5 Ways To A Better Master

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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. 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.)
  4. The best sources for digital mastering are, in order of

    • 24-bit (or higher) digital audio files, at the sampling rate and bit depth of your original session. These can be supplied on a DATA CD or DVD (Audio CDs present their own set of issues, and are not really a “preferred” source), a hard drive or flash drive, or via internet transfer. (The best way to do that is on this site, here).
    • 16-bit data files.
    • DAT tape.
    • Audio CDs.
    • 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.
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