Frequently Asked Questions
Preparing For Mixing
1. Please make sure that ALL audio files are included within your session. Although all the audio files show up when you open the session on your computer that does not mean that the files are in the correct location (if you are using Pro Tools it is the Audio Files Folder). Tip: Try opening the session on a different computer than the one you have been recording with. This will tell you right away if any audio files are missing. Nothing halts a mixing session quicker than missing tracks!
2. If you use a different Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) other than Pro Tools, send us each individual track in the session in separate .Wav files. Make sure that all of the files start at the exact same time in your session. Consolidating each file starting at the beginning of the session will ensure that all audio tracks line up correctly together. Make sure that the sample rate and bit depths are the same you recorded them at. This is not the time to convert the files down to 16 bit/44.1kHz. For example, if you recorded you audio at 24 bit/96khz, the files that you send to us should also be 24 bit/96kHz. These are details that we can work out when we discuss your project.
3. Please make sure that any edits you have made to your audio are clean and do not contain any clicks or pops. Use a cross fade to get rid of any clicks and pops!
4. If you have a specific effect that you have created with an FX processor or a plug-in, please print (record) the effect into the session. Don't assume that we have all of the same processors or plug-ins.
5. If you have a specific blend of instruments, such as an orchestral section or horn section that you prefer to be kept as is in the mix, please print that blend of instruments to a stereo audio track. Please also include individual tracks so that adjustments can be made if necessary.
Preparing For Mastering
Sounding good on the way in translates to sounding even better on the way out. That’s the rule of thumb in music production, and the mastering phase is certainly no exception to this rule. To get the best results for your product, please ensure that your final mixes are properly prepared before you submit them for mastering.
Below are some things to listen for before sending in your final mixes for our mastering service
1.) Peak levels and headroom: Please leave us enough room to work. Check all of your busses and make sure no meters are peaking. Your master buss should peak between -6db and -3db. Also make sure there are no limiters and only mild compression on your master buss if necessary. If the delivered mixes are already heavily limited and running right close to 0dBFS, there is MUCH less that can be accomplished in the mastering phase to correct any problems that may exist
2.) Vocal sibilance: This is one of the issues commonly dealt with during audio mastering, but even with powerful mastering tools, attempts to reduce vocal sibilance will often affect other elements in a mix. Make sure all "SSSS", "SH", and "CH" sounds are properly altered in your mix so that your master will have the clarity and presence it deserves
3.) Final reviews and second opinion: Listen to your final mixes on multiple systems prior to submitting your tracks from mastering. Listen very carefully for any glitches, or undesired sounds that may have occurred during the tracking or mixing phase. Get a second opinion from a music friend or trusted producer that pays close attention to detail. Sometimes a small defect from a mix will become more distinct after the levels are turned up in the mastering phase
What Is Mastering?
We all know that the hit songs we listen to, whether they are from purchased albums or on the radio, are recorded and mixed in studios and then distributed to the world. But in between these two main processes is another process, which is as important and vital in creating top-quality productions. This step is called mastering. It is the final step after recording and mixing before distribution.
What exactly is “mastering”?
The process of mastering involves the improvement of your audio track overall, including EQ and other enhancements. With that being said, your audio tracks will be given maximum clarity and volume, as well as balance and depth. This is also the stage where the archive copy is created. The master copy is the copy sent to manufacturing companies for duplication and reproduction, while the archive copy is sent back to the recording studio for archiving. After which, your albums will be out in the market, ready for competition against other commercially released albums and records.
Why is mastering that important?
With the ever-growing population of artists and producers in the music industry, your competition is increasing exponentially. Working as an artist or producer, especially independently, you do not want to jump in that pool with incomplete tracks. You must have your pieces enhanced to their fullest potential. Mastering works to give your product the necessary edge to surpass the competition.
So what's it all mean?
When an artist or band records several songs, they generally record one song at a time. The resulting variety of outputting levels, volumes and EQ’s requires mastering. A skilled Mastering Engineer can push your project to new heights. They maximize track dynamics, EQ, depth, punch, compression, enhance detail, and edit spacing between tracks on your album, giving the sound and volume throughout its playlist continuity. Without this step, your songs may sound poor and unprepared as a body of work.
Our engineers ensure that the mixing characteristics utilized match your style or genre of music and match them as needed. With mastering completed, a good song can become a hit record, and a good album can become an excellent one. The skillful mastery of your tracks provides a more professional feel, whether they are recorded at home or in high-end studios. Consider CD mastering for your project, as it can produce that punch your albums need for a higher probability of success.