- Come into the mastering session with an idea of how you would like your project presented- song order, segues, crossfades, any extra editing that may be needed.
- Come to the mastering session with your original masters, and do the final sequencing in the mastering room. Digital glitches and other errors can be introduced during copying, and the time it takes to sequence in the mastering room is minimal compared to the time it takes to find the source of pops, ticks or other glitches. (It’s also a good idea to bring some alternate mixes- vocals up/ down, etc.)
Leave your mastering engineer some room to work. That means not “pre-mastering” your mixes before your engineer sees them. Best results are obtained from 24-bit or higher files whose peaks are -4 to -6 db below 0dbfs.
If you have a “loudness” type meter available, shoot for an average (“integrated loudness”) of -16 LUFS or lower. Do not worry if the mixes don’t sound as “loud” as you’re used to hearing from commercial releases- that’s one of the things that will be taken care of in the mastering process.
Your mixes should not be compressed, limited, or EQ’d on the stereo mix buss, and do not “normalize” or dither. (If you feel your mixes need these “fixes” before they leave your studio, you are probably not through mixing yet.)
If you have been listening to your mixes with some degree of mixbuss compression that you are fond of, please bring both versions of your mixes- with and without the processing- to your session, and we can decide together the best approach for final mastering.
- The best sources for digital mastering are, in order of preference:
- 24-bit (or higher) digital audio files, at the sampling rate and bit depth of your original session. These can be supplied via internet transfer through this site or other services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTransfer or other file transfer service, a hard drive or flash drive, or on a DATA CD or DVD (Audio CDs present their own set of issues, and are not really a “preferred” source).
- 16-bit data files.
- Audio CDs.
- DAT tape.
Other sources (including analog tape) can be accommodated by special arrangement.
5. Most importantly: Before finishing your project, DO call for a free consultation! A little planning can be a tremendous help in achieving the final result that you want for your project.