What is Mastering?

Mastering is the last step in the creation process before your music goes out into the digital world or the last step before your music goes to manufacturing (CD, Vinyl, etc.). Mastering is not only about making your music sound loud. Mastering is making final adjustments to your mix and making your EP or Album sound cohesive. Good mastering ensures your music sounds its best on the highest fidelity sound system to the lowest quality earbuds.

What’s the difference between Stereo and Stem Mastering?

With traditional stereo mastering, we are working with the final two channel, stereo mix of your song. From that file, we are making adjustments to the song as a whole. We are not able to make adjustments to the individual parts of the song (bass, drums, etc.)

With stem mastering, you supply individual parts (bass, drums, vocals, etc.) and we create a master from the individual stems. Usually, stem mastering is from up to 8 tracks or individual parts.

Do I need Mastering? My friend on Facebook said they could do it for free.

I get this a lot. My answer is to ask the question, are you passionate about your music?

If you’re passionate about your music, you’ve spent a lot of time in the creative process. Whether it’s with your team of band mates or your team of collaborators, you’ve spent a lot of time on your art.

When it comes to finishing your art to release into the world, would you rather ask someone with a cracked version of Fruity Loops to master your music (sorry, I’m assuming) or would you rather bring on an objective team member who spent thousands of dollars and over two decades of time learning their craft? Hopefully you would agree with the latter. As my parents always said, “a penny wise but a dollar foolish.”

I’m releasing music on vinyl, can you master my music for vinyl?

Absolutely. If you’re releasing music on vinyl, please let me know as the process is different than mastering for digital distribution. If you’re looking for a vinyl cutter/manufacturer, I can refer you to some great people as well.

How do I send you my files?

Please send your files to [email protected] using www.wetransfer.com. When preparing your files for mastering, please only send a .WAV or .AIFF file in 24bit resolution. Also, keep the sample rate in the original sample rate (44.1kHz, 48kHz, etc.) the song was recorded in.

In addition, please remove any EQ, Compression or Limiting from your master channel. If it’s necessary to leave a master bus compressor on the master channel, please let me know as this will alter the way I approach mastering your project.

Finally, I would prefer you leave me at least -3db of headroom.

For stem mastering, all individual parts/tracks should be properly labeled (drums, bass, etc.). Stem mastering should be limited to no more than 8 tracks.

If all of this sounds like instructions in a foreign language, please email me. I love talking to people so feel free to ask me any questions before you send your project.

I have a low budget, will you still work with me?

Absolutely. I firmly believe in helping people and I am passionate about what I do. While I can’t work for free, please contact me and let’s discuss your project.