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Mastering, a form of audio post-production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device (the master) -the source from which all copies will be pressed, duplicated or replicated.
Measurements are completed to determine the current state of the mix so that, typically, the mastering engineer can apply shine, polish, punch, depth and definition to the stereo image and overall clarity to the track. Corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement may also be applied in order to improve upon sound translation on ALL playback systems (very important). While these are subjective terms, the art of the procedure involves critical listening in order to make objective and scientific decisions about the sound quality. Therefore it can not be achieved without the presence of a mastering engineer (an actual human being).
The mastering process continues to resist automation. There are software tools available to facilitate this but results still depend upon the accuracy of speaker monitors, and also critical, completing the work in an acoustically calibrated environment.
Allow me to introduce myself through my work. an uncompresssed, clean final stereo mix and I will reply with a 1-2 minute, free mastering sample for your review. My calibrated mastering environment and attention to detail are the finishing touches your music deserves.
michael [at] latinmusicmastering [dot] com +1.775.230.6501
Need to contact me immediately? Send a message now.
Getting your mixes ready - a handy checklist to follow before you send your files.
1) Native audio recording format
I prefer to master .wav / .aif / .aiff files in the native audio format you recorded in. So if you recorded in 24bit - 48kHz then send it like that. If you used 24bit - 96kHz then send that. If you are sending the music and vocals separate, and the music is in a diffferent but higher bit or sample rate, then upsample the vocal tracks. Do not downsample. Always send the highest resolution possible.
2) Check your vocal tracks
Did you solo and check all your vocal tracks for lip noise, breathing and other extraneous sounds? It's easy to fix all that without having to pay me to do it.
3) Leave some headroom
Check that your signals / waveform level isn't jacked up to the rails. It's always a good practice to leave AT LEAST 3dB of headroom for the mastering engineer. So the loudest part in your mix should peak at no more than -3db on your master bus. When you are bouncing your 2 track master in Protools make sure your bouce doesn't have any compression or limitier plugins activated. Just send a clean final mix.
4) Reference tracks are always a good idea
Sending tracks / music from artists that have the sound you are looking for, or have a similar vibe to your music, is a very efficient way to provide me with some direction.
5) Use consistent naming and timing for your stems
If you send the mixes broken out in stems, for example the music and the vocals on separate stereo tracks, then check your filenames so that they match and are clear to understand. Also verify that each stem track is CONSOLIDATED so that they start at exactly the same time when I drop it into my workstation. Make sure that they both start at 0 (zero) and that they line up properly.