Vinyl Cut
« on: December 08, 2019, 10:03:48 AM »
Hi All

We are all noob at some point... I finish an album and my client want it pressed, a first for me.
Everybody is more than happy with the stereo mix out of the console and we probably don't want it to be "mastered"
We'll look for a cutter soon (as I more or less understand that cutting at plant can be poker...)

But I don't know at what stage of the process all the "vinyl" formatting is done to achieve the master vinyle.  I mean the bass monoing, low cut/hi cut as RIAA etc...
Is that done on the cutting console or a premaster should be made in spec before the work of the cutting engineer ?

In short can I send my files (AtoD from two bus) as is, or should I pre process things myself

Input welcome  8)

Best
Zam


Ricardus

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2019, 11:17:11 AM »
Find a good vinyl cutter and send them your stereo mixes. They will master it to vinyl. It's what they do.

I'm surprised you don't want another set of ears on the finished mixes though. A good mastering engineer might make some subtle but nice improvements.
Audio mastering for hire..

Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2019, 12:16:09 PM »
There is no need to pre process and guess what’s needed. One test you can do is put a LPF at 12K across the mix. If  the sound changes too much for you liking you have a problem. If the mix is acceptable with the LPF in you will probably be fine. Most problems in cutting are with too much or the wrong kind of high end.

If the mixes are sparse I would be very careful about who cuts it.  It’s counter intuitive but a solo instrument is the trickiest thing to cut. A dense mix is usually easier.

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2019, 02:10:27 PM »
Hello Ricardus

I'm surprised you don't want another set of ears on the finished mixes though. A good mastering engineer might make some subtle but nice improvements.

I "believe" less and less in "mastering", my mixes do the work and good mastering engineer are not cheap..."average" mastering guy never impress my ears  :-X

I call when I need a DDP (until I buy a soft to make them...) and in this case a cut

There is no need to pre process and guess what’s needed. One test you can do is put a LPF at 12K across the mix. If  the sound changes too much for you liking you have a problem. If the mix is acceptable with the LPF in you will probably be fine. Most problems in cutting are with too much or the wrong kind of high end.

If the mixes are sparse I would be very careful about who cuts it.  It’s counter intuitive but a solo instrument is the trickiest thing to cut. A dense mix is usually easier.

Thanks Paul for the advice
What slope for the LPF do you recommand to get a preview listening idea? a smooth 6dB/octave ?
By the way do you cut for oversea ppls ?

Best
Zam




Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2019, 03:12:44 PM »
Thanks Paul for the advice
What slope for the LPF do you recommand to get a preview listening idea? a smooth 6dB/octave ?
By the way do you cut for oversea ppls ?

It's an imprecise test. 6 or 12dB/oct is okay. You want to listen to what happens to 15K or so. As frequency goes up so do problems. If there is significant information around 15K that you don't want to loose then you will be in for an unwelcome surprise with a cut.

I do ship overseas but shipping a lacquer set is over $200. I think it would be preferable to find someone closer to you.

john12ax7

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2019, 03:18:28 PM »
The LPF thing is surprising to me.  I always thought,  perhaps incorrectly,  that vinyl was light in bass but had extended high frequency information.

What is the reason that vinyl will lose the high end?

Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2019, 04:33:19 PM »
The LPF thing is surprising to me.  I always thought,  perhaps incorrectly,  that vinyl was light in bass but had extended high frequency information.

What is the reason that vinyl will lose the high end?

Everything with vinyl is a moving target. The real answer to any question is “it depends”. That’s why you hear so many different answers to the same question.

 In theory vinyl has flat frequency response from 0.00000000000001 Hz to light. Extreme high end could  only happen at extremely low levels. Like in the noise floor. This is a power limitation on the cutterhead. The power a cutterhead can handle is measured in joules. That’s frequency x power/time. The higher the frequency the more power is required. But the head can only handle high power for a very short amount of time. Distortion will happen on playback way before the cutterhead is damaged.

