Frequently asked questions in the mastering world, such as how to prepare your pre-master file
What Is Mastering?
“Mastering is the essential final process of technically and creatively enhancing and assembling the individual tracks of a recording project. It’s putting on the icing so to speak. In a mastering session the audio will be analyzed and judged whether equalization and compression and other processing would be beneficial or whether it is sounding glorious as is and would be better left alone.”
Mastering, is the final step in processing, error checking and presenting audio. It is the process of optimizing audio, before preparing and transferring recorded audio to a data storage device (the master); the source from which all copies will be produced (via methods such as pressing, duplication, replication or distribution).
What does your service include?
The service can include techniques such as:
1. Editing minor flaws like pops and clicks.
2. Applying noise reduction to eliminate hum and hiss.
3. Adjusting stereo width.
4. Enhancing ambience.
5. Equalization (surgical / tonal).
6. Maximizing volume.
7. Dynamic expansion.
8. Dynamic compression.
9. Parallel Compression and Mid Side Encoding
10. Improving warmth
11. Improving definition and clarity
12. Dynamic EQ
13. Peak limiting.
14. Any (unlikely) revisions of the master you require, until you are delighted with the sound
Can I hear some examples of your work?
Of course! Please visit the blog and take your pick
How should I prepare my songs for mastering?
Please send your files to me at 24bit or 32bit, with some headroom (no limiter and no clipping). Also send it in whatever sample rate you worked on your project in (for example, 44.1kHz): don’t convert on export please.
I prefer to work on music with as little processing as possible on your master output, as it is impossible for me to un-do compression if too much has been applied at your end. Leave it to me! If you have applied processing on your master output, and aren’t sure if you should remove it or not before sending me your pre-master file, I’d recommend sending me both versions and letting me decide which version would be best to work on.
How will I send the files to you?
Please .zip the files together (or .rar them) and send them to me via wetransfer. Don’t forget to include your email address.
Then drop me an email including the download link. If you wish to discuss the project before i begin.
Can I attend the session?
Please do if you like! If you can make it to Berlin, Germany that is, I wouldn’t recommend flying in from Argentina just to get your track mastered however! I also do a lot of un-attended sessions where people send their files over the internet and I work on them, and let you know if I have any questions about the mix or issues that would be better to address in the mix.
And what if I am not happy with the results?
We offer any unlikely revisions that are required for free, until you are delighted.
Can you make my tracks loud?
Yes. It’s worth remembering that loudness comes at the expense of dynamic range though. While I aim for competitive loudness I prefer not to kill the dynamic range of your music to achieve it.
Any other questions? Please email me and I would be delighted to answer them at conor[@]glowcast.co.uk