Vinyl records are a fantastic physical product for artists and bands to offer to their fan base. Having vinyl records produced may be easier than you think! While there are a lot of great pressing plants still operating around the world, Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland specifically caters to assisting indie musicians in pressing their music on wax. You can get a hold of them and/or place your vinyl orders online at www.gottagrooverecords.com.
Here are some general pointers for making the process quick and easy:
1) How long does the process take? This is by far the most popular question. Vinyl does take a bit longer to manufacture than compact discs or DVDs, so please take this into account. If you are ordering your records from Gotta Groove, the general rule of thumb is to plan for approximately 3 weeks from when you submit your order to when you will get test pressings; and then three weeks from when you approve test pressings to when your order is ready to ship. Usually, things move much faster than this. But, if you plan this timeline into your schedule, you will never be disappointed! Of course, there are things that you can do to move things along – the most important pointers are described below.
2) Vinyl Masters Preparation: If you know you are going to do a vinyl release, pay special attention during mix and mastering to the high and low end content of the material. Examples of high frequency issues include cymbals and sibilance in vocals (ssss sounds). Try not to make the cymbals too bright and be sure to use a “de-esser” on vocals as needed. Make sure that frequencies below 40hz are cut as needed. Use high pass filters on tracks when mixing to keep these frequencies under control.
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3) Audio Master Files Format: Use the highest quality file format that you can. 16bit 44100K is fine, but 24bit sounds better to a lot of people. Stay away from .aiff files or be sure you are saving in an uncompressed .aiff file. A lot of Apple software (Quicktime and iTunes) export what they call a .aiff file; but it is not a pro standard file. Your best bet is to choose .wav files if possible.
4) Watch Your Side Lengths: – the length of one side on a record will dramatically affect the final sound. While somewhat flexible depending upon the type of music involved, some general limitations are:
– 7” @ 33 1/3 RPM: ideal limit is 6 minutes per side
– 7” @ 45 RPM: ideal limit is 4.5 minutes per side.
– 12” @ 33 1/3 RPM: 18 minutes per side is ideal, 20 minutes per side is still good, 22 minutes per side is generally the max.
– 12” @ 45 RPM: 12 minutes per side is ideal, 14 minutes is ok, 15 minutes per side is generally the max.
Finally, it is actually always ideal to have 7” records cut at 45rpm, if side length permits.
5) Art Files Preparation: Label, jacket, sleeve, and other art should always be prepared as 300 dpi resolution. If printing full color art, be sure to use CMYK mode, not RGB. Using proper templates (available at www.gottagrooverecords.com) definitely helps too; but remember not to embed template lines into your art, or it will only create delays!
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