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Groove Topology: Noise

This article series analyses the geometrical representation of various signals when being cut/pressed onto a lacquer/vinyl record. It is meant to help understand the physical subtleties of the process.

Part three of the series looks into the representation of noise alike signals on a disk record. Pink noise has similarities with many music signals. Consequently, their groove representation will also tend to look similar.

Also see:
Groove Topology: Sine Wave
Groove Topology: Clipped Sine
Groove Topology: Sawtooth Wave

Pink Noise, Mono, 33 1/3 rpm, 12″ outer

Near the outer border of the disk, tracking speed is very fast. Thus, the geometry can remain rather smooth and easy to cut or track.

Pink Noise, Mono, 33 1/3 rpm, 12″ inner

Closer to the disk center, tracking speed reduces, whereby the geometry must become substantially rougher to reproduce the same pink noise signal.

Pink Noise, Panned Left

Panned left, only the inner side of the groove will show modulation, the outer side remains flat..

Pink Noise, Panned Right

Panned right, only the outer side of the groove is modulated, while the inner side remains flat..

White Noise

White noise produces aggressive geometry with the physical parts having to reproduce and follow huge accelerations. These high velocities, when sustained over long periods, can overheat and damage the coils of the cutter-head (or hopefully trigger circuit breakers). Even if just appearing over brief passages, high velocities can “inspire” weaker pickup systems to skip details, in turn provoking obvious audible distortions.

All animations made with the TDR SimuLathe REF/TDR SimuLathe CUT disk mastering simulator series.

Read next: Groove Topology: Sawtooth Wave

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