Antilounge 22 - Beats and Drones

Mastering for Vinyl and Streaming

Client

Antilounge Records

ANTILOUNGE 22 - a milestone release for Antilounge Records from The Hague, has a brilliant concept. Released as double vinyl, with beats on one record, and drones on the other, it allows for DJs to mix both records into their own combinations of both.

Since there are eight drones on the first record, and ten beat tracks on the other, at least 80 different mixes are possible right out of the box ­čÖé

Project

Mastering ANTILOUNGE 22 for vinyl and streaming

Antilounge 22 is released on both vinyl and all major music streaming portals, so Rocketclowns made two different masters, optimized for both media.

Two different masters, where the vinyl version posed some unique challenges.

Technically, digital masters allow you to do pretty much anything you want with your sound. As long as it sounds awesome, you don't true peak over 0dBFS, and your loudness is at least -14 LUFS - you don't want to sound quieter than Skrillex on Spotify - you're good to go.

Steaming services now bring down the level of all tracks to about -14 LUFS, but can't turn up quieter songs, because then, peaks would start to clip. In order be as loud as the others, the master needs to hit at least -14LUFS. Louder? No problem. Personally, I like the phat wall of sound of masters between -10 and -8LUFS, so that's what I went for.

Technology

Getting physical with vinyl

Vinyl, on the other hand, has some physical limitations - during the cutting process and during normal playback - that a vinyl master needs to account for:

  • masters that are very loud can cause the vinyl cutting head to overheat. The cutting engineer then needs to bring the entire level down to an acceptable level. That means that compression / limiting doesn't make a vinyl record much louder. We decided to preserve most dynamics in the vinyl master instead.
  • Strong sub bass or bass that is not in phase can cause the stylus to jump out of the groove during playback. Our vinyl master is mono under 200 Hz, and we put a High Pass Filter around 30Hz on all tracks.
  • Finding a┬áHigh Pass Filter that didn't introduce any unwanted artifacts was next on our list. We ended up using Butterworth filters that are┬ádesigned to have a frequency response as flat as possible in the passband.

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