Ready to Master?
Save yourself time, budget, and hassle by following the steps below before you send files to your mastering engineer. Any questions, we are here to help.
I. FIX THESE ISSUES IN THE MIX BEFORE MASTERING
NOISE. Noise is anything that is bothering you...hiss, buzz, click, crackle, dropouts, booms, sibilance, phase, interference, etc. Fix these in the mix if you can.
SOUNDS THAT STICK OUT. Harsh cymbals, vocal sibilance, biting sound effects, may be hard to help in mastering without adversely affecting the whole mix.
WAVY GRAVY. Deal with any tracks lacking CONSISTENCY. We can't do much for tracks that have inconsistent volume throughout the song. Especially important for vocals, keep those levels consistent but not overcompressed.
FADES OR WEIRD GAIN SHIFTS may be impossible to fix in mastering. Be sure you're happy with these before your tracks go to mastering
II. PREPARE YOUR EXPORT
REMOVE ALL FADES from start and end of track (if you want us to recreate these for you at higher resolution).
REMOVE *ALL* MASTER BUS PLUG-INS. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Also be sure that no meters are peaking red. Do not worry about loudness as long as nothing is in the red. We will take care of loudness for you.
CONSIDER REMOVING OTHER PLUGINS. You may also want to rethink the plugins on your track and and group channels (especially general compression plugins) which we will dial in for you. Generally, get the tones you want in the mix, but give us an overly dynamic mix and we can punch it up nicely for you. So dial-back those plugins! PLEASE contact us with any concerns BEFORE you export your files.
EXPORT a realtime bounce at 32-bit in stereo at the native project sample rate. DO NOT RESAMPLE / UPSAMPLE YOUR PROJECT TO HIGHER SAMPLE RATE! It does NOT provide any extra fidelity. Keep tracks at whatever their sample rate was when you recorded it (e.g. 44.1kHz). Conversions will only damage the audio.
DOUBLE-CHECK that the exported files are stereo, 32-bit, at the native sample rate of your session (e.g. 44.1kHz) and have all instruments represented.
REFERENCES. Provide us with 1-3 commercial songs and tell us what you like about each. Include any roughs, premixes, etc. that may help us see your vision more clearly.
ALBUMS/EPs. When we are mixing more than one song for you, please submit them together if possible before we begin, so we get a sense of the whole body of work.
III. MASTERING FROM STEMS
If you are unsure about the balances in your mix, you can choose to give us stems (instrument group outputs) instead of a stereo mix. There's an extra fee to master from stems. The benefit is having us achieve your final overall balances in an accurate room, with fresh ears.
Generally, your stem tracks should have NO plug-in processing and they should maintain a consistent level throughout a song section.
TIP: Watch your effects routing! Example: all send effects on the drums should go to the drum group, and likewise for every group.
Feel free to contact us before sending us stems.