The other issue is that all the problems associated with vinyl are actually playback problems. Not record problems. You can put more information on the disk than can be recovered.

The amount of high frequency information that can be recovered also varies with the diameter of the record. There is less high end  and more distortion at the inside diameter. This is called tracing distortion. That happens when the radius of the stylus is larger than the wavelength of the frequency.

On a record for a given frequency the wavelength decreases as the stylus moves from the outside to the inside diameter. So high end that is clean at the outer diameter could be distorted at the inner diameter.

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2019, 05:03:25 PM »
It's an imprecise test. 6 or 12dB/oct is okay. You want to listen to what happens to 15K or so. As frequency goes up so do problems. If there is significant information around 15K that you don't want to loose then you will be in for an unwelcome surprise with a cut.

I do ship overseas but shipping a lacquer set is over $200. I think it would be preferable to find someone closer to you.

Well I usually don't use hf for information but sensation...in present case, the LPF just give me little less air, which is obvious, element balance stay fine.

Yes I'll find a cutter closer to me and the band.
If someone have advise, (EU)

what about cutting at 45 ? the current track listing give around 15min per side (9 tracks total)

Best
Zam

john12ax7

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2019, 05:23:02 PM »
Great info,  thank you.

Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2019, 06:56:49 PM »
Well I usually don't use hf for information but sensation...in present case, the LPF just give me little less air, which is obvious, element balance stay fine.

Yes I'll find a cutter closer to me and the band.
If someone have advise, (EU)

what about cutting at 45 ? the current track listing give around 15min per side (9 tracks total)

Best
Zam

If you just loose a little air you are probably fine. Many Phono cartridges have a resonant peak somewhere above 10k . Especially if the cart hasn’t been damped with capacitance. So many  might get that missing high end back on playback.

15:00 is right on the edge for an easy 12” cut at 45rpm.  It would be highly dependent on the material whether it works or not.


Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2019, 08:26:47 PM »
The LPF thing is surprising to me.  I always thought,  perhaps incorrectly,  that vinyl was light in bass but had extended high frequency information.

It occurs to me this may be conflating the preemphasis deemphasis curves with the frequency response of the record and reproduce systems. The  “RIAA EQ” is a pre emphasis  - de emphasis scheme just like on  a tape machine. 

It  has a rising frequency response above the turnover frequency of 1K. It makes frequencies above the turnover frequency constant amplitude to keep high frequencies above the noise floor. It makes frequencies below the turnover frequency constant velocity  so the stylus doesn’t have to swing further the lower the frequency.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2019, 01:05:57 AM by Gold »

john12ax7

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2019, 10:44:55 PM »
I wasn't referring to the RIAA EQ, but rather the final system frequency response, as the high end can extend way past 20k. I just didn't know it began to roll off at 15k

Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2019, 12:26:42 AM »
I wasn't referring to the RIAA EQ, but rather the final system frequency response, as the high end can extend way past 20k. I just didn't know it began to roll off at 15k

It doesn’t begin to roll off at 15K.  Quad records had a carrier frequency of something like 40K for the rear channels. The amount of high end permissible is level dependent. The carrier frequency was very low in level. Not surprisingly it didn’t work very well.

The difference between what is possible and what is practical is large. Since distortion happens on playback and playback systems vary wildly it’s a moving target.

