Vinyl mastering is a form of analog mastering whereby the album is prepared for optimal playback on a vinyl record. A mastered song for a CD and digital release is quite different from the same song that is mastered for vinyl. The overall equalization and balance is similar but dynamic range and optimization can be quite different.
With vinyl mastering we adhere to the standards set forth by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA dictates the specification for the recording and the playback of vinyl records (phonographs). Generally speaking, recordings are boosted in the high end and reduced in the low end for the recording and the reverse happens during playback. That is, the high-end is reduced and the low-end is boosted. The purpose of this process is to enhance playback, boost playback times, and reduce groove damage that can otherwise occur during playback.
RIAA equalization is not a low-pass filter. It has equalization points in three places; 2100 Hz, 500 Hz and 50 Hz . Implementing this characteristic is not especially difficult, but is more involved than a standard EQ filter. Nearly all hi-fi preamplifiers and receivers had a built-in phono preamplifier with the RIAA characteristic but not necessarily included in modern designs. Add-on phono preamplifiers with the RIAA equalization curve are available; these adapt a to an unbalanced ?10 dB consumer line level RCA input. Some modern turntables feature built-in RIAA standard pre-amplifiers. Special preamplifiers are also available for the various equalization curves used on pre-1954 records.
See RIAA Equalization.
Vinyl mastering is an additional cost of $20 per song. The files are delivered as .WAV or .AIFF, whichever the cutting plant requires. In some cases DDP files are required.