using stampers made from his cuts on Transcos, even though the test cuts were quiet. Mothers were reported to be quiet, too, but most labs only do spot checks of the groove, so, the issue could have been missed, there.


Fortunately for Classic Records and others, the issue eventually goes away...for years, it would seem.

Good luck, Tim E.

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