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Vinyl Mastering

A Short Guide To Vinyl Mastering

For the best results, audio should be specifically mastered for vinyl. Vinyl pre-mastering is a key step in optimising your audio files to obtain the best possible cut. A pre-master is created with minimal processing, leaving the rest of the mastering to the cutting engineers who have the experience and knowledge to achieve a great sounding cut every time. As a basic guideline, these are the most important points to remember when pre-mastering for vinyl.

  • Supply audio at around -4dBs to -6dBs (Headroom for an engineer to work with)
  • Mono the bass frequencies (300Hz and below)
  • Tame sibilance and avoid excessive high end
  • Avoid volume clipping (levels that exceed maximum)
  • Make minimal use of compressors and limiters
  • Communicate any requests or questions for the cutting engineers
  • 24 bit/44.1 kHz file types are preferred but not essential (minimum file quality is 16 bit/44.1 KHz)
  • Provide a track list including the record side splits, track names and lengths.
  • Check out our engineers' guide for more detailed information.

Don't worry if this all sounds complicated. We would be happy to guide you through the process, or if preferred we take care of this aspect of your project entirely through our vinyl pre-mastering service.

Vinyl Mastering Service

Our world class vinyl pre-mastering service offers you access to highly experienced, industry-proven engineers at extremely competitive rates. The engineers will listen very carefully to your original mixes, take on board any notes and requests you provide and make the fine adjustments needed to transform your audio into a finished master optimised for transfer to the vinyl format.

Using their "Golden Ears", years of knowledge and experience, and a fully equipped post-production studio of highly-specialised equipment, our engineers will harness specifically tailored hardware and software to really get the most out of your recordings, all the while ensuring that the audio characteristics and dynamics of your audio are heralded and preserved. Our mastering engineer's creative expertise will add the final polish. At this point you will receive a test copy to approve, and further changes can be requested at this stage if necessary.

DMS will supply you with commercial quality audio, every time. We guarantee our mastering 100%, if you're genuinely and justifiably unhappy, we won't charge you.

Our Vinyl Mastering service includes:

  • Creating a suitable wave form for vinyl transfer by optimising your supplied audio
  • Adjustment of levels to reach commercial volume without losing overall dynamics
  • Arranging tracks in the final order required
  • Creating A & B side single WAVS with gaps set in place as required
  • Making bass signals MONO (summing frequencies beneath approx. 300 Hz)
  • Taming high frequencies and sibilance which increase distortion risks and restrict volume potential
  • Trimming start and finish points of all tracks as required ("topping and tailing")
  • Adding fade in/out points
  • Removing tape hiss, clicks, pops, and other unwanted noises/artefacts where possible
  • Processing (using mild compression/limiting & EQ) to achieve desired results if needed
  • Achieving a consistent level for all tracks ("balancing")
  • Stereo imaging/widening if required.

Helpful Mastering Information

Book Your Mastering As Early As Possible

Like a recording session, it's always useful to know that a job is being sent in advance so that the engineers can allocate their time. Once your mastering requests have been completed, our mastering engineer's creative expertise will add the final polish. You will receive a test copy to approve once the mastering process has been completed, further changes can be requested at this stage if necessary. We guarantee our mastering 100%, if you're genuinely and justifiably not happy, we won't charge you.

Mastering for vinyl is charged at £50 per hour ex. VAT (£60 inc. VAT)

How To Supply Your audio For Mastering

Please supply your vinyl master as WAV or AIFF files, either one track for each side of the record or as individual tracks. Supplying the audio as stated will help ensure a faster turnaround time for your audio to be mastered, approved and sent to production. We'll send you WAVs for approval to be sure you are happy with the results before moving forward with test pressings and/or production.

Test Pressings

Test pressings are the first records created from the metalwork, used to evaluate the quality, volume levels and listen for any untoward pops, clicks or excessive sound artefacts before mass production begins. We always recommend requesting test pressings with your order and listening carefully on a number of different turntables before approving production of the main run.

Test pressings (set of 5) are charged at £34 ex. VAT (£40.80 inc. VAT) including delivery to a UK mainland address.

We accept the following bit depths and sample rates:

1411 kbps = 16 BIT / 44.1 kHz ᛫ ᛫ 1536 kbps = 16 BIT / 48 kHz ᛫ ᛫ 2116 kbps = 24 BIT / 44.1 kHz
2304 kbps = 24 BIT / 48 kHz ᛫ ᛫ 2822 kbps = 32 BIT / 44.1 kHz ᛫ ᛫ 3072 kbps = 32 BIT / 48 kHz
4233 kbps = 24 BIT / 88.2 kHz ᛫ ᛫ 4608 kbps = 24 BIT / 96 kHz ᛫ ᛫ 9216 kbps = 24 BIT / 192 kHz

How To Send Us Your Files
You can forward digital files via WeTransfer or Dropbox (in a .ZIP or .RAR folder) or via your own FTP site.

You can send physical formats (CD, DVD, Minidisc, DAT, USB Stick/ Flash Drive, or ¼" Tape) to the following address:

The Pressing House
Faringdon Road
St Judes

All original files will be returned upon request once mastering process is complete.

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Disc Manufacturing Services Ltd, The Pressing House, Faringdon Road, Plymouth, PL4 9ER. United Kingdom.
Registered in England and Wales no 5127922 at this address. VAT registration no 838 5310 21