So you wanna make a record?
That's great! But there's a few things we need you to know to make your project run smoothly. When we agree the details on your project we will create a Dropbox folder just for you that you can upload everything to and invite you to it. But's let's do the artwork first.....
All artwork should be submitted as editable PDF files. If you have some bizarre or hard to get font please send it to use so we can use it just for your project unless you are happy to have Ariel Sans substituted in. Yeah didn't think so. There are notes on bleed below. Don't put crop marks in your project or leave template layers on. The it is very annoying when we go to print your art and the crop marks and template layers are locked into the art. Also, JPEG files are pretty shitty for this. PDF is great. Specs are below. It does not matter if you send CMYK or RGB. Use high resolution images, always. Shitty images make shitty prints, always. If you aren't sure about your artwork that's cool ask for help but remember if it looks shitty/low res on your screen it will look shitty when it is printed.
On a personal note - art is art. Records are a wonderful opportunity to showcase not only your music but a little of your personality and artistic flair too. Numerous times we have seen lovely artwork smothered in logos, barcodes, millions of lines of text and unnecessary info. If you want to put a load of stuff on a record think about an insert. There are thousands of beautiful looking records and I can't think of a single one that has 14 logos on the centre label. Just a suggestion. The other one is go for it. Don't make art you think people will like, be bold, express yourself baby let's see what you got!
Also, please make sure you have permission to use any images you submit. Seriously. Please also clearly name your files so we know what is what.
We don't need or want crop marks and please, pretty please do not make a hole/white mark in the centre of your label artwork. We know there's a hole there, that's used for putting the record on the player and we know whatever is printed there will be gone. You can allow a little bleed, a mm or two but you don't have to, we do the layout. We recommend not using very fine text (below 10pt fonts) or putting text close around the edges.
10" and 7" records have 73mm diameter labels and need an additional 2mm of bleed, 12" record labels are 95mm in diameter and need an additional 2mm of bleed. We use a permanent adhesive high gloss photo stock and they look the biz. So, separate PDF files for each of A and B side is cool. Just make a circle, put your art in it and send to us. Presto, done.
7" sleeves are 184mm x 184mm. 10" sleeves are 265mm x 265mm. 12" sleeves are 315mm x 315mm. For each of the front or back art please submit a separate PDF file. Same principles as above apply. Keep it high res and make a statement. No bleed needed.
Alright. This we try and keep simple. We need WAV files but can cut from MP3s too if we have too. WAVS should be good resolution. 16 bit 44khz is fine. There isn't any need to for to 96khz but if you want to go for it. It will make your files MASSIVE and won't sound better. If you have more than one song per side 1 WAV per side of music is the best. E.G. and album would have 2 WAV files - side A WAV and side B WAV. Nice and easy and then you get to put your tracks running as you like from song to song. We can do it but we'll ask you to pay us for our time. Please also clearly name your files so we know what is what.
Every day we get asked about vinyl mastering and mixing for vinyl. It's complicated so here's the express version. Don't over compress or over-limit your mixes. Don't go crazy with the trebles or stereo effects. Make sure you don't have stereo bass madness under 100hz, keep it mono. De-ess, records hate vocal sibilance. Let your mixes breath and be dynamic. There is so much misinformation on this topic and yes on a technical level it is complicated but don't stress, follow these simple guides and I reckon you'll go pretty close. We cut all sorts of things and most of the time we don't even need separate masters for vinyl. We can take a listen and of course we master recordings for vinyl every day.
We can cut pretty much any audio to vinyl but let's be clear, if you send us unmastered, noisy, over compressed, super trebly, bass and/or stereo effect heavy stuff vinyl won't magically fix issues. There are limitations placed on vinyl transcriptions by physics and we will do our best and have a history of great feedback and results.
Need to know more? Ask us about things we can do and for more technical info I would recommend making a coffee, getting a notepad and a pen and hitting google or otherwise booking time to chat to a mastering engineer who knows what they are doing.