For optimal quality of your vinyl masters, it is important to comply with certain technical specifications. Firstly, the audio format should be in 24-bit resolution with a 44.1 KHz sampling rate and the file should be in WAV format. It is crucial to avoid 'inflating' or 'modifying' the sampling rate at mastering, it should be maintained the same as your original project.
Avoid providing us with a CD or streaming mastering as this could greatly impact the quality of your vinyl. Regarding the duration per side, here are the maximum times expected for a nominal level (0 dB) cut:
Rock, Reggae, Classical, Pop music, etc:
12’’ - 33 RPM: 19 min
12’’ - 45 RPM (maxi 45t): 12 min
“Electronic” music types like Rap, Electro, etc:
12’’ - 33 RPM: 16 min
12’’ - 45 RPM (maxi 45t): 10 min
Music with "loaded" spectrum like Techno, Metal, Noise, etc:
12’’ - 33 RPM: 14 min
12’’ - 45 RPM (maxi 45t): 8 min
A moderate compression of the masters is recommended, aiming for a dynamic range of 13 dB for quality engraving. It is also crucial to avoid any overload.
When preparing your graphic files, it is important to comply with certain technical specifications to ensure optimal print quality. The accepted file type is PDF 1.3 with a resolution of 300 dpi. The PDF must be 1:1, exported without scaling or distillation. It must be in CMYK and/or special colors, without color profiles or color management.
It is recommended to embed fonts or convert them to outlines. The line thickness should not be less than 0.15 mm in positive printing and 0.25 mm in negative printing. Characters must have a minimum size of 5pt in positive printing and 7pt in negative printing.
Regarding colors, it is recommended to avoid overprinting black characters and lines on a CMYK background, especially for metallic and bright colors. For a deep and cold black, put only 50% cyan (100N, 50C) for a depth of 100%. For dark files in 1 color, set the contrast high enough (at least 15%, or even - 20% for labels or returned boxes. The maximum ink coverage rate is 280%.
Use of RGB color mode instead of CMYK: One of the most common errors is the use of the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) color mode instead of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). RGB is generally used for digital media, while CMYK is the color mode used for printing. Using the wrong color mode can result in significant differences in the printed colors compared to what you see on your screen.
Templates still present on the final file: Templates are useful guides during design, but they should not be included in the final file intended for printing. They can interfere with the printing process and affect the final rendering of your cover or disc label.
Inadequate resolution: For high-quality printing, a resolution of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) is recommended. Lower resolution can result in pixelated or blurry printing.
Poor management of margins and bleed: It is important to provide a safety margin for the bleed and inner margins. This prevents important elements from being cut off during the final cut. Generally, a margin of 5 mm is recommended for the bleed and for the inner margins.
Non-vector files for graphic elements: For optimal print quality, it is preferable to use vector files for graphic elements. Vector files maintain their quality regardless of the zoom level, unlike bitmap files which can become pixelated when enlarged.