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. After we agree the details on your project we would prefer you include all files together and use wetransfer.com to send us everything at once. We recommend you let us master your music if we are going to cut it. We work with a number of gifted mastering engineers but we cut vinyl every day and we know what we are doing. Contact us for an offer on your project. We offer discounted mastering rates (for your digi and CD files too) if we are making your vinyl.
All artwork should be submitted as editable PDF or Adobe Illustrator files. There are notes on bleed below. Don't put crop marks in your project or leave template layers on. We use CMYK colours. Use high resolution images, 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. It is your responsibility to submit high quality artwork.
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 (templates below). 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.
Also, please make sure you have permission to use any images you submit if they are not your own. Please also clearly name your files so we know what is what.
We don't need or want crop marks and please, do not make a hole/white mark in the centre of your label artwork. We recommend not using very fine text (below 10pt fonts) or putting text close around the edges. Leave Safety margins of about 2-3mm near all cut and crease/fold lines.
7" records have 76mm diameter labels and need an additional 2mm of bleed, 12" record labels are 95mm in diameter and need an additional 2mm of bleed. 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. So your 7” label will actually be 78mm (we cut it at 76mm) and your 12” label will be 97mm (we cut it at 95mm). Sometimes we use the 95mm label on 7”, 8”, 10” too.
7" sleeves and 8” sleeves we have templates for. 10" sleeves are 260mm x 260mm + 3mm bleed (so 266mm x 266mm but we cut*fold at 260mm). 12" sleeves are 315mm x 315mm + 3mm bleed all round in a file each for front and back (so 321mm but we cut/fold at 315mm). For each of the front or back art please submit a separate PDF file. You can watch a video on bleed here.
Alright. This we try and keep simple but it is kinda complex. Ideally we would like to master your files though there are a number of things to consider at mix stage. We need WAV files but can cut from MP3s too if we have to. WAVS should be high 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. Like us!