45 or 33 rpm?
45 undoubtedly sounds better than 33 because the disc is rotating faster and therefore there is more definition, this generally equates to more high frequencies before distortion and a generally better sounding record. However due to the laws of physics and the fact that the grooves are an analogue waveform on the record, if you want a maximum volume cut on the lacquer once you get past 8 or 9 minutes (genre dependent) you’ll start to lose level. At this point it’s generally better to switch to 33 rpm to maintain maximum level on the cut.
In short, you can put maximum volume sound system cut up to 8 minutes and then lose 1db for every additional minute. 33rpm max cut up to 10 minutes and then lose approximately 1db every two minutes. This is also genre dependant.
How long should my LP be?
For those of you who can remember cassettes C90’s (90 mins total playing time) had 45 mins of time available this is so you could fit the full two sides of an LP on one side of the tape. So this was always presumed it was 22.5 minutes on each side. It is possible to go slightly longer than this dependant on genre and average program level but the drop off in quality once you go passed this time is not recommended.
Can you provide vinyl masters for cutting elsewhere?
Yes we can provide vinyl and digital masters as per request but we also supply lacquers and are affiliated with Curved Pressings who will help arrange for your records to be pressed.
General recording advice for vinyl
Where is your intended listening environment? If it’s a club bear in mind you will never be standing in a sweet spot if in fact there is one there is no need to go excessive with stereo and sometimes something in mono will be better than in stereo as often the listener will be close to one speaker stack.
For vinyl please try to keep everything below 300 Hertz in mono as stereo and phase information is up and downwards movement of the cutting and playback stylus. This causes the groove to get thinner and fatter, which can cause the playback stylus to jump out of the groove because they are too think to hold it.
How can I send you my mixes and what file format should I supply?
In at least wav 24bit 44.1khz or 24 bit 48 bit ideally we can handle any sample rates, please don’t send MP3s or any Spotify or Youtube links as references - please supply everything as. Any form of data compression is reducing the quality of your music even flacs please send wavs.
Use services like WeTransfer, Dropbox for example.
You can submit your music directly to us via https://curved.wetransfer.com
How to I set up my turntable to give me the best analysis of my records?
Assuming your tonearm and turntable have adjustable weight and tracking options fitted please fit adjust them to the cartridge suppliers recommended settings. If you do not have enough weight on your tonearm relative to your cartridge specifications you will have significantly increased distortion on the high frequencies and more possibility of the record skipping. Excess weight will dumb down the general sound quality, stereo image and dynamics. Excessive or non existent tracking can also contribute towards a skipping record.
Should I Dither when rendering my mixdown?
Yes if you are changing your sample frequency from your mix to your bounced file only if working the digital domain.
Should I supply references for my track?
Supplying a reference for how you’d like your audio to sound will also give us the best indication of how you’d like your master to sound, we also recommend you use these references while at home or in a pro studio to hone your recording to how you like it to before we master it. These should be supplied in the best possibly quality in wav not Spotify or YouTube.
The mysteries of headroom and dynamics
With a theoretical dynamic range of 122dB (at 24 bit resolution) there is no need to render your mixes with peaks at 0dbfs.
Mixes should peak at -3 to -6dbfs, to guard against intersample peak distortion.
Please note that if you are supplying a mix that has been limited there is no benefit in rendering out the limited version at -3 dbfs as no extra headroom has been created in dynamic terms.
Use your ears not your eyes.
When mixing it’s always good to turn your computer screen off as you approach the end of your mixing session, so you can focus purely on the sound and the way the arrangement works without watching it happen on screen.
What special cuts do you offer?
Locked grooves have been a speciality at Curve Pusher since we opened in 1999 please supply your repeated 1 bar loop at 133.33 bpms (1.8 seconds). A locked groove at 45rpm for one bar needs to be 180 bpm or for half a bar 90 bpm generally speaking locked grooves are cut at 33rpm for these reasons.
We can cut twin spirals here (a different track in alternate grooves in the record or a hidden track). This is a complex proceedure of cutting the 1st track with the grooves spread out much more than normal , then landing the cutting head inthe uncut lacquer inbetween the grooves of the first track, and with fine adjustment , holding it there as the second spiral (your track) is slowly cut in between the grooves of the 1st track , until the end of the side .
Why is half speed mastering so good?
If you can imagine that a cutting head is cutting a high frequency tone and 15,000 times a second (15khz) this is a very difficult thing to do loudly and cleanly on vinyl. So if we play the audio back at half speed and the lathe turntable is also at half speed you are now cutting this 15 khz tone at 7.5 htz which give the cutting head a much easier task to do cleanly it also gives the entire operation at more frequencies more time to breathe so you get greater definition. It plays back at normal speed on the turntable with greater high frequency clarity with less distortion and overall definition of sound.
Will I receive my masters for approval?
We will send masters for approval before cutting to laquer or for digital distribution and if necessary you will get one free adjustment if you are not satisfied. Any other adjustments may be charged. Please note that in the case of a tweak we run an analogue studio here so we do not have desk recall so we will have to remaster from scratch.
Tips for high frequency
Don’t ever use a high shelf boost just because it sounds good, you’re boosting things that you can’t hear as well as the things that you can’t here and particularly for vinyl this can cause harmonic distortion in what you can hear which can be unpleasant and hard to undo. Always use detailed parametric EQing and only ever do things that you can hear. If you apply a plug in and can’t hear it’s affect don’t leave it on as it can cause problems further down the line.