WHAT IS MASTERING?
Mastering is the very last step in the creative process of audio production. It happens after the final mix(es) has been approved and before the actual duplication and/or distribution of the final product. Normally, audio mastering consists of tonally balancing, sequencing and transferring your source audio to the final distribution medium (CD, mp3, etc).
Ok, so what does this really mean? Everything begins with a mix review and consultation (free), to determine your needs and to answer any questions you may have. The actual mastering sessions start with (myself) listening to the source audio (your music) in an acoustically-neutral environment and then processing it to sound as good as possible, using specialized analog and digital mastering tools.
I also put songs in the correct order, volume-matched and balanced, so that it sounds “like an album” and then create master copies that have all the correct metadata that both the duplication company and digital distribution sites will need. I can also do transfers and mastering from vinyl and analog cassette tape. In this age of mp3s, super-loud mastering and the resurgence of vinyl; I am well aware of the modern-day mastering “do’s”, “dont’s” (and everywhere in between).
My number-one goal is making sure that the audio is as spectacular as it can be and that every client is 100% satisfied.
HOW IS IT DONE?
I work extremely hard to make the mastering process as easy as possible. After reviewing your mixes and discussing your needs, I will set to work on it at the “North City Suite”, using a custom mastering setup.
Some mastering studios claim to have a particular sound or musical specialty, but our sound and style changes with your needs and sonic goals. Some projects require a large amount of processing (both analog and digital) in order to accomplish these goals, yet others simply require a second set of ears and minimal sonic sculpting. My room, gear and skills are constantly being upgraded and expanded, but if you’re curious what I use to process and inspect your audio, here is the- Gear List.
Typical things that can happen during the mastering process include, but are not limited to:
-critical evaluation of the source material on high resolution equipment
-changing or enhancing the frequency spectrum (EQ)
-changing or enhancing the macro and micro-dynamics (Compression, Expansion, etc.)
-matching the “sound” of songs across an album, including overall volume
-noise reduction; cleanup of unwanted clicks, pops and buzzes
-adjusting the track spacing, titles and metadata (CD Text, etc.)
-converting between analog and digital, multiple file formats (.wav, .mp3, .m4a)
-consistent, clear and communication with the clients at all steps
WHAT DOES IT COST?
.wav files include 16 bit/44.1khz (CD resolution) and 24 bit/96khz (Hi-Res) versions
.mp3 files are properly-encoded, with metadata, at 320mbps CBR (or as specified)
Revisions are typically included (ask for details)…
$10/TRACK for radio edits/instrumental versions
$10/TRACK for additional file types/versions
I offer the option of creating “loud”, for-vinyl and/or “dynamic” versions for different markets and purposes.
$10 to register your masters with iTunes and other Gracenote Database media services.