Frequently Asked Question’s
The FAQ section (below) will give you a quick run down of how best to prepare and submit your final mixes to us for Mastering. We have also included some methods and processes to make sure your track/s can be the best they can be. Remember that Mastering can do amazing things (it is still a dark art after all) but there is a limit to what is achievable on an under-par mix.
What File Types Would You Like?
We ask that you send us WAV’s, BWAV’s or AIFF’s. These are standardised file types that ensure playback on various DAW’s and can carry audio at higher quality. Of course if you are going the purest route then we can also work from analogue tape – 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch at 7.5ips/15ips/30ips.
What Sample Rate and Bit Depth Would You Like?
32bit or 24bit and at the same Sample Rate that it was mixed at. Sample Rate Conversion can quite drastically change the sound of your audio so it’s always best to export at the same sample rate you have been working at.
How Loud Should It Be?
We usually ask that your mix is peaking between -1dBfs and -3dBfs consistently on the louder sections of your track (so not just one random snare hit that reaches -1dBfs). If the average level of the mix is at a good level then it usually tends to help the Mastering gain structure.
That said, if you have ended up recording and mixing at very low level, do not just turn it up with a plugin. We may have a more elegant way of doing it which could sound better. If ever in doubt just send us a couple of versions and we will pick the best.
Should I Leave My Buss Compression/Limiting On or Off?
This can be a very touchy subject for some engineers! We have no problem with you leaving your buss compression/limiting on your mixes. At the end of the day we want you to send us mixes that you are happy with. Not a mix that you ‘were’ happy with until you removed your buss compression/limiting.
The rule of thumb is that as long as you are not hitting the compressors/limiters too hard then it should be ok. If we think that the track could be improved with a little less compression/limiting then we will get in touch and ask you if it’s possible to send through a new mix.
Should I Send Our ‘Loud’ Maximised Version?
If you do have a maximised/brick-walled version (or listening copy) that you have been comparing to other commercial records then feel free to send that through as well. It is always good for us to hear how you (and others) have been listening to your mixes.
Should I Send You Notes?
If there are any problem areas that you would like us to look at specifically (or at least bear in mind when Mastering) then let us know. Any extra information is only going to help the process and make the end product even better.
Should I Send You Stems?
We usually only ask for stems if there is something within the mix that we cannot fix in normal stereo Mastering. This does not necessarily mean that it is a bad mix but could just benefit from some minor level adjustments to help the Mastering. In every case, if you are submitting stems then we also ask for a stereo (bounced) mix as well to ensure everything is as it should be when compared to the stems.
Should I Also Send A Reference Track?
It’s entirely up to you. If there is a song that you like the sound of and is similar to where you would like your track/s to end up then send it through. On occasion we can end up in a situation when a track is wildly different to the submitted reference track. In these instances we will get in touch with you directly to discuss what is achievable and the best way forward.
What Meta-Data Do You Need?
This may sound very obvious but – artist name and track titles (all spelled exactly as you would like them to appear on CD’s etc).
We always ask for a running order (if we receive more than one track). It doesn’t have to be a final order but more often than not that we prefer to Master the tracks in that order.
Beyond that it entirely depends on how you intend on releasing your track/s. For example, for a CD release we usually ask for ISRC’s (International Standard Recording Code) if you have registered them, a Barcode (UPC/EAN) and finally a Catalogue Number. Obviously CD Masters can be made without any of this information but if you have it then send it on through as we will need to encode it into the final Master.