A good cutter knows the records likely audience. You tailor the record to the general type of playback system the record is targeted to.

abbey road d enfer

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2019, 01:33:37 PM »
I wasn't referring to the RIAA EQ, but rather the final system frequency response, as the high end can extend way past 20k. I just didn't know it began to roll off at 15k
What begins to roll-off at about 15k is peak amplitude. The limitation is similar to slew-rate limitation. The higher the frequency, the higher the cutter acceleration, and the higher the power to produce this acceleration Recording a 15kHz sinewave at nominal amplitude would require hundreds of watts in the cutter coils, which it would sustain for not a very long time.
But indeed, the low level response can exceed 20kHz.
When vinyl was just about the only significant media, SE's would know what they sould not do if they wanted a good pressing. The mastering engineer was there to put a final touch, in view of two main factors:
one was the indications of the lathe, that would guide how to apply elliptic EQ (LF monoing) and HF limitation
the other was a touch of artistry, since the monitors in the cutting room were often better than those used for tracking; there were two reasons for that: first, the acoustics of the cutting room were not hampered by the presence of a big desk, second the monitors in the studio were optimized for loudness, in order to impress customers, those in the cutting room were for accuracy.
Today, mixes are produced for digital release; not many SE's know what to do for vinyl cutting, so the vinyl ME has a tougher job to do. I believe Gold will concur.

PS: in the same era, cassette was very much alive. Preparing masters for cassette duplication was a similar job, with also HF limitations and acute noise concerns. It was not associated with the risk of frying a $3000 cutter, though.

Mastering was a technical job, above all, that implied knowing the workings and limitations of the equipment. Today, what they call mastering is a completely different game, with a lot of hype and subjectivity.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2019, 11:20:20 PM »
There are still people who cut but don’t master in the modern sense of the word. It’s essentially a transfer job. Even when I master a record for digital I treat making the lacquer master as a transfer.

Some modern things are harder than others to cut. A solo voice is still the most difficult thing to cut.

Mastering has been becoming more of a post production stage for a long time. I still get some masters on tape that are basically ready to go with no changes but it’s a rarity. Mix engineers usually don’t think of the whole album and mix so everything is spot on.

abbey road d enfer

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2019, 04:10:09 AM »
Even when I master a record for digital I treat making the lacquer master as a transfer.
Not even a touch of EQ or limiting?
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

EmRR

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2019, 08:21:39 AM »
I've had a two songs sent for fan club 7" releases in the last two years, and when I inquired with the mastering house if there was a pre-transfer EQ/etc version I could archive, was told they were both flat transfers, no changes other than gain adjustment. 
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde

abbey road d enfer

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2019, 11:28:47 AM »
I've had a two songs sent for fan club 7" releases in the last two years, and when I inquired with the mastering house if there was a pre-transfer EQ/etc version I could archive, was told they were both flat transfers, no changes other than gain adjustment.
It looks like the paradigm has changed since my days of mixing for vinyl release. It was then customary for the mix engineer and either the producer and/or the artist to be present at the cutting session, so any tweak was approved by them.
Today mastering or cutting seem to be solitary jobs, so I understand the cutting engineer doesn't want to take risks and opts for a safe option.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

EmRR

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2019, 12:12:00 PM »
It looks like the paradigm has changed since my days of mixing for vinyl release. It was then customary for the mix engineer and either the producer and/or the artist to be present at the cutting session, so any tweak was approved by them.
Today mastering or cutting seem to be solitary jobs, so I understand the cutting engineer doesn't want to take risks and opts for a safe option.

My other vinyl mastering experiences have all been 'pre-cut master', meaning general mastering for all formats without final limiting, then a fork in the road with 1) limiting for CD/streaming 2) any vinyl specific touches with no limiting applied.    44K1/16 reduction for CD, vinyl left hi-res. 
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde

Gold

Re: Vinyl Cut
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2019, 12:24:12 PM »
My other vinyl mastering experiences have all been 'pre-cut master', meaning general mastering for all formats without final limiting, then a fork in the road with 1) limiting for CD/streaming 2) any vinyl specific touches with no limiting applied.    44K1/16 reduction for CD, vinyl left hi-res.

That’s the most common scenario.  A “flat cut” is what most expect.  In reality most cutters will do what it takes to do a good cut.  There is no point in sending out bad work. If something needs tweaks to cut well I’ll do it even in a “flat cut”.  Those tweaks would be adjustments so it sounds more like the source on playback  not “better”.


 

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