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.
Please note that this is a best practise guide for those looking for advice on vinyl mastering. We're always happy to discuss the specific requirements and characteristics of your audio.
Our world class vinyl 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.
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.
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.
Our engineers will harness specifically tailored hardware and software to really get the most out of your recordings. They will always ensure that the audio characteristics and dynamics of your audio are heralded and preserved, using their "Golden Ears", years of knowledge and experience, and a fully equipped post-production studio of highly-specialised equipment. 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.
Sound good? Please get in touch below, or keep reading for more useful tips and information.
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)
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 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 £48 ex. VAT (£57.60 inc. VAT). This includes delivery to a UK mainland address. We ship worldwide, so please get in touch for a bespoke quotation.
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
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, DAT, USB Stick/ Flash Drive, or ¼" Tape) to the following address. Please do not send lacquers to this address.
All original files will be returned upon request once mastering process is complete. For information on how to supply lacquers to us, please Get in Touch.
Below are some of the compliments and testimonials that we've received in recent years for our mastering for vinyl pressing. These are just a small sample of the kind words we regularly hear from our clients. Have something to add? Please get in touch and let us know how you found our vinyl mastering services.
Sounds mega - pure fire - thank you truly and cannot express how happy I am while holding this artefact in my hands.
I'm happy to approve the pre-masters. In fact, it's bloomin' great. Amazing session, gets better with every listen.
I also have to say that Ben did an absolutely stellar job on the mastering, particularly the b side. I'm pretty sure all six songs came from different recording sessions and producers, but it sounds absolutely coherent and like a single piece of work. Very, very happy with it, thank you.
Tim, Fetch Happened Records
They sound amazing! Thank you so much! We're good to sign off on these now and crack on with getting them into production! Big ups for doing an amazing job mate, the band are really happy.
Jackson Lapes, Worm Discs
Just writing to let you know that I’ve received the TPs for this and am very happy with how they sound. (Great work on the mastering!)
We got the vinyl through today. I just wanted to say thank you so much for your work on it - it sounds absolutely brilliant!! I know it's a tough juggling act to make it sound true to the original intent with the challenges of the medium and it's our first vinyl so we were a bit worried about how it might turn out, but you really have done a fantastic job! All the packaging and the discs themselves look amazing too - it's a brilliant job all round - so pleased.
I’m really pleased with it now, it sounds super, thank you ever so much for all you’ve done and being so patient with me! I can confirm I am 100% happy for this latest mastered version to go to production now!
They sound great to me. I am psyched to listen to the test pressings.
I've received the album... and I'm buzzing! It looks and sounds great and I love it. Thank you so much for your work in helping me with my project, and for creating such a wonderful *thing*. I truly appreciate everything you have done.
Sounds great, clear and punchy. Appreciate your good ears.