The final process in preparing an album or ep for release is cd mastering. This is crucial step for a number of reasons. The goal of mastering is to is to enhance the overall sonic clarity of a song as well as make sure that individual songs are level balanced to maintain a consistent sound and volume level. In addition correct mastering will ensure that your songs are set to the correct frequencies and levels for digital distribution and radio play. In the simplest terms cd mastering is what makes a group of songs sound like a commercial released record. For clients who do not need a full album or EP mastered we also offer our standard per song.
Some of the functions that are included in the mastering process are:
- Adjusting Individual Frequencies
- Balancing Left and Right Stereo Channels
- Equalizing The Sound of Each Track
- Compressing and Limiting the Overall Sound Level
- Automating Compression and/or Equalization
- Adding Dithering
- Add or Correct Improper Fades
- Set Spacing Between Track
- Using Noise Reduction and Sound Restoration if Needed
- Adding ISRC Codes for Distribution Rights
- Adding CD-Text Information (Artist, Title, Track Names, etc)
- Create DDP, BIN, or CUE Files for CD Replication or Duplication
- Creation of a Master Disk
Accepted Files for Mastering:
The loudest part in a mix should peak at no more that -3db on the master bus.
There should never be a limiter set on the master bus. Final dynamic control and level should be left to the mastering engineer. This allows the engineer to create the proper dynamic level for radio play, CD, or mp3 duplication.
The two most popular file types for mastering are: .WAV and .AIFF. Both of these file types are lossless (non-compresses/converted), and either file type is excellent for a mastering engineer to work with. AIFF files are normally used on Mac systems while WAV files are traditionally PC. Make sure your mastering studio is able to work with the format you have.
Additional to using .WAV or .AIFF file types. When submitting a mix for mastering. The file should be kept in the same resolution as it was mixed in (no down conversions).
For Example: A song mixed at 24bit 96kHz should be submitted as a 24bit 96kHz file (.WAV or .AIFF)
Equipment Used For The Mastering Process:
- Monitoring System: Yamaha HS-80
- Audio interface: RME – Fireface 400
- Computer: Mac Pro 3Ghz Intel Core i5
- Mixing Console: Mackie 1402 VLZ
- Cubase, Wavelab, Logic Pro
- UAD Precision
- UAD CAmbridge
- UAD Pultec
- Waves Masters Bundle
- Fab Filter
- Melda Production
Book Mastering Session