Vinyl record cutting (7inch, 10inch & 12inch)
We can cut any of the popular vinyl formats with exact precision. We initially made our reputation cutting super loud and super high quality dance records, but now we are equally at home cutting a 27 minute thrash metal album as 10 minute roots reggae 10". We will always cut, unless otherwise requested, the loudest cut possible, before distortion, dependant on the program length of the side. We always do a test cut before the master lacquer. This means we cut a short section of the loudest / most aggressive part of your audio onto a test lacquer, then listen back to it in house, to check for any distortion or skips / jumping needle , before signing off and cutting the master lacquer.
We can cut a 6.5 minute 7 inch no problem but it wont be loud. Or a screaming 6.5 minute 45rpm 12 inch. The choice is yours, and we are always online to help you with any impartial advice you may need to help you with any decisions you need to make before placing your order.
Mastering for vinyl & digital
Mastering for vinyl and digital can be the same process if done correctly. A well mastered track for vinyl can be used for digital, just increased in level if required for digital after being mastered for vinyl. There are rules that have to be followed when mastering for vinyl, but no the are no strict rules for digital.
When mastering for vinyl the high frequencies must be tonally equalised in certain way, so as they do not distort when played back on a turntable. Excessive high frequencies, 'S's in vocals, cymbals, violins, flutes, percussion and so on can all cause unpleasant distortion if EQed incorrectly. Generally speaking, I would not recommend using a high frequency shelf boost if your material is coming out on vinyl. The thing is, it boosts frequencies above the audible range when you do that, but this can cause distortion in the audible range. Always use more specific parametric equalisation, and only do it if you can hear the exact effect.
The other important rule for mastering for vinyl, is to keep low frequencies in mono or as close to as possible. The reason for this is that stereo / out of phase bass causes up and downwards movement in the cutting stylus and this causes the grooves to get shallower and deeper. This can cause the playback stylus to jump out of the groove, as is has a conical or rounded tip, so cannot trace the shallow groove any more. The human ear cannot detect stereo below 450Hz anyway, so there is not point in having stereo information there.
Masters for approval before cutting
When mastering for vinyl we will generally supply you with the mastered file before we commit it to lacquer cutting. This gives you the chance to listen to what we have done. Any errors can be corrected at this stage, as it's expensive to go back and cut lacquers and make test pressings again.
Mastering for digital CD & download
We have always said, that a track that has been mastered properly will work on any format. For instance, a track that has been mastered perfectly for vinyl, then 'turned up' for digital releases will always work and sound head and shoulders better than a 'loud' mastered track in the digital domain. So that said, we always master for digital releases with the same care and attention that we would give to a vinyl release. Then, at the clients discretion, will add more gain as required for the digital domain be that download or CD.
Mastering and recording to and from tape (half or quarter inch stereo)
There is something undeniable about the sound quality that can be added to any recording, by passing them through the pre-amps and then laying down to tape, then back out through op-amps of a Studer master tape recorder. So here at Curve Pusher, if you feel your music is missing that special something, we can master your track on our analogue desk then record your tracks onto tape, be that at 1/2" or 1/4", then cut the lacquers direct from the tape. We will of course record your tracks from tape back into ProTools via the Prism sound cards, so you can use your 'taped' music for digital formats.
Pure analogue mastering
At Curve Pusher, we use only the highest quality analogue mastering hardware. Once your audio has been converted to analogue signal using the highest possible matching bit rate conversion in our Prism converters, we will maintain the analogue purity of your music until the grooves are cut onto the master lacquer. This includes a signal path of Maselec MEA-2 EQ, Maselec MPL-2 limiter, Chiswich Reach valve compressor.
We will of course also convert this mastered analogue signal back through our Prism converters into digital, so you can use then for digital requirements.
Whatever your audio editing needs are, we have the facilities here across four studios. From simple crossfading, to creating radio edits from longer mixes, anything is possible.
Damaged audio files from 'back in the day', be it from analogue tape, digital audio tape or even vinyl, we can recover sound quality to an even better than new level. Utilising experience, along with the latest hardware and software techniques, we can remove unwanted noise, clicks, vinyl groove noise, digital dropouts.
Half Speed Vinyl Mastering
Half speed mastering is an area of disc cutting that many have very little understanding of. So, let's agree for arguments sake that the hardest sound frequency for a cutting stylus to cut is a 15kHz crash cymbal. The cutting stylus has to vibrate accurately at 15,000 times per second to accurately encode the analogue waveform on to the lacquer. This is clearly difficult to imagine, let alone perform with accuracy at any given level. So, lets assume that the equipment that Neumann gave us was designed to perform at any given level. Then we go 1 db above that level, and suddenly we start to impart cutting distortion. What do we do? We cut at half speed. We play back the audio at half speed, and reduce the lathe turntable rotation to half speed. This halves the 15kHz tone to 7.5kHz, which is much easier to cut at this level (it only has to vibrate 7,500 times per second instead of 15,000 which is much easier). Everything in the signal path also has twice as long to improve definition at every stage.
As both the audio and the lathe were at half speed, when the cut lacquer is played back on a record player everything is at the correct speed but with greater definition and less distortion, if any.
The limits of this studio are your imagination. Pure analogue synthesis, stems mixing, finishing off your tracks from home, creating new tracks from scratch, live band recording in analogue or digital domain, anything is possible. We have such an incredible equipment list of analogue classic hardware that you have to see it to believe it. This coupled with the experience of Keith Tenniswood at the helm, we can make your ideas or home mixes sound truly professional.
Professional record cleaning & Vinyl ripping / recording service
If you have old dirty records, we can clean them and record them so you can enjoy them again and listen to at their former glory. Utilising our professional vacuum record cleaner, The Oki Noki, we can remove any dirt from your records using a cleaning fluid that is 1st spread into the grooves, then we vacuum the dirt laden fluid back out. At that point, we can also record your cleaned records for you with our exemplary record playback and recording system, and supply you with cleaned digital files.
24 track, 2 inch tape recording facilities
This is the ultimate quality. Quincy Jones used to used exactly the same 3M 24 track tape recorder in his prime, as we can use here at Curve Pusher. We can record your band through our Amek mixing desk onto this amazing tape machine, track by track or live, and you will hear yourself or your band in a way that you did not think possible. We can then utilise the recording studio control room and outboard, to make you sound like you never believed possible. We have an amazing array of microphones too, including a 1937 ribbon mic, and a Neumann U87 amongst many others...
Lounge & recreation area with listening stations
We have a fully fitted kitchen with cooker, Nespresso Coffee machine and somewhere to sit, relax and eat some food if on a long session.