Vinyl Mastering | Swift Mastering

 

Vinyl Is Back!

Last year we have seen the big come back of vinyl… a format which was officially declared dead in the  80’s when CD came out.

Well, fast forward 30+ years and we are still talking about it! In actual fact, while CD sales  keep going south, vinyl sales are on the up. In fact, last year vinyl sales broke the 1 million mark for the first time since 1996!

This has led the industry to organise a new Top 40 chart just for vinyl.

As a mastering studio, we have seen a big increase in demand for vinyl mastering over the last couple of years as well.

Mastering for Vinyl

  • Mastering for vinyl requires a different approach than when mastering for digital formats such as CD.

    Certain frequency ranges need to be kept at bay in order to have a good groove tracking and the phase of the signal needs to be kept in check as well.

    Without getting too “nerdy”, mastering for vinyl requires different skills and methodologies, which are acquired by an ME over the years.

    Compression and EQ need to be applied within the physical/mechanical limitation that the  groove/needle combo suffers from.
    In other words, if not prepared carefully, your vinyl master could literally force the  needle to jump out of the groove!

    As a result, the masters prepared for vinyl sound generally a lot quieter, than the ones mastered for digital media and they are normally delivered at a higher resolution as well (2496).

    This is why a CD master should NOT be used to cut a vinyl.

    Over the years, here at Swift we prepared hundreds of masters for vinyl and we never got one rejected by the cutting place!

  • Neumann SX-24

    Neumann SX-24 Record Cutting Machine

Delivery

Once the masters have been prepared, they will be transferred through a cutting machine to vinyl.
In the old days, mastering studios where normally cutting vinyl as well.
Nowadays, most mastering studios (including ourselves) will deliver the stereo 2496 files to one of the  few cutting places left.