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Disc Manufacturing Services Ltd
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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, track numbers and track 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

We offer a world-class vinyl pre-mastering service with highly experienced audio engineers at a very competitive rate. The engineers will listen carefully to your original mixes and make fine adjustments to produce a finished master for optimal transfer to the vinyl format.

We have a fully equipped post production studio in house and our experienced engineers are always ready to optimise your recordings using a combination of highly-specialised equipment and years of experience. Our qualified team use their "Golden Ears" as their primary piece of equipment when mastering your audio, but also harness complex tailored hardware and software solutions to really get the most out of your recordings. DMS will always supply you with commercial quality audio, every time.

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 track ex. VAT (£60 inc. VAT)
A track is considered to be up to 8 mins in length. Every minute thereafter is charged at £5 ex. 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 hiss 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 to begin.

Test pressings are charged at £32 ex. VAT (£38.40 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:

DMS Ltd
The Pressing House
Faringdon Road
St Judes
Plymouth
Devon
PL4 9ER

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