WHAT IS MASTERING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Mastering is the final step in the audio chain, our job is to make sure the audio translates well across the required formats whether CD, vinyl or digital formats. Mastering is a two way relationship, not only does the audio need to translate well across the various mediums, but you also need to be happy with the sound, and in some cases, a compromise needs to be found between these two factors.
When submitting mixes for mastering, we require audio in either WAV or AIFF format, please ensure that the sample rate is the same as the mixing project to ensure no sample rate conversions, along with a bit depth of either 32bit or 24bit. Please ensure that no dithering is selected and there is no brick wall limiting. Audio must be submitted online to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See below for how this process works.
YOU SEND US MIXES
Send your digital files online via wetransfer.com or alternative.
WE GET TO WORK
We start the mastering process and then send you audio to hear via email.
You get 4 revisions, you tell us your thoughts, we tweak until you are happy.
WE SUPPLY MASTERS
You receive your masters digitally online in whatever format/s you require.
MASTERING FOR CD AND ONLINE STREAMING
In this day and age, digital online streaming is fast becoming a regular source of music, whether Spotify, iTunes, Youtube, Soundcloud etc. Each of these platforms have their own specifications and adjust your audio to fit their own sound normalisation levels, so it is advisable to get a specific master for these platforms for optimum results whether LUFS levels, dynamics or mono compatibility.
If mastering for CD you will receive your masters as WAVs at 44.1khz, 16bit and they will be assembled to industry standard suppling a DDP (Disc Description Protocol) fileset, with CD text and ISRCs embedded (if requested). For online platforms we can work with whatever sample rate and bit depth you require.
If you are unsure about any of this, always feel free to ask questions and we can advise on what would be the best options.
MASTERING FOR VINYL AND DUBPLATE
Mastering for vinyl is a carefully planned process to get the audio ready to be pressed on wax or polyvinyl. Unlike CD or digital mastering, many factors must be accommodated to ensure a clean and loud cut. For example, unlike in the digital domain, brick wall limiting can be detrimental to the cutting process, in extreme cases causing ‘groove distortion’ and skipping on playback and you can end up with a much quieter cut to rectify the problems incurred from heavy limiting (if at all possible). Other factors like audio length, sibilance, high frequencies, low end phase and more need to be take into account for vinyl mastering and cutting, please see our F.A.Q. section for more details on this.
Unlike the digital domain, audio for vinyl has no limitations in terms of sample rate and bit depth. For this, we work at 96khz, 32bit using the highest quality algorithms possible from Weiss and Izotope for all conversions.
When you receive your vinyl masters, the overall volume will be a lot quieter than CD or digital masters, due to none, or very little limiting and leaving headroom for the cutting engineer to work with the audio properly to ensure the best possible translation onto vinyl. It is at this stage that the cutting engineer at the pressing plant will bring the volume up to the highest volume possible. The reason we are saying this is because often people will receive vinyl masters and be confused as to why they are so much quieter, it is that way for good reason.
For vinyl you will receive the audio in WAV format at the highest sample rate and bit depth possible along with a cue sheet if applicable.