Hi-Res Digital Mastering
$75 per song (ideal for a commercial release)
OR $500 per album (10-14 songs)
Mastering is an essential step in the production of any professional song or album
A properly mastered album will sound good on whatever sound system you are listening through. Mastering a CD before it is pressed insures that the music will sound consistent with other commercial music. We offer two tiers of mastering. Our first tier is Hi-Res Digital Mastering, which is perfect for hi-res demos, shopping songs/ beats, mix-tapes and anyone on a tight budget. Our second tier is our Analogue Outboard Mastering, which we recommend for any and all commercial releases.
Tips on How to Set Up Your Recordings and Mixes for the Best Possible Results from Audio Mastering
In order to obtain the best possible quality from audio mastering, you need to start with a good recording. Here are some hints for preparing your recording or mix.
Please remove or at least reduce any master output compression/limiting/maximizing effects intended simply to boost the volume of your mix-downs. It seems everyone these days wants to make their sound louder and louder so they put as much compression as possible on the master output. Once you’ve done this, there’s nothing we can do in mastering to undo the compression side-effects. If you resist the urge to make it as loud as you can get it and let your mastering facility adjust your final track volumes then we can make it loud enough in a way that avoids the bad side-effects of strong master output compression and keeps more of a sense of natural dynamics and punchiness. True artists know that “loud music” does not necessarily equal “good music”. Concentrate on making a good, solid, clean mix and let us set the final track volume during mastering. Don’t worry – we’ll make sure your final volumes are consistent with the industry standard levels for your genre.
Watch for clipping
During recording AND mixing take the extra time to set proper gain without over-driving your recording system’s maximum levels. Also, be sure your final stereo audio mix-down isn’t clipping. If you’re unsure, set the overall levels so the maximum peaks are between -1dB and -3dB when creating your two-channel audio tracks. We’ll maximize the volume levels appropriately in the mastering process so don’t worry if it comes out a little quieter doing this.
Don’t overdo reverb and other effects
Reverb and other similar effects are nice for “smoothing out” some of the rough edges in your songs, but they also can make your songs sound muddy and the mastering process cannot completely undo excessive muddiness. When in doubt, lean toward cleaner and drier sounds versus more reverb. You can always request more fuller, deeper sound in the note pages included with the CD mastering order form and we’ll be happy to add a little of this effect for you.
Get rid of noise
The less hiss/hum/background noise we have to eliminate in the mastering process, the cleaner, fuller, and brighter your songs will be. Listen for noise bleeding into the mics during recording. Are fans running in the background? Are there fluorescent lights on? Planes, trains, cars, trucks running outside? Computer fans? Amps not grounded properly? Are you using correct cables and correct gain settings? Consider using noise gates and/or noise filtering on each track in a song. This will limit the total amount of noise in your final mix giving you a cleaner, stronger song for mastering.
Fade your dubs and clips
Don’t use mute or other sudden on/off methods in your mixes! If dubs or clips turn on and off suddenly within your song, there will more than likely be an audible click. It may be quiet in your version, but the mastered version is often much louder. We can certainly remove or reduce most clicks in the mastering process, but why take chances? Make it clean right from the start!
Don't sweat it!
In the case that you've followed all these hints to the best of your ability, but are still unsure about whether or not your mix is ready--no worries, we can help! Just send your track our way and we'll give you feedback. If mix adjustments are needed, we'll note them and make recommendations. These may be things you can easily attend to yourself. But if you feel more comfortable handing it over to the pros or if you simply wish to have a new set of ears attend to your mixes, let us know and we can quote you a mixing rate.