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Mixing for Vinyl

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by PaulMacCnj, May 17, 2011.


  1. I read this article about vinyl records:
    Learn Mixing Tips for Mixing for Vinyl | EM Tips and Techniques on Mixing for Vinyl

    It sure seems like a lot to worry about. It's unfortunate that Digital got a bad name because of all the crappy, highly compressed versions of it. As someone who lived with vinyl records for a long time, I welcomed GOOD Digital with open arms. It avoids the issues mentioned in the article above. Sure, it has it's own quirks, but I think the advantages far outweigh the negative aspects, IMO.
     
  2. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium

    Dec 2, 2003
    It's pretty common for the mastering engineer to take care of all of the issues related to the version of the master for vinyl pressing. They'll make the lows mono, roll off some low end, and warn you if the length or dynamic range are a concern. It's not a big deal.

    You generally don't need to worry about it when mixing, unless you have a special reason to want to do it all yourself for some reason.
     
  3. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    Good article, i'm in the camp of if you want it done right, do it yourself. Leaving it up to someone else and ignoring the pitfalls won't help the final product. Giving a mastering engineer something they can elevate higher as opposed to working as damage control can be the difference between good and bad.
    I'll add that you should always have the mastering house do the maximum number of do-overs allowed and pick the best sounding one.
     
  4. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    While it's true a good mastering engineer will fit whatever you give them onto the vinyl playing field, the more you give them to fix, the more different your mix will end up sounding compared to what you heard in the studio. So it's nice to have some idea of what will and won't work when going to vinyl, just to avoid surprises.

    To the OP, I agree about digital mastering. By the time CD's came along there was about an 80 year history of mastering for records, and 30's years of mastering for modern stereophonic records. A long tradition for engineers to hone their craft, with respect to how to get the most out of a very constricting format. Then BAM, CD's! not only was the early converter quality less than perfect, but there was no tradition, no legacy of mastering skills for this entirely new format. And people were surprised that the first efforts were less than stellar?!?
     
  5. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    What's vinyl?

    :D
     
  6. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Wow, that's pretty interesting about the Suburb's album--now I'll have to take a closer listen to that (the music doesn't grab me, but the fact they use the lacquer masters for the digital releases is cool . . .)

    I produce and master a fair amount of dance music and much of it is intended for vinyl of course. When there's the budget, I'll sometimes do a vinyl master and a different one for the digital release, but if it's gonna be just one, I'll master it so it works on vinyl--it typically translates very well to the CD, MP3, etc.
     
  7. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium

    Dec 2, 2003
    The problem with that is the underlying assumption that you can do it as well or better than the ME.

    The ME is more than likely going to get better results starting from a great sounding master that isn't specifically tweaked for vinyl, than he is from a master that some guy that has never done it before doctored up in the way he thought was best for vinyl. The latter scenario is the one more likely to require damage control.

    There's nothing wrong with being aware of the pitfalls, but, they aren't complex. You can't have panning or hard left/right low end content; there are limits to how much extreme low and high end you can have; you can't have huge dynamic range, or the quiet parts will have surface noise; and there are length constraints that relate to the sound. So if you want a thunderous low end, the album needs to be short. That's really about all you need to know.
     
  8. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    I never said you should master anything yourself, merely to be aware of what you should be giving the m.e. to work with.
    And you should take all things into account, if you give a crap about the end product. Mixing for digital and vinyl are two very different things that need to be treated as such.
     
  9. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    The pop stuff CDs I can only guess were first setup for maximum boom box playback And somehow this has become the normal. It doesn't need to be. They are giving up a lot of the information a CD can store.

    If you walk over to the classical section, or go to the classical section on iTunes there is some amazing digitally recorded and mastered music.

    One interesting example if Disney's Fantasia. When they did a release in the 70's they hired a new orchestra and recorded it to CD. It was a good recording. In the late 90's the took the original soundtrack and remastered it, cleaned up the pops and hiss, reset the EQ to take the mics and other recording gear used at the time out of the mix. Go pick up a copy, it's amazing. The original orchestra but all non-musical artifacts removed.

    There was a double blind test once by Matrix Audio? They had audiophiles listen to vinyl and CD's. The audiophiles all preferred the vinyl. They then recorded the vinyl to CD. And all of a sudden, the audiophiles couldn't tell a difference. They pretty much confirmed that a CD can retain 100% of the analog. Audiophiles like crackle and rumble from vinyl, it's what they are use to. These are artifacts that have nothing to do with the recorded music.
     
  10. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium

    Dec 2, 2003
    ...

     
  11. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Virginia
    you conveniently left this out, chief:

    Giving a mastering engineer something they can elevate higher as opposed to working as damage control can be the difference between good and bad.
     
  12. teleharmonium

    teleharmonium

    Dec 2, 2003
    You, of course, were saying that in defense of the approach you recommended, which IIRC you described, with little apparent nuance, as "do it yourself".

    So your story is that by "do it yourself" what you meant was "merely be aware of what you should be giving the m.e." ?

    Not really plausible. Maybe you should stop digging.
     

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