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Some mastering for vinyl questions
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Some mastering for vinyl questions

I'm new to mastering and have only been done digital work (can't imagine every getting into vinyl cutting and all that) but I've always expected my project to only be digital. One group wants to release something I've already mastered on vinyl. I've seen some folks say that as long as the bass is in phase and isn't crazy subby and there isn't massive sibilance then the digital master should be fine but is there a way to check first or would you only know if the digital master wasn't good enough on the test printing? I don't know enough about the process. Should I have them just send their mix to a vinyl guy to master (along with my master as a reference)? Personally the only vinyl I buy is AAA stuff otherwise I'm totally fine with keeping things digital.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Sibilance and distortion are your enemy. Make sure HF content like excessive SSS does not rise above the mix. If the vocal is somewhat buried but you still hear strong SSS then it's too much.

Don't send flat-topped waveforms. Distortion grows on vinyl. Drop the level, skip the limiter and print. It can be limited during the cut if there would be any advantage, but you don't know cuz you're not cutting it.

Don't sum the bass to mono. DO NOT! Let the cutting engineer deal with LF. The most common LF issue I encounter is simply too much energy in the first two octaves because everyone is working on small speakers and can't hear what's happening down there. Stereo field LF issues are rare. Making your master sound smaller just because you read it on the internet is probably not what's best for the music.

Otherwise, if it sounds good it probably is good.

Who it cutting it? Hire someone you know and trust. A good cutting engineer will send it back if it's not suitable for cutting.

Last edited by Greg Reierson; 2 weeks ago at 08:11 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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^^^ This. All of this. ^^^
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
Sibilance and distortion are your enemy. Make sure HF content like excessive SSS does not rise above the mix. If the vocal is somewhat buried but you still hear strong SSS then it's too much.

Don't send flat-topped waveforms. Distortion grows on vinyl. Drop the level, skip the limiter and print. It can be limited during the cut if there would be any advantage, but you don't know cuz you're not cutting it.

Don't sum the bass to mono. DO NOT! Let the cutting guy deal with LF. The most common LF issue I encounter is simply too much energy in the first two octaves because everyone is working on small speakers and can't hear what's happening down there. Stereo field LF issues are rare. Making your master sound smaller just because you read it on the internet is probably not what's best for the music.

Otherwise, if it sounds good it probably is good.

Who it cutting it? Hire someone you know and trust. A good cutting engineer will send it back if it's not suitable for cutting.
Thanks a lot! There's no vocal or bass...just drums and baritone guitar but there's a tone of fuzz and reverb on reverb washy wall of sound stuff.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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You may not have a bass, but you would be surprised what comes up in the low register from drums. Especially pre-processed drums. If you have a full range system you should be able to listen to what's happening in the first two octaves and make adjustments. But like Greg said, consult with an experienced cutting engineer. They have relationships with reliable pressing plants as well. Another danger about doing vinyl mastering is running into pressing plants that want to do everything including the cutting. I have found from my own experience working in a pressing plant that pressing plants have tons of headaches to deal with, and cutting should just be left to someone that does that on a dedicated basis and already has relationships with plants.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
AHM
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If it sounds good, already, that's how it should be cut, but if the out-of-phase and low frequency content is heavy in the stereo mix, it will affect the loudness possible for a given side since the groove-turn spacing will have to increase for either factor, and that will force the pitch to take up more 'land' on the disk, limiting play time for a given intensity of cut. Radical stereo can be cut, as well as 100% out-of-phase signals (as vertical, Hill & Dale modulation), but stereo music 'tracks' better on disk (and sounds better in headphones) when the mix has a centered kick and bass (or baritone guitar's low notes?) and lead vocal (when there is a vocal) and the spatial enhancement for stereo effect is left to the upper midrange and treble frequencies.

An elliptical eq which sums a selectable amount of the low frequencies to mono is often used in the cutting studio, and, as Greg mentioned, it's there that the best choices in parameter-setting can be made, using specialized processors and the ability to test the settings' effect on actual groove modulation before it's cast in metal and vinyl. (Premastering for vinyl is usually a sonic compromise, even though there may be some savings by one-stop-shopping it with the associated .wav file mastering.)

If you hire an independent cutterist, you can get a reference disk of the proposed master cut to try out on your own turntable. However, they might have to use a lacquer from older inventory because MDC lacquers, which are presently the only available brand, now only come in 14" (grand master) size, which might not fit on your tt...

