Differences Vinyl vs CD-Mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by K2vp, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. K2vp

    K2vp Active Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    I have to do a mixmaster for a vinyl master.
    Where are the main differences?
    I guess especially the low frequency range and a limit of -0,7dB
    are important.
    Is that correct?


    Markus :)
  2. Markus, for us old 30 years of experience plus engineers that don't understand webebonics, could you explain what you are tying to do?

    Answer these one on one please.

    1. Are you wanting to have a project mastered for vinyl?

    2. Are you doing both a CD layout and one for vinyl and want to know if mastering is different for the two?

    3. Do you need someone to do this for hire or are you wanting info so you can do it yourself?

    4. Are you educated in RIAA EQ for LP/12 inch singles?

    5. What format for delivery?

    6. What genre?

    I am an old Man with mucho experience...but I am not clear on what you mean.. Mixmaster??

    You have not began any kind of mastering unless it was done with a separate person and a separte set of ears and system to change the mistakes that are always needed for repair to go from pro format to consumer.


    Waiting and will answer.
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Distinguished Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    If you are not sure what to do to prep it for vinyl, then don't do anything. Let the ME that is doing the cutting do what he needs to do. Just turn in something that sounds good and he'll do what he needs to cut it.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Distinguished Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    Damn straight. And don't worry about the -0.7dB thing UNLESS you're "finding" that level for the mix -

    In other words, don't "pre-squash" it to that point. The overall level isn't going to matter too much to the M.E.

    Overcompression or limiting applied at the mix level will...
  5. .....will sound like ass..

    Right John? :)
  6. K2vp

    K2vp Active Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    first @bill:
    Mixmaster is meant to be the premaster of a 2Track Mix before you send it to produce a glassmaster

    As far I have read I should make no differences to produce a mixmaster, whether it´s for CD Master nor for Vinyl Master.
    But I thought that the low band in Vinyl is very critical to deal with.
    And also limiting. I´m not a squeezer nor at cd mastering
    Dynamics have to be alive - that means I´m not going for trash metal or techno but for funk and jazz rock.
    This time I have to master a dancehall album and everybody knows the deep basslines are fundmental.
    So most of you recommend to do a mastering job that the sound is kicking and let the "cutting job" do the guy who´s producing the vinyl- or cd master.
  7. TotalSonic

    TotalSonic Guest

    Here's my suggestions:
    * center the bass frequencies - if you have things like two different simultaneous bass lines panned left & right or stereo chorusing or flanging effects on the bass it will make it extremely difficult to have your record cut with a hot level because if bass freq's aren't phase coherent the groove will actually become narrower in these parts leading to the potential for a skip.

    * tame sibilance - it's a really good idea to run a de-esser on any vocal tracks that have a lot of sibilance. esses and t's can produce a burst of high frequencies which will just distort when played back on vinyl. The solution the cutting engineer can do to make sure this doesn't happen is to just put the whole mix through a de-esser - but it's a lot more transparent if you can take care of this during the mix instead.

    * avoid excessive high end!! - ultra high frequencies above 15kHz tend to just cause distortion if there is a lot of them and if there are way too much of them will actually smoke the cutting head! Avoid boosting any of the highs above around 8kHz on your mix. If you are looking to add "presence" or brightness focus your boosts in the upper mid areas around 3-6kHz.

    * don't clip your wave forms!!!! - clipped wave forms with squared tops will often break up really really quick when transferred to vinyl master at a hot level. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever to clip your wav forms on a pre-master destined for vinyl. While it's a popular way to achieve extreme average levels for a CD master it will actually make the cutting engineer cut your record quieter than if you're wav forms have nice natural rounded tops. I've seen lots of people introduce clicks and pops into their master because they clipped their audio way too excessively and didn't notice it because of their crappy monitoring - so I think it's best to completely avoid this problem and make -0.3dbFs your output ceiling.

    * go light with the limiter!! - while a little peak limiting to tame the big transients can actually be a really helpful for keeping even levels the current squash settings used on a lot of digital masters will actually make things distort more quickly because in overly limited material instead of the peaks on the vinyl master being nice round bottom transients all the upper mids are forced to the top too . Remember dBfs does not translate into dBvu!!! - the levels that go to your vinyl master are actually set by the cutting engineer - so if you're questioning how much limiting or compression to use communicate with the cutting engineer and let them apply what they see fit to do.

    * keep it "clean" - any distortion in the digital realm tends to become more noticeable when transferred to vinyl

    * sequence thoughtfully - the inner grooves will always be a little more susceptible to distortion than the outer ones - so it's always a best idea to keep the cuts you want to be the hottest for the 1st or 2nd tracks and have the last track on the side be an instrumental or acapella or quieter passage.

    * keep the side lengths realistic. For max level (around +6dbVu) on a 12" "competitive" dance single keep the side length to around 12 minutes max for 33-1/3 and 9 minutes max for 45rpm.

    For LP sides I'd say make 26 minutes a side your maximum unless you want to possibly encounter problems with scuffing and low signal to noise ratio when the records are pressed. With long sides remember that the cutting engineer must make a compromise between bass response and level in order to fit more grooves onto the side - so if you want a really long LP side remember that you'll probably have to sacrifice some of the low end.

    * make sure the heads and tails on the tracks in your premaster are clean and have good fades, and unless you want sound in your "spirals" (the wider grooves that are placed between tracks so that dj's can see where the next track is) leave at least 2 seconds (I usually recommend 3-4) between each track. It's also best to leave at least 10 seconds between tracks at the side break or provide the pre-master for each side on seperate discs or reels.

    * communicate any requests or questions with the cutting engineer! This I've found is often the key to having you end up really happy. I also recommend getting an acetate or DMM reference disc made prior to having your masters cut so that you can be sure that you are happy with how your master sounds before incurring the expenses for plating and test pressing.

    * provide good documentation - make sure you include a track list including track number and side and length of tracks and sides. If you're providing a data disc make sure that the names of your files on the disc match the names you have listed on your track sheet (or just name them something like A1.wav, A2.wav, B1.wav etc.).

    Hope that helps.

    Best regards,
    Steve Berson
  8. K2vp

    K2vp Active Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Hi Steve,

    thank for that detailed info.
    Meanwhile I produced lot´s of cd masters.
    But the time vinyl was NO1 did´nt touch me. As an EEG I know the limits cutting a vinyl master.
    But how to deal with producing a dancehall vinyl master is a difficult question.
    You gave me a bunch of hints to keep the balance.

    Greetings from Germany


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