Master Preparation for Vinyl Records
 
Important: A good sounding master for CD production may not be a good master for Vinyl Record pressing because of limitations that are specific to vinyl records.

The information provided below is for reference purposes only and Precision Disc is not responsible for the manner in which you apply this information to your project or for the subsequent results. For those who are not experienced with the mastering requirements for vinyl records we strongly suggest you work with an experienced professional.

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  • Try not to exceed the maximum recommended playing lengths per side, as longer playing times will lead to a decrease in recording level and dynamics.

    Standard playing times for vinyl records as supplied by Precision Disc are as follows:
    7" vinyl at 45 rpm : 4.5 minutes per side
    7" vinyl at 33.3 rpm: 6 minutes per side
    12" vinyl at 33.3 rpm: 22 minutes per side (including gaps between songs)

    While creating 7" vinyl formats at 33.3 rpm is an option, the possibilities of the recording and reproduction are most limited at this format. If there is no other solution you have to take into account that the audio quality of the final product could be in some way compromised - this is because low groove speed limits the recording level and causes a greater decrease of the high frequencies into the middle of the record and can also cause higher distortion levels. Due to these limitations EQ and Level could be affected.
     
  • All bass frequencies must be centered (below 150 Hz). Phase issues in the bass frequencies can cause a collapse of the groove, causing a skip.
     
  • Tame sibilance. Too much sibilance will cause distortion on playback. This should be addressed at the mix level for best results. Additional de-essing during the pre-mastering stage and cutting process may be possible.
     
  • Avoid excessive high frequencies. Excessive frequencies above 15 kHz can cause distortion.
     
  • Do not boost frequencies above 10 kHz.
     
  • Try to avoid using psycho acoustic processors to an excessive degree.
     
  • If your recording substantially differs from natural sounds, which is caused by spreading out the energy in the acoustic zone, there is a risk of audible changes to the sound during the transcription. This is due to the limitations of mechanical recording processes and can for
    example be caused by singing adjusted by processors or electronically generated effects.
     
  • Do not "clip" waveforms. This technique is often used in CD mastering to achieve a hot level, can translate to distortion when cut. If a re‐cut is requested on a record cut with clipped audio, it will be fully billable.
     
  • Avoid too much limiting. Too much brick wall limiting can cause distortion in the cut. Re-cuts requested due to distortion on material that has been excessively brick walled will incur additional costs if not resolved before manufacturing.
     
  • A distorted master will likely sound more distorted when transferred to vinyl. Watch the distortion on the mix.
     
  • Keep in mind that due to the limitations of vinyl, by the time you reach the inside of a 12 record the frequency response is down ‐3db at 15 kHz. Sequence your master accordingly. It is best to put quiet songs or ballads on the inside. Try to avoid sequencing the loudest song as the last track.
     
  • Supply your audio on CDR conforming to the standard 16 bit 44.1 kHz standards. Audio not supplied to standard may be rejected or incur additional charges.
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