For factory-farmed cuts as well as independent ones, you can might at least be able to order a .wav file of the digitization of the studio playback of a test cut (enabling you to hear the reduced fidelity and judge if it's acceptable). Most people hire the factory to subcontract the cutting and electroforming along with the pressing, printing, packaging, and shipping. One-stop shopping is convenient and usually cheaper. For the highest attention to detail, an independent cut is usually preferred.
Old 2 weeks ago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHM View Post
If it sounds good, already, that's how it should be cut, but if the out-of-phase and low frequency content is heavy in the stereo mix, it will affect the loudness possible for a given side since the groove-turn spacing will have to increase for either factor, and that will force the pitch to take up more 'land' on the disk, limiting play time for a given intensity of cut. Radical stereo can be cut, as well as 100% out-of-phase signals (as vertical, Hill & Dale modulation), but stereo music 'tracks' better on disk (and sounds better in headphones) when the mix has a centered kick and bass (or baritone guitar's low notes?) and lead vocal (when there is a vocal) and the spatial enhancement for stereo effect is left to the upper midrange and treble frequencies.

An elliptical eq which sums a selectable amount of the low frequencies to mono is often used in the cutting studio, and, as Greg mentioned, it's there that the best choices in parameter-setting can be made, using specialized processors and the ability to test the settings' effect on actual groove modulation before it's cast in metal and vinyl. (Premastering for vinyl is usually a sonic compromise, even though there may be some savings by one-stop-shopping it with the associated .wav file mastering.)

If you hire an independent cutterist, you can get a reference disk of the proposed master cut to try out on your own turntable. However, they might have to use a lacquer from older inventory because MDC lacquers, which are presently the only available brand, now only come in 14" (grand master) size, which might not fit on your tt...

For factory-farmed cuts as well as independent ones, you can might at least be able to order a .wav file of the digitization of the studio playback of a test cut (enabling you to hear the reduced fidelity and judge if it's acceptable). Most people hire the factory to subcontract the cutting and electroforming along with the pressing, printing, packaging, and shipping. One-stop shopping is convenient and usually cheaper. For the highest attention to detail, an independent cut is usually preferred.
MDC has 14, 12 and 10"...your distributor might not tho
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
AHM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misjah View Post
MDC has 14, 12 and 10"...your distributor might not tho
Yes, the U. S. distributor, NiPro Records, says they only come in 14" now, however, some platters and tone arms can accommodate this. (OP's location reads: Alameda, CA)
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHM View Post
Yes, the U. S. distributor, NiPro Records, says they only come in 14" now, however, some platters and tone arms can accommodate this. (OP's location reads: Alameda, CA)
14" can be played on many incl 1210's...anyways no problem to cut 10" or 12" in EU.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
AHM
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I still have inventory on 12" and 10" Transcos in the humidor. ...so, not yet refusing orders for 7" or 10" cuts on target-diameter acetates or dubs.

For pressing purposes, 7" or 10" stampers can be converted from 14" nickel masters or sons that, each, host (only) a single or EP cut, using ye olde circle cutter at the electroforming lab.

It's just 14" refs and dubplates that will be inconvenient for clients. (e.g., My SL-1200 would need the power switch to be moved in order to play a 14" record.) Unfortunately, the U.S. might 'never' see other than 14" MDCs, according to the distributor's rep. Hope this changes, though.



Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AHM View Post
It's just 14" refs and dubplates that will be inconvenient for clients. (e.g., My SL-1200 would need the power switch to be moved in order to play a 14" record.) Unfortunately, the U.S. might 'never' see other than 14" MDCs, according to the distributor's rep. Hope this changes, though.
Simply add a slipmat to the original rubber one and you should be high enough to clear the power switch to play 14”. Unless you have some kind of special version.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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I think you do, as some have said, simply the best mixes you can do in the way you usually do them without worrying about vinyl. Send a somewhat typical mix to your mastering engineer and let him tell you whether he or she sees any problems mastering your mix that you need to address by doing something you don’t customarily do. Don’t move out of your lane unless and until you find out you have to.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misjah View Post
Simply add a slipmat to the original rubber one and you should be high enough to clear the power switch to play 14”. Unless you have some kind of special version.
Yep, that's all it takes.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
AHM
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It alters the Stylus Rake Angle* to insert any shim. For best sound in groove, this would necessitate carefully readjusting the height of the tone arm. Plus, my MKII would need at least three slip mats for a 14" record to clear the power switch. So, am using the second Scully as dedicated mother-checker and grand-master-examiner, leaving the 1200 for vinyl playback.



Skål, Andrew





* (https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threa...s-1200.842052/)
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