I got my first record cutting machine when I was 17. It was a home recording unit I got from a friend. After no success in making it work (trying with a broken cutting head, a nail, and the flip side of a Victor one sided record) I happened across a working cutting head and real blank records, and an ok cutting stylus. Success at last! I heard something that sounded like sound.
Later on, I found an old Presto K-8 cutting system that recorded pretty good. I could get blanks from Allied, and styluses from Capps, both now out of business. I later found a Presto 6-N from a radio station, and an RCA cutting head from NBC New York. They worked, but they never had good sound.
In my college dorm room, in 1975, I had my Presto 6-N with the RCA head. I cut a few records for fellow students. Pictured here with Lowell, my roommate. At age 31, in 1985, on a trip to Nashville Tennessee, I decided to look for a good cutting head. I located a Cook head at Hilltop Recording Studios, a gospel studio. The Cook Head sounded perfect, still a mono system. It mounted on the Presto 6-N with no effort. While there, Jack Linneman, the owner of hilltop asked if I wanted to buy a Scully-Westrex stereo system. I knew I couldn't afford it, but looked at it anyway.
Returning home to Colorado, I discussed the possibility of buying the stereo system with Cathi, my wife at the time, and starting up Aardvark as a real business. The name Aardvark dates back to 1972 when I first attempted cutting. She agreed, and with $10,000 in hand, I returned to Nashville and purchased the system from Hilltop. Aardvark opened November 1985 just at the beginnings of CDs.
In about 1990, I cut the 100 locked groove seven inch for RRR. This record alone gave me a lot of contacts. Ron also got me a lot of new customers.
Since 1985, Aardvark has had only one price hike on mastering; on seven inch from $70 to $75, and 12" from $150 to $160. Even though material costs have risen, I hope to keep the prices affordable to the struggling artist.
About me personally, I was born in 1954 so I'm over 50, a computer programmer for the city of Denver by day. I was divorced in 1994, moving myself and Aardvark 1/2 mile from my original location on Zenobia street. Moving a Lathe is not something I recommend doing twice. I now have 3 lathes, 2 operating Scullys, and one Neumann. All had to be moved. I met the girl next door in April 1996. We moved in together in 1998, and married January first, 2001.
I also enjoy bicycling. Click here to see me on my Penny Farthing.
I've been collecting records for a good number of years now, my favorites being the jazz from the late 1920s. I have a collection of about 600 Edison Diamond Disks from that era, the listing linked below. I also collect cylinder records and regular 78s.
If you haven't already noticed by now, and through browsing the site, we don't particularly take ourselves seriously. However, we do take our cutting seriously, and give full attention to the condition of the equipment, and each record we cut.
Love you, MOM