The vinyl reinassance

Mastering for vinyl is a fundamental process to obtain a vinyl with high audio quality and to avoid playback issues. Today, this process is very important because of the great renaissance that vinyl has achieved in the last years.

In 2016 people listen to music overall online (by Spotify, Soundcloud, Web Radio…). We buy digital music mostly using web sites like iTunes, Beatport and so on. CDs have lost their importance. On the other hand, vinyl has raised its sales exponentially, mostly because of its appeal and its physical shape.

the mastering for vinyl process

Vinyl success in the last years is due overall by aesthetic and psychological reasons. Today we listen to (almost) everything we want simply by using a free service like Spotify. We listen to music whenever we want, in the car, while we run, at home, in the office, everywhere. Music has lost is magic because we can listen to it in every situation. We don’t really enjoy what we hear, we don’t appreciate it, we don’t pay attention to the sound and to the artistic value of the music.

In this context, vinyl lets the music reconquer its magic, by recapturing the listener attention. A vinyl needs a ritual to be played. You have to extract it from its cover, place it on the plate, position the head; then you have to change the side manually. Vinyl needs a series of tasks that force you to listen to the music with attention, without distractions.

Besides, vinyl is a relatively big physical object, with a certain aesthetic appeal. We can touch it, we can admire the images on the cover, we can collect it on our shelves. It’s not only music being played while we do other things, it is a beautiful object that request us attention and care. These elements make vinyl so appealing even today.

Why mastering for vinyl is necessary

This medium is appealing but has its disadvantages too:

  1. An high hiss level
  2. The material is subject to wear and tear, increasingly with the use
  3. The turntable head can skip during playback

The process of vinyl creation and duplication has generally the following steps:

  1. The creation of the digital pre master
  2. The creation of the lacquer master disc from the digital pre master
  3. The creation of the two stamps from the lacquer master disc
  4. The creation of the vinyl copies from the two stamps

For avoiding the risk of the turntable head skip, the mastering engineer has to deliver a digital pre master with specific characteristics:

  1. Bass frequencies phase has to be coherent between left and right channel
  2. High frequencies transients have to be controlled and limited within a certain range
  3. The amplitude of sub low and ultra high frequencies has to be limited too

Mastering for vinyl is a mastering process dedicated to obtain a digital pre master with a balanced and warm sound, which respects also the conditions described above. A vinyl cut from a good digital pre master will sound very balanced. It will have less powerful sub low and ultra high frequencies than today’s digital audio files, and less mid-high and high transients, thus resulting in a more natural sound.

Warm Mastering is specialized in mastering for vinyl, and can offer to its clients great sounding digital pre masters which are 100% vinyl compatible.