HOW TO PREPARE YOUR DIGITAL MUSIC for transfer to ANALOG VINYL RECORD
FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY
If you're a pro and doing your own mastering then here are some tips to make the best possible transfer from digital to analog vinyl.
If you're general folk and not quite sure what the heck we're talking about here - then just send us music that simply sounds best to you.
Tips to remember when making your master files are:
Do not over compress, over EQ or over process your program. Make your mixes sound satisfying to you.
Normalize peak sound levels to about -1db digital scale. Try to make all tracks have same average sound levels.
For best vinyl sound place your loudest brightest most important music on the outer tracks for each side.
- Do not include loud level out-of-phase signals in your master. If using a phase meter keep it in the positive range.
Keep sibilance ("sss" and "shh" sounds) to a minimum by de-essing where necessary.
Blend or mono-ize the bass frequencies. Do not pan low bass frequencies left or right.
WARN US of any surprises such as loud sudden transients, deep low bass, sustained high frequency or longer than normal silent passage.
Why is it so important for mixes to be mostly in phase and the bass being in mono?
Phase is more or less irrelevant to digital CD music but when mastering to vinyl it's very important.
If the mix is in phase (mono), the cutter stylus will move from left to right. If the mix is out of phase (stereo) it causes the stylus to move up and down. Too much up and down movement (out-of-phase) will produce a groove that may become too shallow or interrupted - which might cause the playback needle to leave the groove or "skip".
How do I know if my mix is too much out of phase?
Most software has a built in phase meter which should stay in the positive range.
Try listening to your tracks in mono, ideally there shouldn't be a big difference when listening to your tracks in stereo vs mono. If you switch between stereo and mono, kick/bass should stay in the center.
Is there anything I should do when making an LP album with multiple tracks?
Place the brightest loudest most important tracks first as every record sounds best at the beginning (outer grooves of each side). The quiet slower more subdued tracks should be at the end (inner grooves of each side) of the record.