> Step by step
1. Cutting a virtual record in your DAW
1 We can preview what a track might sound like when transferred to vinyl by auditioning the mix through suitable processing. After dropping our Tutorial Files into a fresh 128bpm project, we load Waves’ Abbey Road Vinyl plugin on our master output. This plugin emulates the vinyl cutting and playback process. First, we’ll need to process our mix so that it’s ready to ‘cut’… 2 Controlling the high frequencies of our mix will give a clearer sound, with noticeably less playback distortion. We use TB Sibilance CM’s Mix De-Harshing preset on the track’s FX channel to soften the high-mid frequencies of our sweeps. After that, we place TB Sibilance CM on the Bass channel, then select the Male Voice De-Essing preset. This smoothens the bass out. 3 Next, we use DMG Audio’s Essence to de-ess our vocal above 4kHz, setting Ratio to 1.5:1 to take sharpness from the sound without overly dulling the voice. Next, we load DMG’s EQuilibrium on the stereo output (before Abbey Road Vinyl), then apply a 100Hz Elliptical high-pass filter to the Side channel. This removes out-of-phase sub-bass frequencies from the track’s stereo content. 4 We can hear the difference in sound between a lacquer/dubplate and pressed vinyl by tweaking Abbey Road Vinyl’s Generation setting – we choose Print for an authentic vinyl tone. Cycling through the Turntable and Cartridge modes auditions our virtual vinyl using audiophile or DJ-grade equipment. As our track is a dance banger, we choose DJ settings for both. 5 Pulling back Input gain to -1dB reduces drive into the virtual cutting head, giving us a cleaner sound. We clean the sound up even more by turning the Noise and Crackle amounts down to -6dB to make Vinyl’s background noise less obvious. The Phase Distortion control models tone-arm distortion on playback – we set this to -12dB in order to emulate a high-quality turntable. 6 To finish things off, we can automate the tone arm’s position in order to accurately emulate the loss of quality that happens as a record plays from start to finish. Add a new automation lane for the Tone Arm Position to your master output, then draw in a line from 0 at the beginning of the track that goes up to 100 at the end.