“Engineering and mixing are absolutely key.”
Many of us can recall similar events: you sit in the mastering studio, in awe of the studio and its gear, all the blinking lights and the engineer’s technical vocabulary, and you don’t really know what happens, until you take the master/s home.
Then you look at the bill, and next time you use an automated online mastering service. You get the master back and play it on your system and in your favorite bar and it doesn’t sound great.
We master every title in our studio. Masters are handcrafted for each individual song. This is a tried and tested formula: for references check out our clients page.
We have over 25 years of engineering experience.
You upload, and we will listen carefully and make notes, and tell you if slight changes would improve the mix, or if it would be better to do a stem master for a track/song. When you receive the master you can listen to it on your own system. Then you can decide if you want the one or other component to be adjusted with as many revisions as you want, until you are happy.
Mastering is the “master” art of engineering. It takes many years to learn. Engineers usually climb up the ranks from live- to recording- to mix-engineer to finally mastering-engineer – it is deemed the highest form of the four and some engineers still can’t contemplate the pure magic of it. The experienced engineer understands the mix, and its dynamics, he knows how audio physics work, and all the current sound altering technology with all its tricks: equipment and software. The combination of that is applied to the mix which is about to be released to the public. Mastering is the final step before release and it is used to iron out, what got lost in the prior processes. Discrepancies between elements and segments of the mix or between one mix and the other on an album; too much or too little dynamics; a boomy bass, a nasal vocal, too much high end or low end and the depth and stereo image will be addressed and rectified. The final audio edit process contains fade ins and outs and the right amount of spacing between tracks on an EP or an album and the correct loudness for the different release formats. The CD-text and the IRSC codes are embedded into the final master information and if wished a Redbook CDR, or a DDP, BIN and CUE information will be generated for the pressing plant.
Stems for mastering consist of “printed” or “bounced” grouped stereo files. The simplest form is an (1) INSTRUMENTAL and a (2) VOCAL version of the track to be mastered. But it can also be more detailed and separated out as e.g. (1) DRUMS, (2) BASS, (3) INSTRUMENTS, (4) VOCALS. All of the stems shall include each group’s relevant effect tracks. The advantage is not only that each stem can be treated or mastered separately before joining, but also, that for example the vocal level can be perfectly automated to sit just above the instruments without ever getting lost, or a kick drum that is inconsistent, can be made not to be lost in the electric bass or vice versa.
We make revisions until you are happy with the result. So far, this was rarely necessary and if, not more than one, to get it right. In some cases we make different style masters as options, when there are various plausible musical outcomes, so you can choose the best suitable way. It has not happened yet, but if you really don’t like it, you will get a refund.
We can make a short 1min version of a song part as a free sample to listen to, - useful - if you are a first time customer.
...We will always give you an exact estimate when we can get to it. For a stereo file master maximum one week from receiving the file to master-returned for example. But we might be busy. A 24 hr priority master is available for an additional cost per song: if it's more songs (5 songs stereo or 3 songs with stems) we can try to squeeze it into a 48 hour speedy master.
Via Paypal, you pay half in advance to start the mastering process, then you will get MP3 versions to listen. If you like what you hear, you pay the rest and the high quality WAV files will be uploaded to your own dropbox folder.