- How should I prepare my song for mastering?
- Should I apply fades to the mixes myself, or leave this to the mastering engineer?
- Will I receive an audio CD or DDP with my album?
- Do you master for vinyl?
- Do you master for mp3 or other digital file formats?
- I would like to attend the mastering session, is this possible?
- Can I hear some demos of your work?
- What Equipment do you use?
- What if I am not happy with how it sounds?
- Is your server secure?
- Can you make my track sound loud?
Any other questions?
Here are some useful links
How should I prepare my song for mastering?
The best format to send a song in for mastering is 24 Bit (or higher) wav, at whatever sample rate the project is set to. Please don’t do any sample rate conversion!
It doesn't matter where the track peaks, as long as there is no clipping.
Preferably there would be no processing applied to the master. This includes EQ, dither, stereo widening, compression and limiting. If you feel you have used compression for instance to achieve a desired effect or sound, then it's best to send in two versions, one with the processing applied and one without.
Before uploading, it's best to put track(s) in a zip or rar file first. This acts like a wrapping paper for the file. Although rare, data sometimes gets lost during uploading and downloading on the internet. If this happens to a zip or a rar file it won’t open, so it is immediately obvious that data has been lost. Putting the file in a rar or zip folder will not affect the original file in any way.
Should I apply fades to the mixes myself, or leave this to the mastering engineer?
It’s usually best to leave this to the mastering engineer, just let him know which tracks and where you would like the fades to begin, or you can leave it up to him to decide.
Will I receive an audio CD or DDP with my album?
Yes if you request one. It is £10 on top of the album mastering for UK CD delivery or DDP and £15 for CD delivery overseas. A DDP is a file that many CD replication companies now prefer to audio CD which contains all the mastered tracks as well as start stop times, gaps between tracks and any additional info such as CD text and ISRC codes.
Do you master for vinyl?
Yes we do! Please get in touch for more details.
Do you master for mp3 or other digital file formats?
Yes we do! The mastering process is the same as for CD, but we are able to provide the best conversion to mp3 or any other file format in the industry, just let us know BEFORE the mastering process what formats you will require.
I would like to attend the mastering session, is this possible?
Of course, we love the company! Just drop us an email and we’ll book you in.
Can I hear some demos of your work?
Yes, just click here or use the link on the Mastering Engineer page.
What Equipment do you use?
Our equipment does change over time as we add new and change new gear. Currently we use Cranesong HEDD 192, Manley Vari-Mu, Dangerous Bax EQ, UAD 2, Klein and Hummel 0300 and 0800, SPL 2control, Sennheiser HD650, Custom Built Mastering EQ, RME HDSPe, and a range of plugins and editing software, including but not limited to: Izotope, Plextor, Wave Editer and Sample Manager, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Voxengo, Sonalksis, Brainworx, Flux, Waves and many more.
What if I am not happy with how it sounds?
We will work on the track until you are 100% happy. To this day we have not had a client who was not completely satisfied with their final master.
Is your server secure?
Our server is 100% secure, the only people that will hear the tracks are you and the mastering engineer. We can even create password protected download links if needs be.
Can you make my track sound loud?
In short, yes we can! We have special methods for producing extremely hot and loud sounding masters. But before you ask us to utilize these devilish powers, please have a read through the following information:
The definition of loud is somewhat controversial these days. Some tracks will appear to sound louder next to others. There are too main reasons for this. One is that our ears are more sensitive to certain frequencies; the other is that by reducing dynamic range in a track, the overall loudness can be perceived as higher, even though the peak values will never exceed 0dbfs in the digital realm. Many record labels and management companies are asking mastering engineers to push their tracks to make them appear as loud as possible in the belief that ‘loud’ records will sell more.
However, extreme loudness can often come at a price to the music. The loss of dynamic range can make impact disappear, creating a wall of sound with little transient detail. Genres such as dance, hip hop and rock music which often need to be punchy can be affected negatively by trying to push the tracks too far. Unwanted distortion caused by not planning a loud record from the onset can also make the tracks sound brittle and, at lower levels actually makes the track sound weaker! It should also be noted that tracks that are mastered loud will not appear any louder on the radio due to the stations own ‘mastering’ chain. In fact, tracks with little dynamic range often sound weak and somewhat flat on the radio when played next to more dynamic and punchy music.
We understand the need for your music to not sound weak next to other commercial recordings, but we do advise you to approach this topic with caution. We are offering clients who are after a very loud master the chance to receive a more dynamic master for only £10 extra. This allows you to compare the two tracks and hear the different ways in which the audio behaves and whether it is best for the music.
If you do think you need a very loud, competitive record, to get the best results the track should be designed with loudness in mind from the onset. A well balanced, clean and controlled mixed allows various processes in mastering to be achieved whilst maintaining a clear, upfront sound. Arrangement, recording and mixing all have an impact on how loud the record can eventually become. Busy or dense mixes with a lot of instrument parts will usually start to produce negative artefacts much before a clean, sparse mix with an upfront vocal will. Hi pass filters on instruments or busses that are eating up unwanted headroom can be useful in cleaning up the mix, as well as EQing reverbs and delays (but be careful not to make your mix sound thin.) Maintaining a steady level throughout the mix is useful when creating a loud record (although choruses may no longer have as much impact) as is careful use of bus compression.
It’s completely up to you how loud you would like us to master your record, just remember, every single audio player out there has a volume control!