What is mastering?
In short, mastering is the final preparation of a song or an album before it is released for distribution and serves as the final stage of quality control and processing by a specialized sound engineer.
What will my songs sound like after they are mastered?
Every song will sound different. The goal of mastering is to further enhance the sonic aspect and the emotion of the music and make sure that everything corresponds to today’s standards. Files will be returned after mastering dithered and down- or up-sampled to the sampling rate deemed appropriate by the engineer for the project at hand, unless otherwise requested.
What is stem mastering?
Stem mastering is the process of mastering where the engineer has access to multiple consolidated groups of instruments (i.e. “busses” or just “groups”) and can further level match or edit these, if necessary. This gives the engineer more options and can ultimately yield better results if more instrument specific processing or balancing is necessary.
How to prepare stems for stem mastering?
We find that creating groups containing the vocals, the bass instruments, the drums and the remaining instruments is ideal. Please include a reference bounce of the final mix so that we can check that the stems are complete.
How should I prepare my mix before mastering?
First of all, you want to make sure that the highest peak is hitting -6dB or less before exporting your mix from your DAW software. This ensures that the material is not distorted because of digital clipping and will give us headroom to work the magic. Second, you'll want to remove any pre-mastering processing from the master. At this stage, the overall volume should be apparently low. it will be raised during the mastering process. Third, please make sure that you export a high-resolution .wav or .aiff file. Ideally, you'll want to export at the sample rate which the project was mixed at and at 32 bit floating point or 24 bit dithered bit depth. We can master using lossy audio formats or sound from video, if necessary, however you will get a noticeably better final product when a high resolution file is sent for mastering. As a last step, please check the rendered file for clicks and pops before sending it.
Do you offer discounts for full albums or EPs?
Yes. Our rates per song vary depending on the number of songs that are submitted. Please see the rates for more information.
How long will it take before my song(s) are finished?
Please see our rates for information on current turnaround times.
Can you pre-master for vinyl?
Yes, be sure to let us know that the record is going to be cut to vinyl or a different medium as there are certain changes that need to be made in order to get the best quality of sound.
Do you offer a free sample master?
Due to scheduling constraints we cannot offer free sample masters. We do guarantee you'll be happy with your mastered audio. Be sure to contact us about any special requests you might have.