Production Technique: Mastering For Vinyl Record

What is Vinyl?

A vinyl is an analog sound storage medium that is in the form of a large disc which is inscribed with grooves and/or ridges. Originally these discs were made from shellac until the 1950’s which is when they started making them out of polyvinyl chloride.

Below is a video about Vinyl records:


How the music gets onto the record

Before the music goes onto the vinyl record, the artist’s first record and mix their music, and this mixed sound is played onto a record cutting lathe in real time. The sound waves the needle head which cuts grooves into a thin layer into a thin disk, Interestingly the depth of these grooves represents the shape of the soundwaves. The lacquer copy of the disk is used to make a stamper. A stamper is a negative copy of the record which has ridges instead of grooves. (Bower, n.d.)The ridges are turned back into sound when the tip of the needle rests on the record and as explained above, the grooves contain the image of the sound waves. (Lacquers & Masters, n.d.) When the record starts to spin on the turning table the needle starts to move, and this moving needle spins a small magnet inside a coil of wire which induces a fluctuated electric current. This current travels to the monitor and this current are then converted to kinetic movement. (BBC, n.d.)


How to master for Vinyl

The mastering process should actually begin with mixing, as there are several steps you can take while mixing to make for easier mastering.(Anderton, 2004) Once this mix is finished, make sure that it is no higher than -13Lufs as this is industry standard for all platforms. If you were to master your mix any higher then the targeted platform will decrease the quality of the track to make it -13Lufs, and even though this is a vinyl record and won’t be going online the rules are still that it has to be no higher than -13Lufs. When audio is cut to a master disc there are a few things that generally happen to the audio.

  1. To maintain the bass frequencies a low-pass filter is used, and will usually cut the frequencies between 16kHz to 18kHz. This prevents the grooves on the disk from slamming into each other, resulting in leaving more room provided on the disk.
  2. To help control the high-frequency information a high-pass filter is used and will cut the frequencies between 20Hz and 30Hz with a slope of around 18db. This is used because the vinyl medium doesn’t like high frequencies, and if these are not prevented in the mixing then it could cause a lot of distortion.(Vinyl mastering, n.d.)
  3. When De-essing your mix make sure to remove any sibilance from any hi-hats that you have in your mix, and any ‘S’ from the vocals. This frequency is usually around 5kHz and 9kHz, this is because it will sound harsher on vinyl than it would digitally.
  4. When limiting your mix you cannot have an RMS (Root Mean Square) peak of more than -12db, to achieve this adjust the threshold on your limiter. This is because the needle doesn’t react well to loudness, and if you don’t achieve this it will make your mastered mix quieter.
  5. The stereo width should be mono and the low end up too 100Hz, try to make sure that the width is between 100Hz and 500Hz. This is because the stereo width is usually increased, mainly in the low-mid frequency range. If this isn’t done correctly it can cause the mastered mix to increase phase and the sound thinning.

(Skivington, 2017)

When preparing your mix for vinyl mastering knowing the playing times of the songs will help speed up time and will make sure that your mastered mix will sound awesome. This is because vinyl discs have limitations on the side lengths, this can vary according to the speed and diameter being used. This means that the longer the sides the quieter the audio has to be cut etc. (Vinyl Mastering, n.d.)

The following screenshot is the recommended ideal and maximum length for vinyl.

 

xrctuvbio.PNG
Note that 33 rpm on 7 inches is generally not recommended for music, as it has significantly less high frequency (treble) response and higher distortion than 45 rpm.(Vinyl Mastering, n.d.)

 


I hope that this blog will help you in mastering your mix! ;P


References

Anderton, C. (2004, August). Audio Mastering In Your Computer. Retrieved from Sound on Sound: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/audio-mastering-in-your-computer

Accessed 20th April 2018

BBC. (n.d.). Properties of sound waves. Retrieved from BBC: https://www.bbc.com/education/guides/z8d2mp3/revision

Accessed 20th April 2018

Bower, M. (n.d.). How Record Players Work. Retrieved from How stuff works: https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/record-player4.htm

Accessed 20th April 2018

Lacquers & Masters. (n.d.). Retrieved from Standard vinyl: https://standardvinyl.com/vinyl-pressing/lacquers-masters/

Accessed 20th April 2018

Skivington, K. (2017, November 27). Mastering for Vinyl. Retrieved from envato tuts+: https://music.tutsplus.com/tutorials/mastering-for-vinyl–cms-29480

Accessed 20th April 2018

Vinyl mastering. (n.d.). Retrieved from GOTTA GROOVE RECORDS: https://www.gottagrooverecords.com/vinyl-mastering/

Accessed 20th April 2018

Vinyl Mastering. (n.d.). Retrieved from Jack the Bears: http://www.jackthebear.com.au/vinyl-mastering/

Accessed 20th April 2018

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s