Mastering for Vinyl
I am by no means an expert on the subject, but it has finally been my fate to attempt it. I’ll be able to report the full results when the dubplates come in, but until then, here’s my approach.
- Roll off the top end from 15kHz. Too much high frequency information can cause distortion. Now, coming from a digital background where people argue all about the awful top end roll-off by mp3 encoders, this sounds just like sacrilege to me. But it would seem that arguments about the superior sound quality of vinyl vs cd are not really based around extended frequency responses or sampling rates. (Maybe a bit rate discussion might be more in order here.)
- Centre the bottom end from around 150Hz. This one is particularly distressing to me, being a fan of wildly panned bass guitar solos in songs like Look Away and Itchy Trigger (nee Finger). But all that panning can cause the stylus to literally jump out of the groove. I suppose it also helps consolidate the bottom end a bit, or “give it more punch”. (And it certainly wouldn’t harm the encoding process if you tried digital compression..)
- Roll off the bottom end from around 30Hz. Apparently this starts to get close to the resonant frequency of a stylus, which is a Bad Thing. No problems here, since I normally roll off from around 40Hz for digital files anyway.
- Go easy on the brickwall limiting. No clipping please. Hopefully no problems there since I avoid excessive use of that sort of thing in the digital realm as much possible anyway.
And there you have it! (What could possibly go wrong?)