how were copies of vinyl made in "third-party" countries

I have some LPs from the former Yugoslavia, Holland, Hungary, Russia (bought them way back when in bulk) and now I wonder what the process was and how close they are to the original? 

I assume they weren't digitized, they were released in the 70s and early 80s. Anyone knows what they would receive from the recording studio/company/warehouse? Tapes, the "negatives"? Are there copies considered better than others?



Also, could they have also sent the mothers, stampers?

I could be wrong, but the master tapes are not going anywhere. The master disc is made from a lathe cut lacquer and they can make a few masters if needed. I think I said it wrong earlier. The record stamper company would get a master disc. I wasn't in the industry so if I'm wrong I'm willing to be corrected. 

in any case, how do they sound? Content/artists you enjoy, original recording originally done, If enjoyable? involving? well done!!!

There is always the potential for a company to license content and them ,improve' it, 'enhance' imaging, .... Again, if enjoyable, nothing 'odd', there you go. Or, what did they do?

Something wonderful, perhaps research and find original issue, see if importantly better. If so, then replace other favorites.

IOW, unless a professional perfectionist, search for just a bit better can be distracting, finding other wonderful content would be my approach.

An example, that is not necessarily correct, but illustrates how it may go:

EMI/Harvest, in Canada VS the USA. Back in the pure analog days.

EMI makes a copy of the master, and then uses that to make copies for the various areas they market into. Or, they use the orignal copy of the master to make the copies. This creates one possible generational difference. Could be 2nd or 3rd. depends.

When the copies (2nd or 3rd gen) reach the USA, the copy is then copied (3rd or 4th, already!), the orignal copy put in storage, and this new gen down copy set is distributed to the multiple record pressing plants in the large USA market. Then the record goes through the regular process or making the lacquer, mother, stampers, etc, at each pressing plant. OR, it might have lacquers/mothers/stampers (the best scenario) made from that single copy and each plant gets it’s own set of mothers or just stampers, etc, for pressing. Depends. Possibilities, not facts. It can go whatever way is cheaper or easier, quicker or more expedient, overall. If the hardware is not the same at each plant, that issue may be sidestepped by sending tape copies and the entire mastering to lacquer might take place at each pressing plant, or just some pressing plants. Again, depends.

This is all about expedience, get the records to the fickle emotional buyer now, with that new hot album from that new hot artist. This is ground up meat or salami, it has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with selling sausages to the masses. This is not art as a business. it is entirely the opposite. Maybe an individual in the given system may care, but they may not be able to do much. This is about money and viability as a business, pure and simple. The customer is third in line, if they are lucky. Usually they are further down than third in importance, like 5th or 6th.


In Canada, with 10x less customers, so 10x less need for quick simultaneous pressing (like the larger market USA requires) of records..the 2nd or 3rd gen copy of the master goes right to the single pressing plant, and one or more lacquers are cut from the master copy (2nd or 3rd gen from EMI/Harvest), and then the mothers, stampers, etc.

What this means is that the Canadian copies of all analog older EMI/Harvest records can be and sometimes are one generation closer to the master tape, vs those from the USA. Simply due to Canada’s market size not requiring so many lacquers/mothers, etc needing to be made, for simultaneous/parallel production, in order to serve the market in a timely manner. But, was the hardware and the people involved, all up to snuff on that Canadian copy? Generally, people do pretty good, attend to their jobs, have good hardware and good days... and the Canadian copies of older EMI/Harvest show themselves to be that 'one generation better sounding' than the USA copies of EMI/Harvest, regarding the purely analog LP years.


Each country is different and all of it is up in the air, can change at any moment, and can be difficult to find information about. Some companies may only ship stampers, etc, and never ship a master copy. It depends. This is all a grey area from our perspective, in the vast number of cases, regarding publicly shared data...


Hence the audiophile record pursuit and business. Where the providence and path to getting to the LP record in your hands is explicit stated and known. But that is still subject to error and issues. As any audiophile record buyer soon learns.

This is part of why the white hot stampers record buying website exists. No the only reason, mind you, as the whole process of making a record can go good or awry at any given stage, and it’s all a bit of a fog from our buying perspective...

Why do you use the term “third party” with respect to Holland, Russia, Hungary, Yugoslavia? All those countries had great orchestras iand first rate recording and record manufacturing facilities in the 80s and beyond.

From my experience I can tell you that every LP I’ve listened to from the former eastern bloc (USSR, Czech, etc.) is awful.

The only reason I bought them was to listen to a performance by historically important musicians, who were among the best in the world; unfortunately, their recording process was among the worst in the world.