Posted on 11th December, 2018


The Berlin-based Label Berliner Meister Schallplatten is producing live recorded vinyl using Direct-to-Disc methods.

Up until the 1950s, most recordings were made direct to vinyl but, with the emergence of new technology, direct-to-disc became marginalised until it nearly vanished from professional recording practices.

In 2012 sound engineers Stephan Flock and Rainer Maillard founded the Label Berliner Meister Schallplatten. They made a name for themselves thanks to their bespoke methods of recording and producing an unmistakable quality for the artists they represent.

direct to disc live vinyl recording

When the opportunity came up to buy a lathe cutter that was destined for destruction, they had a vision not only to preserve the knowledge and the technical know-how but also to establish a new tradition of professional direct-to-disc recording

Direct-to-disc recording requires a lot more preparation than digital recording as you can't make any alterations with the cuts being made directly to the master. Lacking a storage process on tape or as a computer file, there are very short and direct signal routes. The instruments' sound waves are transformed into electrical oscillations by microphones and cut into a groove on the lacquer disc by the cutting stylus directly and without any delay.

All of this immediacy points to you needing the artist(s), the technical equipment and the sound engineer to all be on their A game. There are no second chances to be had here.

direct to disc live vinyl recording

In the process of replicating discs, technical restrictions limit the number of copies to around 100,000 records that can be produced from a single recording. Turning this live recording experience into a beautiful special limited edition; a collector's item.

What this process does offer is a unique listening experience taken from a one-take live recording. There is a depth, an understanding of the musicians and flawless quality in the record produced. Something that can be lacking in over polished, digitally-produced records.

The rarity of this method nowadays, (with only a handful of professional devices like it left in the world), also adds a prestige that artists want to aspire to. The Berlin Philharmoniker recorded Brahms Sinfonias under Sir Simon Rattle using Rainer Maillard and this method.

We are certainly looking forward to experiencing these recordings.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

Get the latest.

Sign up to discover the best news and reviews from StereoNET UK in our FREE Newsletter.

Posted in: Music