WHAT is MASTERING?
The average music listener may not know what digital audio mastering is exactly, but they'll sure be able to tell the difference between a track that has been mastered, and one that hasn't. Without having your music mastered, you run the risk of fans and/or industry professionals not taking you seriously. For most of us artists and musicians, our music is our baby... make sure it sounds it's best before you deliver it to the world to hear!
Who is mastering for?
Digital mastering is ideal for those who want to make their music sound it's absolute best - to add that extra magic to it, elevate the volume to industry standards without sonic distortion or peaks, and give it a more robust and exciting quality of sound! After you have your songs mixed properly, getting your album, EP or demo mastered is the right choice prior to making it available for digital download, CD duplication or online. So whether you're the artist, producer, manager or mixing engineer, getting music mastered is right for you.
It takes Pro Tools, pro experience, and other mastering software to accomplish this ...and we've got what it takes at ATL Sound Studio to get the job done right!
OUR MASTERING PROCESS
- You send us your audio in stereo format (see "What to Send Us").
- We will send you a questionaire to gain a better understanding of what your mastering goals are. At this time, we will also request extra details for your song's digital file metadata.
- A sound engineer (not an algorithm) evaluates your audio utilizing industry-leading tools and experience to master your mix, focusing in the following areas:
- Equalization to cut or boost areas in you audio where needed to bring tonal balance to your mix
- Compression to add color and help glue your mix together as needed
- Loudness Analysis to maximize volume transparently to around -9 to -8 LUFS (+/- depending on your loudness preference) to meet CD quality loudness standards
- Magic by utilizing mastering tools to add tone and brilliance to your mix to help it stand out from the crowd
- Once ready (typically within 48 hours), you will receive three 90-second mp3 master review clips to choose from, as well as an invoice via PayPal. Note: for larger projects, a 50% non-refundable down payment may be required before we start work.
- Once payment is confirmed and selection is made, the mastered songs will be delivered .wav & .mp3 formats within 24 hours online via WeTransfer.
Note on End Product: Each song will be set at a 44.1 khz sample rate and a 16 bit sample size while lossy files (like .mp3) will be encoded with an average bit rate of 256kbps (unless other format requested). We provide a .wav & .mp3 file for each song mastered, but can also provide AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless or AAC formats, as well as other export parameters, upon request.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that we can only work with what audio you've provided us and that some errors may be unrepairable, such as distortion or skips.
What to send us
- In order for us to work our magic on your song, the song(s) to be mastered should each be sent to us in a single stereo audio file (preferably .wav, but .mp3 or .m4a is acceptable). If you have the capability to control the output of the mix, we recommend to NOT apply a limiter or compression to the overall mix and keep the peak below -5dB so that there is plenty of headroom for the mastering.
- Please do not send us multitracks or stems for mastering.
- Songs should be fully mixed prior to mastering.
- [Optional] If you have a popular song that you love the way it sounds and you'd like us to reference that during the mastering process to aim for similar EQ, dynamics and loudness, include that as well (in .wav, .mp3 or .m4a format only). If you don't have the file, at least tell us the song artist/title.
From there, we'll work our magic. The good news is, you don't pay until you hear the results for yourself!