The Original Source

Remasters of celebrated 4-track recordings from the 1970's — An audiophile pure analogue vinyl series

The Original Source - Inlay by Notes by Rainer Maillard & Sidney C. MeyerDeutsche Grammophon

Futuristic Retro

Deutsche Grammophon announces The Original Source. The renowned Berlin-based Emil Berliner Studios are remastering 4-track recordings from the 1970s, using their own cutting-edge and 100% pure analogue techniques to create versions of the highest possible audio quality.

Studer A80 Tape Machine by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon

From 1970s Quadrophonic Master to 2020s Pure Analogue Vinyl

For the first time, reissues of legendary recordings from the 1970s have been cut directly from the 4-track ½ inch masters, rather than the stereo ¼ inch tape copies. The result is the highest-possible, audiophile quality.

The Original Source by Deutsche GrammophonDeutsche Grammophon

The Idea

A tape copy can never sound as good as the original master tape, so the idea was born to make a product of the highest quality by using the original 4-track masters for lacquer cutting instead of the 2-track copies. They sound sensational.

The Original Source by Deutsche GrammophonDeutsche Grammophon

Stravinsky: Le Sacre du printemps by Claudio Abbado, London Symphony OrchestraDeutsche Grammophon

Why 4-tracks?

The recording department started producing for quadrophonic surround sound as early as 1970. The recording format was a 4-track analogue tape with left, right, front and rear channels. However, back in the day, there was no consumer format ready for quadrophonic playback.

Scotch Recording Tape by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon


More often than not, magnetic tapes that are decades old are damaged due to chemical decomposition or improper storage. Luckily, the quality of the tapes that were used by DG at the time is outstanding. Unlike many other tape types, these show no signs of decomposition.

Studer A80 Tape Machine by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon

Tape Machine

The Studer A80 tape machine used by Emil Berliner Studios is originally from DG’s former Recording Centre in Hanover. After the advent of digital recording technology, the tape machine was modified for lacquer cutting at first.

Studer A80 Tape Machine by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon

Further Modifications

For the Original Source Series, another modification was made in 2022, with the installation of two new 4-track tape heads and additional playback amplifiers for preview and modulation channels.

Custom Passive Channel Mixer by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon


We needed to mix the front and rear channels down to stereo in real time. A new, custom-built mixing desk was required for this project. Emil Berliner Studios have designed a passive mixer, which renders the highest quality without introducing any additional noise to the signal.

Georg-Neumann SP79 Mastering Console by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon


Next in the signal path is the rare Georg-Neumann SP79 mastering console, which is used for analogue signal processing. In order to prepare the audio signal for cutting, analogue effect devices can be inserted into the signal path. 

Ortofon GO 741 Cutting Amplifiers by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon

Cutting Amplifier

The powerful Class-A Ortofon GO 741 cutting amplifiers are yet another unique feature in the signal path. They were developed over many years of close collaboration between DG and the Danish manufacturer. These amplifiers work extremely well with DG’s Neumann SX-74 cutter heads.

Neumann VMS 80 Cutting Lathe by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon

Cutting Lathe

A Neumann VMS 80 is used for disc-cutting. This is the last type of lacquer cutting lathes made by Neumann and, to this day, state of the art. They also use a custom-made diamond cutting stylus, as opposed to sapphire cutting styli, which are commonly used today.

Why Diamond?

Since diamond is naturally harder than sapphire, it is possible to polish more precise facets and angles, which has a positive effect on groove geometry and overall sound quality.

MDC Lacquer Master by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon


For cutting the so-called soft masters, EBS uses lacquer discs from Japanese manufacturer MDC. To eliminate the danger of pre- and post-echoes at the cutting stage, an echo suppression system developed by DG in the 1980s is used.

MDC Lacquer Master Inspection by Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon

Laquers to Vinyl

Immediately after the cutting process, the lacquers are transported to the factory via courier to be processed right away.

MDC Lacquer Master Inspection by Rainer Maillard - Emil Berliner StudiosDeutsche Grammophon


The Original Source Series means: no tape copies used, no unnecessary devices in the signal path and of course no digital sound processing: pure analogue. This is the shortest possible way from the original master to the cutter head.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 by Carlos Kleiber, Vienna PhilharmonicDeutsche Grammophon


Compared to the original releases, the advantages in sound are outstanding: More clarity, more details and a better frequency response, as well as less noise, less distortion and less compression

Credits: Story

To learn about all featured releases please visit

Special thanks to

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps