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?




That's a lot of awesome info! I wonder if there is any processing data anywhere on the sleeve or the LP, like abbreviations for the manufacturing steps.

I will definitely look for Canadian prints.

@lewm @drbond 

I have a lot of Russian records, they are awful. Yugoslavian records: flawless. In the 70s and 80s, there was no competition in Eastern Europe. Every company (other than hairdressers and mechanics) was a monopoly in their region. They could make horrible or flawless quality products, it did not make a difference to them. The biggest factor was the culture and the heritage: e.g. Hungary was a science and math oriented country, full of nerds, which showed, musicians cared about quality in every sense, and they couldn't (I assume) cut good copies just for themselves - if they wanted a good LP, they had to have a good all around process.



@teo_audio @bdp24 @russ69 

is there a way to tell if an LP is likely to sound better from looking at it? Such as the weight? Gloss? Little telling signs? I browse a lot of used records and so far it has been a complete hit and miss. 

Generally, as you have found ..original copies from the smaller orignal country can sound quite amazing. Mostly due to the possibility of the shortness and simplicity of the tape-to-LP path.

Regarding EMI/Harvest analog originals...those from Great Britain (smaller home town advantage) can many times sound the best. Eg, you generally wanna consider buying early Black Sabbath as a British pressing, if you can find a mint one. And the same for a few hundred other artists from GB. Good luck with that....

the trick here, is that the Canadian copy generally sells right along side the US copy, on and and all things being equal, like price/costs (which they are not always), the Canadian copy can be better, more often than not.

but, a thousand other un-researched situations exist, is what it is...

The desired abbreviations may be on the lacquer and sometimes are. but deciphering their meaning is not easy as the language shorthand is their own internal company language and each is different.

...and the entire mastering to lacquer might take place at each pressing plant, or just some pressing plants. Again, depends.

A lot depended on how many units they thought would sell. If caught short they may run the stampers longer or make new masters.

is there a way to tell if an LP is likely to sound better from looking at it? 

The answer is no but I always looked for coarse grooves. That shows they were changing the pitch for more dynamic range but there are good sounding records that show even spacing also. 

My wife being a professor of German history means we spend a lot of time in Berlin.  Love buying DDR records like on the Amiga and Eterna labels.  Not the best SQ but fun to see what they allowed.