"Chip Squeal" And Three Other Vinyl Record Abnormalities

The art of making a vinyl record is as much about what you don't do. Knowing the most common setbacks helps a mastering engineer keep it between the lines. Continue reading

Could Your Turntable Be Performing Better?

The sound quality of your turntable should be greater than the sum of its parts. Start by upgrading the cartridge and go from there. Continue reading

What Is The RIAA Curve?

Vinyl records don't just end up sounding good on their own. That's what standards and practices are for. Continue reading

Cutting Vinyl Records In Mono And Stereo

Wondering how records are actually made? As vinyl comes back into fashion, it's worth taking a look at the process with one of the biggest names in the biz. Continue reading

The Beautiful Experience Of Vinyl Records

Just because you can get an MP3 of every song ever written doesn't make it the perfect format. Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference. Continue reading

Vinyl Records: The Basics

With vinyl records making a big comeback, it's worth knowing a thing or two about where they came from and how they actually make sound. Continue reading

Vinyl, Through The Microscope Looking Glass

Scott Hull takes a microscopic look at the physical properties of vinyl records and the grooves that produce sound. Continue reading

Scott Hull On Mastering

World renown mastering engineer Scott Hull takes a look at mastering from the ten-thousand foot view. Continue reading

Mastering Steely Dan's Two Against Nature

Scott Hull talks about his time in the studio with Walter Becker and Donald Fagan mastering Steely Dan's Two Against Nature, for which he won a Grammy. Continue reading

What Does Your Music Say?

Mastering engineer Scott Hull offers advice on what to really consider about your music's sound during the recording and mastering process. Continue reading

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Nine

Scott chats with master cutting engineer, Tony Dawsey. This week I’d like you to hear from one of my master cutting engineers, Tony Dawsey. Tony, like myself, started mastering before there was digital recording of any kind. Well, we’re not that old. But at that time, everything we did was focused on producing the highest […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Seven

What’s the condition of your records? As consumers you know that the condition of the vinyl is very important in determining the quality of the playback. Tics and pops get much worse if the record isn’t stored right, or isn’t cleaned well. Sometimes visible scratches are audible and sometimes they aren’t. And sometime a good […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Six

Could your turntable could be performing better? If you’ve been following along this blog since week one, you now have a pretty good picture of how music gets recorded onto vinyl. This seems like a good time to talk about record players and especially phono cartridges. I won’t even try to tell you what turntable […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Five

What is the RIAA curve? The Recording Industry Association of America developed a standard playback equalization curve and required that all LP records and record players manufactured conform to this standard. You have probably noticed that you cannot take the audio plugs from your turntable and plug them into an ordinary line input connection on […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Four

One of the most sought after vinyl-cutting systems in the world is the nearly indestructible VMS-70 and VMS-80 cutting systems built by Neumann. The VMS-82 was the last of these produced. I’m thankful to say that we get to use our VMS-82 lathe every day to cut lacquers for clients around the globe. (Fig. 1) […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Three

As disk cutting engineers we are always looking at sound. We have a microscope mounted on the record cutting lathe and we use this scope to determine the quality of the cut and to diagnose problems when they occur. We can also measure the groove width and separation between the grooves. The space between the […]

What Does Your Music Say?

What does your music “say”? I find it interesting to allow the music to tell me what it needs. Here are a couple ways that I do that. I let the producer or artist describe their thoughts about their record to me. Who was it written for? How was it recorded? What are the ideals, […]

Ask the Engineer with Scott Hull: What Happened To My Vocal?

Today we’ve got a question from a reader about how her track was affected by mastering (at another facility). Scott Hull answers. Q: I had a song mastered and the vocals seemed to sound harsher, with a loss of ambience. Can this occur from the mastering? – Sherri A: Sherri, thanks for your email. The […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part Two

How do we listen to CDs and MP3s? We hear them in the car, while jogging, over computer speakers while we blog (as I am now, listening to yesterday’s mastering project, Dave Matthews), and from the tiny little ear buds plugged into our iPhones. How do we listen to records? We take the record out […]

Scott Hull on Vinyl, Part One

My name is Scott Hull — I’m the owner of Masterdisk studios in NYC. I’ve been mastering records and cutting lacquers since the early 80s. In advance of Record Store Day 2013 I will bring you a series of articles just about vinyl. A new one every week until RSD on Saturday, April 20, 2013. […]