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Month: November 2012

Guest Post: How a Vinyl Record Is Made

Barry Gardner operates SafeandSound Mastering based in London, UK a studio proficient in mastering dance music.

How Vinyl Is Made

More vinyl is being pressed in 2012 than in any year since since the advent of digital music release formats such as the CD. There are numerous reasons why some artists are choosing to release a limited run of vinyl as part of their music distribution strategy. Some people love the warm sound of vinyl which is in part down to the medium and the methods of mastering for the format itself. Many fans have a soft spot for the sheer physical size of the artwork on a 12 inch release and find the vinyl version a highly desirable and collectable end product.

Vinyl by RocknRollwoman

Vinyl is a very physical medium and the reproduction of sound is largely mechanical which means that when mastering for vinyl great care has to be taken by the engineers in order for the music to translate well to the format. We have to remember that the format was developed way before the first digital look ahead limiter. This means unlimited versions of the tracks must be supplied in order to get the best possible sound quality (normally at 24 bit resolution). With a digital file it is possible to use extreme limiting, very wide stereo images and any desired EQ curves. Vinyl is not the same and not a forgiving medium and unless fairly strict sonic guidelines are adhered to the end results can be lackluster or in the worst scenario not play at all.

Because of the resurgence of vinyl in the music distribution chain I thought it would be a good read to provide the basics of how vinyl is manufactured.