Audio mastering is the final stage of music production. It enhances the overall dynamics, sound and feel of your music, ensuring consistency from single-to-single and ultimately across your entire album while preparing it for distribution.
PROCESS & TOYS
When it comes to Stereo Mastering, ATMOS ‘Spatial Audio’, or Cutting Lacquer Masters for Manufacturing, the process remains the same: provide quality service with a superior product in a timely fashion. And we do so by utilizing a diverse range of toys.
Upon entering the studio, you are greeted by a fully refurbished Neumann VMS 70 Lathe with a 74b rack of amplifiers and a Pitch 13 pitch computer. It’s a fascinating example of German engineering and has been used to cut lacquer masters for artists ranging from Ozzy Osbourne and AC/DC to Billie Eilish and the Weeknd.
What is Mastering?
How should I prepare my mixes for mastering?
For best results, send 24 or 32bit stereo WAVs. Any amount of headroom will work, as long as it’s below 0dB and there is no clipping present. If you have anything on your master bus that is only there to make it loud, please include an additional version with that bypassed – this way, we can hear what you’ve been listening to but also have enough room to work.
Can I send a limited/compressed reference of my song?
Absolutely! If you have a limiter/compresser on your stereo bus to make it loud in the studio, please feel free to include a version along with your unlimited mix so that your engineer can also hear what you’ve been listening to in the studio.
The difference between a Main Pass and an Alternate Pass?
Your main pass is exactly what it sounds like–the version that you will upload to the digital streaming platforms, manufacture onto CDs, or press into vinyl. Alternate “Alt” passes are a variation of the main minus an element or more (ie: clean edit, instrumental, acapella, tv/performance track, etc.). Alts are typically used for radio (if your main has curse words), promotion, performance, or remixes.
Once we have your file(s), you will typically have your master(s) within 2 to 3 business days, as long as your invoice is paid in full.
How do revisions work?
Should you have any requests once you have received/listened to your master(s), simply shoot us and email and we’ll make room for your revisions at no charge. The only time we charge additional fees is when you send a revised mix to be run through the same mastering settings. We treat revised mixes such as these the same as alternate passes, which covers the time required to process the new file for mastering. Note: should a revised mix be so different from the original mix that your engineer has to start over from scratch, the fee incurred will be the same as a new mix.
I don’t like my mix. Can mastering fix that?
The short answer is: No. If there are elements in your mix that you don’t like, mastering may ultimately make them more obvious. Before you master anything, you first need to be 100% happy with your mix as is.
Can you master from stems, if I don’t like my mix?
You can, but please make sure when your stems are played together they exactly replicate your stereo mix. If you’d like your track mastered from stems, please contact our studio manager.
I want to cut my album onto vinyl, how does this work?
Provided one of our engineers mastered your album, once everything is approved, we will ask you for side splits, a scribe number, and the company/contact information where we will be shipping your lacquers for manufacturing. Something to keep in mind is that since the process of vinyl requires physical products, the turnaround is much longer once your lacquers leave our hands and arrive with your plant. See our Vinyl page to learn more about this process.
I booked via website. How do I send revised or additional mixes?
Email our studio manager with a link to the proper file(s) that need mastering; reference the artist name, song name, and any details that clarify what you are sending. Do NOT book the project again. Contact our Studio Manager, Michael Leedy, at email@example.com. You are welcome to send files however you prefer; if you need a transfer method, we recommend the free version of WeTransfer.