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mastering advice re. vinyl
Old 19th November 2009
mastering advice re. vinyl

I have a couple of songs coming out as a 45 in Spain soon and, although I've been doing this for 20 years as an artist, I'm afraid there are still a few technical details that confound and intimidate me.

The mix was done by a very capable fellow with shiny discs on his walls who did my whole last album to much acclaim and personal satisfaction on my part. He uses compression in a very musical way and I really like the way he makes my music sound.

The mastering is being done by a fellow associated with the label- and I like the way their records sound, too. The mastering engineer wrote

"I´ll wait for your reply. As I said, It´s just about the limiter, probably a digital unit because everything is square flat in the peak area (no transients)... Anything else (compression, retro tone, etc...) is ok obviously, as I assume as THE artistic approach for the mixes and the production, so no problems here.
If he could just do the transfers again without the limiter enganged, it would be great for me. I wll probably use a limiter at the end of the chain, but having a heavy processed mix (limiting) is always worse for archiving a good result at the end..."

Quite reasonable, but when listening to the mixes without the limiter engaged, they really don't sound as good. Is the right move to have them sound the way we like them and restrict the mastering somewhat, or to trust that the mastering engineer is letting us know what he needs. By the way, these mixes don't soud slammed. The first song has a piano playing whole notes (plastic ono band- style) in the verse and you can hear it decay, the cymbals are through a Fairchild and t sounds perfectly Ringo- ish.
Old 19th November 2009
Gear Addict
beanface's Avatar

Ok mate, simple solution:

Send him the mix with the limiter on and use this as your reference track. Let him know that from a creative / artistic point of view, this is how you prefer the music to sound. The send him your mix printed without the limiter so he can work to your guidlines but with the added benefits of the headroom / flexibility he needs. If he's worth his salt (which I'm sure he is), you should leave a happy man

Also, out of interest, have you a/b'd the limited and unlimited versions loudness compensated and how much is the limiter actually shaving off for it to make that much of an impact sonically? You said its not slammed.


Old 19th November 2009
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

Unfortunately many common limiters really affect the low end and the bass line so just taking them off is not a good solution.
Old 19th November 2009
I'm primarily a bass player, Bob, so what you're saying is getting to the heart of my worries. I recorded the basics at Abbey Road with a nice hollowbody bass through a B-15 and the Altec compressor, so it's the best bass sound I've ever gotten. The mix sounds great, but it's apparently not looking great as a file.
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