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The Most Frequently Asked Question :  Considerations for Vinyl

Q: “What do I need to think about if I know my project is going to vinyl?”

A:  Here are the three things you should look out for when you know you’re sending an audio project to vinyl.

  1. Pay special attention during mix and mastering to the high and low end content of the material. Examples of high frequency issues include cymbals and sibilance in vocals (ssss sounds). Don’t make the cymbals too bright and be sure to use a “de-esser” on vocals as needed. Make sure that frequencies below 40hz are cut as needed. Use high pass filters on tracks when mixing to keep these frequencies under control.
  2. Time: Vinyl records can only hold a certain amount of audio and the length of each side determines how loud the music can be on that side. For a 12″ 33rpm record, I will have to start dropping the level if the side is over 20 minutes. For a 7″ 45rpm record this will happen after about 4 minutes. Does this alter the quality of the cut? The answer is: No. You will simply have to turn the volume of your stereo up a bit when you play the final product. Classic examples of long records sides are: Elvis Costello’s “Get Happy” and The Pretenders’ self titled debut album. If you are planning an album side over 25 minutes or a 7″ over 6 minutes, I would suggest speaking directly with me.
    Do not worry about sending me “loud” tracks that have been squeezed to death by compressors and limiters. I can adjust the audio level going to disc as needed and a lot of limiting causes excess distortion.
  3. Use the highest quality file format that you can. 16bit 44100K is fine, but 24bit sounds better to a lot of people. If you are using .aiff files, be sure you are saving in an uncompressed .aiff file. A lot of Apple software (Quicktime and iTunes) export what they call a .aiff file, but it is not a pro standard file. Choose .wav files if possible.

Mastering audio to vinyl is a special process and each project is different. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding your project.