Royal Wedding for Alchemy Mastering – It’s Official

Alchemy Mastering has been engaged by Decca Records to master two specialist formats of the official Royal Wedding recording.

Decca Records, part of Universal Music, will be recording and releasing The Royal Wedding – Official Album to be sold as a digital download, CD, Vinyl and Cassette tape within hours of the ceremony-taking place.

Barry Grint, Director of Mastering at the Alchemy Mastering studios, has been working with Decca for over ten years and most recently on a Hayley's Westenra project. Grint says “I’m absolutely thrilled to be working on such a historic recording and as the Royal Wedding is such a time sensitive project, I will be in charge of the mastering process for the vinyl and cassette tape formats as well as cutting the master lacquers and acetates for the vinyl release”.

Alchemy Mastering is one of the few leading cutting edge digital mastering services today that still has the rare knowledge and expertise of how to Master for the older release formats and with a discography that reads like the invitation list of the Grammy’s one can understand why.  In 27 years they have mastered 28 x No1’s and 101 x top five hits by diverse artists such as Paul McCartney, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, Oasis, Beach Boys, Pulp, Fleetwood Mac, REM, Paul Simon, Blur, Cliff Richard, Chaka Khan and Duran Duran. Recent talent includes Nicole Sherzinger, Jessie J, Enrique Iglesias and McFly.

Notes To Editors

  • To master a sound recording is to analyze and optimize that sound to present it in the best possible light on each release format.
  • The Final masters are created for each format online download, CD duplication, vinyl record and cassette.

Rough Guide to cutting and pressing vinyl record

1. To master a vinyl record is to first literally cut the groove into a “lacquer” which is essentially a 14” Aluminium disc coated with a soft lacquer coating. Vinyl discs have certain limitations, which require expertise to ensure the best possible quality. Mastering is the last creative process before manufacturing.

2. Barry Grint will quite often first recommend to his client the best possible “Side Splits”.  This is to identify how many tracks will be placed on either side A or side B of the vinyl.

3. Its generally best that both sides of a record are as close to being the same length as each other which then allows for both sides of the disc to be mastered at the best possible volume.

4. When the Barry Grint is ready to cut a lacquer. He will first conduct a test on what he calls a scrap lacquer. He cuts various sections of the mastered recording into a lacquer that will then be played back to check the quality and scrapped afterwards.

5. When a mastered lacquer has been cut, an acetate copy will usually be cut too which is made of the same materials but is slightly smaller in diameter than the mastered lacquer.  The acetate will be used later to compare the sound of the test pressing of the vinyl disc from the factory and that of the original mastered lacquer. If the test press vinyl sounds as good as the acetate lacquer then the main vinyl pressing begins.

Rough Guide to cassette tape duplication.

1. Once Barry Grint has identify the side splits for the cassette recording and has analyzed and optimized the recording as part of the mastering process, the mastered recording file will be sent to the cassette duplication plant.

2. The plant will create a tape copy which will then be transferred across to a loop bin master.  The loop bin master is essentially the master recording that plays around and around in a cycle. At the beginning and end of the loop tape are sound tones which the cassette loading mechanism recognises as being the beginning and end of the recording.

3. A “pancake” of tape is a huge real of tape that you would recognise being the type tape you’d find inside a small cassette.

4. The sound is copied from the loop bin master to the pancake repeatedly, until the pancake tape is full. Then the pancake is attached onto the cassette loading mechanism.

5. As the pancake is loaded into the cassette shell the tones are detectected by the cassette loading mechanism.

6. Once the tones are recognised the machine stops cuts the tape and seals it within the cassette shell.

7. The whole process continues with the loading mechanism loading from the pancake into the next cassette shell.

For further information please contact Rufus Stone T: 44 (0)20 7287 9601        


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