How to prepare a suitable master
To get the best results with your records, you need to read the following points before preparing your master source. Following these instructions will ensure that you are satisfied with the final product:
• Try not to exceed the maximum recommended playing lengths per side, as longer playing times will lead to a dramatic decrease in recording level and dynamics. On the other hand, the requirements of extremely high recording levels decrease the possible playing time (see the table in the next section for recommended playing times for all formats)
• Try to place demanding, powerful and exposed tracks at the beginning of the required side and not towards the end of the record. The conditions for recording and subsequent reading of vinyl records get worse with the decreasing diameter towards the middle of the record (the label). The worst possible format with regards to quality is a 7” record at 33rpm
• Try to avoid using psycho acoustic processors to an excessive degree.
• If possible, please check the master by using a correlation measurer (it must not be drastically in the red eld or have negative values) and a frequency spectrum analyser to ensure the signal does not contain unreasonably large elements in the low frequency range (around 20Hz) and also the top end of the frequency zone (around 20KHz).
• The lowest frequencies of the acoustic zone that are below 300Hz have to be in phase.
• Filter away all sub acoustic signals below 20Hz to avoid possible problems during recording and reproduction.
• If your recording substantially differs from natural sounds, which is caused by spreading out the energy in the acoustic zone, there is a risk of audible changes to the sound during the transcription. This is due to the limitations of mechanical recording processes and can for example be caused by singing adjusted by processors or electronically generated effects.
• We transcribe at 2 possible levels. The first is called STANDARD which is a good quality transcription using standard measurements and levels, and the second is called LOUD which is cut using a higher level of transcription without causing distortion on good quality reading systems.
• Remember that good reproduction results on the user’s side depend on the quality, technical conditions and correct adjustment of the reproduction facilities! **)
• Try to avoid 7” vinyl formats at 33 1/3 rpm as the possibilities of the recording and reproduction are most limited at this format. If there is no other solution you have to take into account that the final product will be in some way compromised *)
• We need a complete track list with your master containing the names of all tracks (including the hidden and bonus tracks), track timings and their separation into side A and side B, the total time of each side!!! Please inform us of any special effects or anomalies etc. Any orders without a complete track list will be refused for production.
• Please carefully check if the data on the track list (number of tracks, track order, names and timings on each side) corresponds with the master, the label and cover artwork (and other printed parts – inserts, posters).
• Please keep in mind that the data needs to be readable and understandable.
• Any claims against the final product, caused by errors in the production parts supplied by customer, will not be accepted!
• If you require additional adjustments or mastering (changes in track order, disregarding some tracks, compilation….) please specify your request exactly on the order form, and note what is on the master and what needs to be done for the final product.
You can send us audio files peaking near 0 dBFS, but rather not very close to 0 dBFS. Leave some small headroom there, maybe 0.1-0.5dB. We have enough additional headroom for D/A conversion in our vinyl mastering software sending audio signals to our cutting lathes through PrismSound Orfeus converters. But it is better not to use hard-limiters (brickwall, peak limiters) to a great extent. We have to reduce the cutting levels if there are a lot of limited sections in the supplied audio.
A good and safe dynamic range is around DR12 (see the bottom table at Pleasurize Music Foundationwebpage), but if mixed and (pre-)mastered well, it can be up to DR8 for some genres. Any audio constantly above -8 dB RMS (not the same as DR values, but similar) should be considered as audio with reduced dynamic range and some problems can be expected when ordered as a LOUD CUT. It is more time consuming when preparing such compressed audio for cutting. It often results in some kind of a compromise between loudness and sound quality