Q: What is Mastering?
A: Mastering is the part creative, part technical process of your music getting checked, enhanced, EQ'd, compressed, restored, balanced, exported, and triple checked before being uploaded for streaming or sent for CD/vinyl pressing. Not all of these are neccessary and each project requires different processes, but the most important factor is that you get a fresh set of ears listening to your project on the highest quality audio systems. We also take care of metadata, DDP creation, multiple file creation and other non-musical aspects of your work, making sure your project is ready to be heard.
Q: Do I really *need* my songs mastered?
A: Of course! Even if your project is exactly the way you want it we may be able to improve it or spot things that you may have missed. Studio monitors vary greatly and the acoustics of your room will affect how you hear things. We have extremely detailed and revealing monitors and professionally acoustically treated rooms. Mastering monitors are specifically designed to translate well to lots of other environments, meaning that what I hear in my mastering studio, will be what everybody else hears when your project is released.
Q: How do I get started?
A: Send your finished mixes to me via the upload page with a message about your project. Please tell what file format you would like and if you have any specific concerns or requests. Also include a track listing with the track names exactly as you would like them to appear. Double check your spelling!
A great example is:
01. Track Name
02. Track Name etc.
Please put all tracks in a folder named ARTIST NAME - EP/ALBUM NAME and then zip the folder and drag it into the UPLOAD page. This makes everything really quick and easy and I promise you'll receive your master back way quicker if I don't have to email back and forth to clarify your track names, numbers & spellings.
Q: What filetype should I send?
A: Please send the files at their native sample rate (same as your mixing session). Please avoid using any heavy compression/limiting on your master bus, leaving us some headroom to work with.
Q: What filetype do I need?
A: Depending on where your tracks are going next will determine the filetype you need.
For streaming services - 16 bit, 44.1 kHz wav files are standard. These will upload to all streaming services via your chosen distributor. If you'd like higher resolution files for Bandcamp, Tidal or Apple Masters I can provide extra files at an additional cost.
For CD duplication - A DDP file (Disc Description Protocol). This is a file which includes all your tracks, gaps, names, ISRC codes & metadata. I will send you a DDP player along with your file so you can listen to it exactly as it will be produced on CD. There are also options to burn it as a CD from your own computer if you want a copy for your car while you're waiting for your finished product.
For Vinyl - I will send the files in a higher resolution, the same resolution you send to me. These can be in wav format or DDP format, depending on which pressing plant you are using. Each side of your record will be sent as a single file.
Q: How long before I get my masters back?
A: For a single song, I can usually get it back to you a few days, for a larger project it depends on my current workload. Please allow plenty of time for this process but if you're in a real hurry please let me know and I'll let you know the current turn-around time. If you need your masters back really quick please enquire about our rush service.
Q: What if I'm not happy with my masters?
A: Just tell me! Please provide lots of detail about the problem and I'll do my very best to fix it at no extra charge before accepting any payment. I'm not happy until you're happy.
Q: I'm very happy with my masters, how do I pay?
A: Upon your approval of the masters I will email you an invoice which is paid via online bank transfer.
Q: Can I attend a session?
A: COVID UPDATE* - Unfortunately due to Covid-19 I can no longer offer attended sessions. As soon as it's safe to do so this will resume. I'm always happy to invite people into the studio to experience the mastering process in person.
Q: Can you tell me what you've done to my project?
A: Yes! I keep notes of every session, just in case we need to recall or revise anything. If there's anything you hear that you really like or you're just curious I'm happy to include a brief overview of what analogue & digital gear I've used.