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Author Topic: Are cutting levels the same across different sides of the same record?  (Read 837 times)


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A question about general vinyl mastering practices:

Are cutting levels held constant over different sides of the same album - even if the album is split up across multiple discs - or is the cutting level typically boosted to use up all the space on the disc? ie, with the expectation that the listener will adjust the volume accordingly?

I ask because I'm needledropping a lot of opera vinyl lately, and I'm a little worried on some records that the levels across entire sides look lower than they ought to be.


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Re: Are cutting levels the same across different sides of the same record?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2008, 05:06:11 pm »

In general with 12" singles aimed at DJ's I found clients wanted maximum level possible for each side and did not care whether there was minor level differences between the two.

With LP's however generally the cutting level would be set to be more consistent between the two sides so that the listener would not feel obligated to change volume settings on their playback systems after flipping the side.  

A possible exception to this could certainly be made if one side was very long to the point where signal to noise ratio was not all that satisfactory while another side was significantly shorter so that levels could be cut at a much better level.  In this case it would make sense not to drop the level of the shorter side as much.

Anyway - a simple instruction made to the cutting engineer regarding this issue when you place an order should suffice to have things turn out the way you wish them (i.e. ask for each side's cutting level kept consistent - or ask for each side to be cut at maximum level for the particular side).

Best regards,
Steve Berson
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