Mastering for Vinyl

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Don Grossinger, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Hello All,
    I posted a huge response to a topic entitled "optomizing for vinyl" a few days ago. So far there has been no response. I wonder what the level of interest there is in our forum for info on cutting to vinyl. I've been cutting for 20 years & just love to cut. It's so physical. Something where you can see the music. Although I also feel like a blacksmith sometimes.

    I would like to find out if any of you have had vinyl records cut, were they for distribution & sale or promo items? Did you have a good cutting / mastering experience? How did the product sell? What was the feedback from clients and retail customers? Would you cut vinyl again? Do you think it has a future in the product mix? Does anyone out there think vinyl sounds as good as I do?

    If you have any specific questions, you might first read the past post & replys, then feel free to ask me anything that concerns you vis a vie the black record.
     
  2. pan

    pan Guest

    Hey Don!
    Your reply was so complete, anyone else adding to it would feel small and unnecessary...

    I loove vinyl and really appreciated your post on this. Don't feel unheard/read keep on cutting cutting edge... :D
    As I'm only involved by producing and engineering this album, I left the decisions on the vinyl-master to the mastering engineer. I can't comment on what exactly he did, but it seemed organic. I can't wait to hear the first black beautys...

    Niko
     
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Hello Don!

    Been a long time since I ran a lathe.

    Curious, how large of (or small) a run can be econinomical to do a greatest mastering moments album by your truly, approx 17 mins a side on 180g stock.

    I want to release a CD of my work and I am also thinking vinyl. It is down the road a piece..but I would like to entertain the idea of a bio album for the audiophile market.

    I really want to show them what vinyl can do...but again, just wondering if it is cost justifyable and where the breaks are in quantity.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  4. wave

    wave Guest

    I am a mastering engineer based in London , 70% of my work is vinyl. I love it as a medium and derive vastly more pleasure listening to it rather than cd's. I find that there is certainly a growth in popularity which for me is only a good thing! Vinyl in the UK has had something of a renaissance in the last 10 years due to the huge surge in dance music culture. It provides a unique and physical listening experience which more people should be aware of . You really feel the music!
     
  5. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Alright now! There is life out there after all!!

    Please don't even think we've scratched the surface (a little vinyl joke there) on the wonderful world of cutting for vinyl.

    Pan: The only thing I can say is that you should always try to attend vinyl mastering sessions, if only to establish a relationship with the engineer. That way he (or she) will get to know what your likes are as far as sound goes. Unless of course the vinyl was to be cut flat from a master from another format like CD.

    Bill (or anyone else out there): Please feel free to contact me for price quotes on mastering / pressing packages (shameless advertisement- but hey, we all need to stay in business). Price breaks occur at 500 pcs, 1000 pcs & up in 500 pc intervals.

    Wave: Yes, Dance music & recently Hip Hop are the mainstay of my cutting as well. What studio do you work for? Just curious: there aren't that many cutting rooms open on this side of the pond & it's always good to know everyone in our small community.

    Have you found that labels are in deep financial trouble of late? I have spoken to lots of folks in NYC who are claiming business is way down. Big Dance labels are closing down. Do you think its due to digital downloads? Perhaps this should be a new topic. It affects our survival.
    Yes,I agree with you as to the satisfaction one gets from working on & listening to vinyl.

    My questions to everyone from the top of this thread still stand....I'd love to hear about all your vinyl experiences.
     
  6. wave

    wave Guest

    Don: I've just finished working for a facility called Kinetic that just went bust ! Prior to this I worked for Porky's and the Exchange. We are finding the same situation in the UK , many dance labels going out of business. I dont think it's so much to do with downloads but more due to market saturation, to many labels not enough punters. Dance is now pop product and not so cool, so "underground " dance labels don't sell to the cool punter. Most U.S. dance labels sell more outside the States.As the market is overloaded with product and imports are expensive I'd expect U.S. labels to be suffering. That said I'm getting busy with product from mainland Europe
     
  7. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Don, I guess I'm the new kid on the block in NYC. I picked up a VMS62 special with an SX74 two years ago. I completely rebuilt it and it is in great shape now. I had never cut before and was amazed at how good it sounded after I got everything restored. I love the physicality of cutting as well. It also gave me the chance to improve my tech chops. I love knowing the machine in such great detail. It sure helps because they are complicated beasts. Your DMM even adds another layer with those solenoids.

    I'm also involved in a new record pressing plant in Brooklyn that is just coming on line now. I'm setting up a mastering room that will have a Scully. My Neumann may migrate over in the future. I guess we can't be too chummy as we are competitors but this is neutral ground.

    Paul Gold
    http://
     
  8. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Nice set-up Paul!

    It has been a long time since I worked any in NYC. Is the Edison studio still alive and well?

    Keep on cutting!!!!!
     
  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Don,
    From what i gather here in NYC, is that the majors were in trouble pre 9/11 due to a few factors. 9/11 gave them all a reason to act on it. 1) The majors were handing out distribution deals and label deals like it was making them money(a trend that started about 5-6 years ago with the success of a few hip hop companies). the reality was that they weren't making any money on most of these deals and the people receiving these deals didn't have the know how or a structure to move enough units. As the recession came on strong, the deals that were making money were not making money so the majors cut most of these deals. Along with this mass cut, came a restructuring of the labels (Warner has restructured 3 times since 9/11). So out with the old, including up to 50% of the acts already signed. (when an A&R gets the axe, the acts they signed soon follow unless they're already out and making money). With most label staff's at 20%-50% of what they used to be, they aren't signing many new acts and only handing out distribution deals to the tried and true. Studio's in NYC got hit hard and lots were giving away $500 day rates for J9000 rooms. But from what i can see, acts are being developed but not many signing's. When they do sign an act and produce an album, well... there are a lot of hungry mouths out there. Budgets have shrunk to unheard of amounts and the quality of these projects are bad to say the least because most are being done in protools rooms for $35/hour including engineer. When the label gets these in and listens to them, they don't hear a hit and it gets trashed. 3 or 4 of these from an A&R and he gets the axe and it all starts over again (Like a skipping record). The acts that are making money (like emineme) are being bootlegged like crazy. From what i can gather, bootlegging, not downloading, are causing the labels to loose money. On canal street you can see at least 50 stands selling bootlegged CD's of the major artists so the money that the labels were making, is not as much. From some labels i've been asked to put a different identifying tag on each reference I make in hopes of finding were the bootleg came from but in reality the bootlegs usually come from the label themselves by sending releases to reviewers etc... I even heard one story that an album was hacked off the lead singers computer in his house and bootlegged from that. I know this doesn't have much to do with Vinyl cutting but in a way it does because it affects all of us. I don't know how this situation is going to reverse itself. I'm taking a few steps to help keep bootlegs to a minimum. 1) I don't have any of my work computers online. 2) I don't mp3 any refs of major artists. I haven't seen any sign of bootlegging of indies but I shy away from mp3'ing these as well. 3) I copy prohibit all cd refs and let them know that. this only helps if the artist try's to copy the cd at home, but most systems out there can bypass this. It usually gets me a call from the artist as to why he can't copy his cd and it gives me the opportunity to remind them that they shouldn't copy it. 4) when compiling a CD for a pre-release, I try and work with the label on not putting entire tracks on the cd, usually 2 min of each track. 5) No cd ref goes to anyone except the A&R or the artist. 6) when I walk past a bootleg stand, I yell at them.
    If anyone else can shed more light on any of this, feel free to chime in. Anything we can do to help this industry thrive, will help us all.
     

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