MONOCHROME Recordings Takes Vinyl Exclusivity to New Extremes

Monochrome Recordings is a new vinyl label with a seriously exclusive business model.

The live performances will be "...captured entirely with velocity microphones through Altec pre-amplification." The sessions will then be mixed to a Full-Track Ampex recorder with Westinghouse tube circuitry on Scotch Dynarange tape. Mastering will be ​via a Scully Lathe and Westrex cutter head with pressing done on a Finebilt hand loaded vinyl press.

While the first release originated as a 24 bit digital recording, future recordings will be done on a restored tubed Ampex full-track recorder. The producer also says that all sessions are recorded in stereo in the digital domain using a pair of Neumann SDC's through Grace pre-amplification.

Only 100 copies of each record will be sold at a price that has yet to be announced.

The label recently announced its first vinyl issue: a solo piano recording by jazz pianist Doug Carn whose 1970's albums on the Black Jazz Records label are now considered cult classics by jazz aficionados. Carn has worked with Shirley Horn, Stanley Turrentine, and Lou Donaldson among others.

In 1971 at age 23 Carn released Infant Eyes and a year later issued Spirit of the New Land a Lee Morgan tribute. In 1973 came Revelation. But the vital energy and creativity resulting from his partnership with Jean Carn quickly faded. Now Carn is back.

The solo piano recording was produced at Hamilton Stage Studios in the new Rahway Arts District.

To pre-order or to bitch and moan email:

JJZL's picture

It seems incoherent with using an analog tape recorder

Michael Fremer's picture
I think you might mean "inconsistent". But the company says that mono will be analog with ribbon mikes and stereo will be hi-res digital with condenser mikes. Their company, their choices.
Jim Tavegia's picture

Just the set up costs to run just 100 lps will push the price much higher. Could they not run the lot on the metal mother until she gave out? Could not a cool 1,000 be sold?

Michael Fremer's picture
Your guess as to their business model reasoning is as good if not better than mine..
suteetat's picture

Well, I hope the music is well worth whatever they are going to charge. I am a bit tired of all the audiophile quality random noise or mediocre performance. If the music is not worth listening to, it does not matter how great it sounds, in my opinion but I suppose each person's priority is different.

suteetat's picture

In my cynical mind, a brand new recording that is made available only 100 copies in great sound, sounds like they are aiming at small market where buyers care more about the sound quality and exclusivity than the value of the music itself. Seems like they don't believe that the music will give them the sale volume. Hope I am wrong!

amarok89's picture

I get so sick of the pretentious bulls**t from some of these labels. "We are going to make an audio experience so AWESOME you'll take our a second mortgage." Next!!!

Mendo's picture

There's just nothing that sells like exclusivity. I've purchased many thing in my life, not because I really wanted or need them, but because I didn't want to miss out. I will here, because the will be big $.

PeterPani's picture

record Bob Dylan or Lady Gaga on solo piano they will not sell 100 records.


Just to elaborate on Michael's post...

The vinyl will only be released in mono. The initial session was tracked via velocity (ribbon) microphones through Altec preamps whilst recording to a dedicated mono digital recorder (DAA). Subsequently, we hope to maintain an AAA recording chain for all future albums.

Stereo downloads will be the sole digital releases. These were done with Neumann SDC microphones through a Grace preamp and a separate stereo digital recorder.

We anticipate the first LP to drop early to mid October. Prices will be modest considering their limited run. We do hope discerning audiophiles will find them within their budget not just as historical editions, but as a collection of superb recordings of tremendous music by legendary artists.

​If anyone has further questions please email:

Thanks again!

Jeffczar's picture

Where are they getting all this Scotch 203 Dynarange tape ? My understanding is they haven't made this in years, I guess there is still some NOS stuff around. Up until about 10 years ago you could still buy box loads of 203'/229/ or 212. I remember buying dozens of sealed reels hoping to get back into open reel recording just for kicks. I restored an Ampex AX50 (no easy task I will say). I finally got it running up to spec. Recorded a few reels and wow was it good. And the smell of opening a new reel of tape, well if you haven't done it, you're just letting the best things in life pass you by ! Got rid of the whole setup though, although now I wish I had kept it just to play with once in a while.

Ortofan's picture

Is anything wrong with the new tapes from RMG or Quantegy?

Andrew L's picture

They make ERC's business model seem posively populist!

jahnghalt's picture

With, let's say, Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker?

I'd guess it was something like 4-6 lacquers and over 10,000 pressings.

So, one-hundred seems absurd - especially given that this is not direct-to-disk.

Michael Fremer's picture
The only wayh Sheffield could have used 4-6 lacquers would be if they had 4-6 cutting lathes simultaneously operating and I don't think they had more than 1 going.
jahnghalt's picture

I don't have them at hand, but I seem to recall more than one in a photo inside a double cover (bet you know exactly where your Sheffields are, Mr. Fremer).

Lance77's picture

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