Vinyl Mastering Timing Guidelines
Below is a list of suggested vinyl side lengths for various vinyl sizes, playback speeds, and sound quality expectations. These are generalizations to some degree and you should also read THIS page for more detailed info on how to make sure your vinyl release sounds as great as it possibly can.
Despite these suggested times, the audio quality of your vinyl also depends on the nature of the performances, recording, mixing, digital mastering, the audio content, and who does the actual cutting, plating, and pressing work. It’s not as simple as making CDs.
Thanks to Paul Gold at Salt Mastering for letting me repurpose this info from his website.
Vinyl Side Lengths at 33 1/3 RPM
- 10:00—12:00 = Excellent
- 12:00—19:00 = Very Good
- 19:00—22:00 = Good
- 22:00—24:00 = Fair
- 24:00+ = Not Recommended, due to quality trade-offs
- 0:00—12:00 = Good
- 0:00—7:00 = Not Recommended, due to quality trade-offs
Vinyl Side Lengths at 45 RPM
- 7:00—10:00 = Excellent
- 10:00—13:00 = Very Good
- 13:00—15:00 = Good
- 0:00—9:00 = Good
- 3:00—3:30 = Excellent
- 3:30—4:00 = Good
- 4:00—4:30 = Fair
- 4:30+ = Not Recommended, due to quality trade-offs
In addition to THIS page which is also linked above, you can also check out this helpful article I wrote for The Pro Audio Files on the importance of lacquer cutting for vinyl. This may help you as you plan your project as you proceed in producing vinyl.The Importance of Lacquer Cutting for Vinyl