What is mastering?
Mastering is the final, creative process that finalises your music before releasing it to the public. Mastering can help correct mix flaws (though it is always better to fix a mix before mastering), stabilise playback over a number of systems, balance tracks within an album and create a consistency within the project as a whole. Sometimes mastering simply casts an objective ear over your music to give you confidence that your music sounds correct. Mastering your music using a professional mastering engineer takes the guesswork out of your release, allows it to stand up to other commercial releases and gives it the edge over unmastered tracks.
Who have you mastered for?
Jason has mastered releases for many labels such Bonsai Progressive, ViVA Music, Mood Records, Drumcode, 4AD, Lucky Number, Sunday Best, Genius Music and Universal! He has also mastered for labels such as EMI, Island, Mute, Fiction, Warp, Beggars Banquet, Sony, Real World, Warners…
Can I hear some examples of mastering?
We have some examples in one of our studio blog posts. These show some good, contrasting mix to master samples and more will be added in time. Please click here to visit the post.
How should I supply my files?
WAV or AIFs should be uploaded via our Hightail uplink. 16bit or higher resolution at 44.1k or better. Feel free to provide any audio examples of music you would like your sound to relate to (these can be MP3s or just titles that can be located on iTunes). Zipping up packages with all your content enclosed (notes, refs, WAVs, fade/compile guides, etc) is recommended for your, and our convenience.
Can I use Dropbox to send you files?
Yes, along with our Hightail account we have a Dropbox location. Please send an invite link to the contact form on the uploads page: here.
What will I receive?
For individual tracks we supply master 16bit WAVs at 44.1k (for digital store standards) and a reference MP3 at 320kbps. For albums we supply WAVs for digital stores and a DDP master file if required. MFiT or HD WAVs can also be provided. Should you require only 24 WAVs and not the 16bit version, please let us know upon order else extra charges will incur.
How long will it take?
We aim to have masters back to you within three working days, an email confirming the provisional mastering date will be sent upon receipt of the files. Please note that the studio is busy and sometimes unavoidable delays can happen, you will be informed asap if this is the case.
Can I ask for a recall?
Should you not be happy with the mastering, please contact us to discuss. As an unattended service you are relying upon our expertise to give you a finished master that conforms to standards and our best guess as to what you like. Mastering is a creative process and sometimes the result may not be to your expectation. We will usually happily recall and provide another master however it is worth noting that sometimes the expectation and the music provided may not be feasible. All recalls are done at our discretion, the mastering service charges are still applicable but there is no charge for a recall.
The mastering highlighted some issues, can I supply a new mix?
Sometimes mastering can show some unexpected results from the supplied mix. Usually, if the mix doesn’t meet premastering requirements or the engineer flags some problems upon first listen, we will contact you and discuss mix issues and see if a new mix can be supplied. In this instance there is no charge as the mastering engineer is asking for the changes. If you wish to supply a new mix because you discovered a part is wrong or want to change the vocal (for example) then technically it’s classed as a new session and is billable. These instances are discretionary to the engineer.
Do you do demos?
If time allows then yes, we’re happy to master and upload an MP3 demo for you. The engineer will master the track and supply a section of it for you to hear. Please note that demos can take longer to return than booked mastering sessions, so they may not fit into our usual three day turn around policy. Please contact us (below) before sending a demo or clearly state DEMO ONLY on the upload page.
What is a DDP?
A DDP is a file specifically for CD replication (full CD production). If you’re not pressing CD’s then you don’t require a DDP.
What is MFiT?
MFiT is short for Mastered For iTunes. It’s a more specific WAV format that iTunes uses to create a better, higher resolution download file. We usually supply MFiT files as 44.1k 24bit or 96k 24bit. MFiT files normally have more headroom than standard WAVs so can also appear slightly quieter in volume (if they’re done correctly). Check that you can supply MFiT files to iTunes before ordering. A word of caution, MFiT doesn’t like up-sampled files, if your recordings are bounced at 16bit 44k then trying to supply higher resolution up-sampled versions may not pass MFiT’s quality control. If you would prefer HD files (but not specifically MFiT), please enquire.
Where are you based?
We are based in the West of England but set up for the World. The studio has been specifically set up for this service.
Is all your software legal?
Absolutely! All of the software is fully paid for and registered, we are professionals and therefore use professional software. So called mastering engineers that set up budget studios using illegal software show a similar attitude to their work: poor quality.
The loudness debate stems from a poor understanding of music and dynamics. It was something that happened as a fad two decades ago and is finally starting to loose popularity. The cliché of loud masters for the sake of it will never fully disappear, now, so we endeavour to give you a master that is competitive with todays popular music (unless you state otherwise). We actively advise clients to retain some space in their music, if you ask for a mastering slammed into oblivion we may reject it. Don’t worry, though, we can get volume!
Can you mix music as well?
We do offer a basic mix service. Before switching to mastering our main engineer worked in a commercial recording studio and gained years of experience mixing tracks. Logic Pro is the weapon of choice (in most cases) and you can supply WAVs or AIFs to us. Also included in the mixing price is a free mastering! You will receive both final mix and mastered versions, please contact us to discuss.
Why no Social Media?
Quite frankly, not much time. We do like to share clients views and projects on our Facebook page but we have no plans to sit around “liking” cat pictures…
Who are you?
Jason Mitchell is the main engineer. Jason has been mastering for 20 years and has a wealth of experience and expertise under his belt.
We like to talk, if you have any questions please fill out the contact form below.