Mastering Engineer Mastering Engineer
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Mastering Engineer
Here are a few things you should think about when you're preparing your project.

Mix Until You Love It

The first tip is obvious, but so important. Mix until you love it! Listen in a few different environments, make sure it translates. Don't expect miracles from mastering. We're awesome, but we're not magicians.

Send MP3s To The Engineer

If possible, send mp3s to the mastering engineer when you start the mix process. Feedback at this stage can be critical in avoiding problems like over-compression, too much or too little bottom, buried vocals, mono-ish mixes, or unnoticed pops, clicks or hums. We're happy to provide this service at no charge to our clients.

Do Not Use Compression On The Master Buss

If you're taking home a ref from the mix room and want to slam it, that's fine, but when it comes time to send your files in for mastering, leave it off.

Chances are the mastering engineer has better tools for punch and loudness, so please don't paint him into a corner. There are occasions when a little bit of compression helps to glue a mix together, so if that's the situation you're in, go for it, but easy does it, leave a little headroom.

Print A "Vocal Up" And "Vocal Down" Version

If you have doubts about the level of the vocal, you can avoid stress by printing a "vocal up" and "vocal down" version. Then, you leave a nice option for the mastering engineer to choose the appropriate mix. Please don't overdo it with the alternates. Do your best to choose the right mix.

Work In The Highest Resolution

Work in the highest resolution available to you. If you're recording at 24 bit, 96k for example, bounce your tracks at the same sample rate / bit rate. The idea is to keep as much resolution as possible throughout the recording / mixing / mastering process.

Organize And Label Your Files

When you're ready for mastering, it's important to organize. Please type up the sequence of your record, with the correct spellings of your song titles. You can also include any notes you might have about your mixes. Things to watch out for, what kind of sound you were going for, problems or concerns. Anything that will help the mastering engineer get on the same page with you. If you have a concept for how much space you'd like between tracks, you can mention that too, though my experience has shown that a good mastering engineer is uniquely qualified in this department.

Take care to label your files and / or CDs / DVDs with accurate titles and notations so it's clear and simple for the mastering engineer to use the right mix. Check everything twice to avoid problems later.

Provide Samples

Feel free to provide samples or recommendations of other records you LOVE the sound of, provided they are relevant stylistically.

Acceptable Sources And File Types

We can work from almost any source. In general your best-sounding, most original, highest-resolution master is preferred.
  • Sample rates 44.1k, 48k, 88.2k, 96k, or 192k.
  • Bit rates of either 16 bits or 24 bits are ok.
  • WAV files, AIFF files, SD 2 files all ok
  • Dual Mono or Stereo-interleaved ok
  • Audio CDs ok
  • Data CDs / DVDs ok
  • DAT if you must
  • Analog tape ok (rental fee may apply)

ISRC Codes Help You Track Sales

You're going to want the mastering engineer to embed these identifiers onto your tracks. They will help you track digital sales. There is a one time fee of $75 to apply for your set of codes, then you can use them on all future projects.

This text is lifted right from the website where you get these important codes:

"ISRC, the International Standard Recording Code, is the internationally recognized identification tool for sound and music video recordings.

An ISRC uniquely and permanently identifies the recording to which it is assigned - regardless of the format on which it is used and independent of any changes in ownership.

ISRCs are increasingly being used by major download sites, digital distribution companies and collecting societies as a tool to manage digital repertoire and track commerce."

Learn About ISRC Codes Before Mastering

Here's the ISRC website:

Everything you need to know about these codes is explained on this site. It's important to take care of this before mastering, so that we can put the codes on your master. It could take a few days to secure your codes. This is the responsibility of the record label ( you, if you're putting your record out yourself).

We can't get the codes for you, only add them to your master.