Preparing for your Mastering

These Steps are important to your final Master.

For best results bounce down (export) your mixes as stereo interleaved .wav or .aiff files. Choose a bit depth and sample rate comparable to the resolution settings you used when doing recording and mixing. So, for example, if you did your recording and mixing at 16-bit/44.1kHz then you should provide us with a stereo .wav or .aiff file at 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution. As another example, if you did your recording and mixing at 24-bit/48kHz then you should provide us with a stereo .wav or .aiff file at 24-bit/48kHz for mastering.

Don’t send us .mp3, .m4a, or .wma files for mastering as these file types have reduced frequency spectra and won’t produce the best quality results.

Don’t Over Compress!!

Please remove any Master (“main”) Output compression/limiting/maximizing effects intended simply to boost the volume of your mixdowns. It seems everyone these days wants to make their sound louder and louder so they put as much compression as possible on the master output. Once you’ve done this, there’s nothing we can do in mastering to undo the compression side effects. If you resist the urge to make it as loud as you can get it and let your mastering facility adjust your final track volumes then we can make it loud enough in a way that avoids the bad side-effects of strong master output compression and keeps more of a sense of natural dynamics and punchiness. True artists know that loud music does not necessarily equal good music. Concentrate on making a good, solid, clean mix and let us set the final track volume during mastering. Don’t worry – we’ll make sure your final volumes are consistent with the industry standard levels for your genre. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT FILES THAT HAVE ANY PROCESSING ON THE FINAL MIX YOU SEND FOR MASTERING! PLEASE BOUNCE YOUR MIXES DRY! (NO EFFECTS ON THE MASTER BUSS PLEASE)

Watch for volume level clipping.

During recording AND mixing take the extra time to set proper gain without overdriving your recording system’s maximum levels. Also, be sure your final stereo audio mixdown isn’t clipping. If you’re unsure, set the master output level to -6dB, or even lower if necessary, so that the maximum master volume level peaks are between -4dB and -6dB. We will maximize the volume levels appropriately in the mastering process, so don’t worry if it comes out a little quieter doing this. Once digital audio data is clipped it can’t be recovered. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT A PROJECT IF ITS CLIPPING BEFORE WE START MASTERING!

Don’t overdo reverb and other effects.

Reverb and other similar effects are nice for smoothing out some of the rough edges in your songs, but they also can make your songs sound muddy and the mastering process cannot completely undo excessive muddiness. When in doubt, lean toward cleaner and drier sounds versus more reverb. For the master output it’s better to either completely avoid effects.  (NO EFFECTS ON THE MASTER BUSS PLEASE)

Get rid of noise.

The less hiss/hum/background noise we have to eliminate in the mastering process, the cleaner, fuller, and brighter your songs will be. Watch open mics during recording. Are fans running in the background? Are there fluorescent lights on? Planes, trains, cars, trucks running outside? Computer fans? Amps not grounded properly? Using correct cables and correct gain settings? Consider using noise gates and/or noise filtering on each track in a song. This will limit the total amount of noise in your final mix giving you a cleaner, stronger song for mastering.

Fade your dubs and clips.

Don’t use mute or other sudden on/off in your mixes! If dubs or clips turn on and off suddenly within your song, there will more than likely be an audible click. It may be quiet in your version, but the mastered version is often much louder. We can certainly remove or reduce most clicks in the mastering process, but why take chances? Make it clean right from the start!


QUESTIONS? We are always here to help

+81 – 90- 4267 – 7428



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