Get Ready for Mastering
Save time by following these steps BEFORE you send in your files. Any questions, give us a shout.
NOISES. Noise is anything that is bothering you...hiss, buzz, click, crackle, dropouts, booms, sibilance, phase, interference, etc. Listen loud and clean up tracks individually, because both signal AND noise will only get LOUDER in mastering.
SOUNDS THAT STICK OUT. Harsh cymbals, vocal sibilance, biting sound effects, may be hard to help in mastering without adversely affecting the whole mix. Fix on a per-track basis before sending to us.
WAVY GRAVY. Maintain volume consistency throughout a song section. We can't do much for loudness that that jumps all around throughout the song. So fix any weird gain shifts, abrupt tonal shifts, awkward fades, etc. now. This is especially important for lead instruments and vocals--keep those levels CONSISTENT.
OVERCOMPRESSION. There's just no easy way to un-compress your music and make it sound good. Please dial back the compression so that your tracks sound dynamic, and less "exciting" but instruments are still balanced. We can make it as thick and punchy as you want it in mastering.
HOW LOUD? Any level is fine as long as there is no clipping. No need to raise or lower the track level as long as peak level meters stay out of the red.
REMOVE ALL FADES from start and end of track (if you want us to recreate these for you at higher resolution).
REMOVE *ALL* MASTER BUS PLUG-INS. We won't need them in mastering. If there is a plugin that you think you do need, let us know and we'll advise you.
CONSIDER REMOVING OTHER PLUGINS. You may also want to reconsider the plugins on your track and and group channels (especially compression plugins). Generally, use what you need to get the tones you want, but give us a more dynamic ('weaker' sounding) mix and we can punch it up nicely for you. PLEASE contact us with any concerns NOW, before you export your files.
EXPORT a realtime bounce at 32-bit in stereo at the native project sample rate. DO NOT RESAMPLE / UPSAMPLE YOUR PROJECT TO A HIGHER SAMPLE RATE! It does NOT provide any extra fidelity. Keep tracks at whatever their sample rate was when you recorded it (e.g. 44.1kHz).
DOUBLE-CHECK that the exported files are stereo, 32-bit, at the native sample rate of your session (e.g. 44.1kHz) and have all instruments represented.
REFERENCES. Provide us with 1-3 commercial songs and tell us what you like about each. Include any roughs, premixes, etc. that may help us see your vision more clearly.
ALBUMS/EPs. When we are mixing more than one song for you, please submit them together if possible before we begin, so we get a sense of the whole body of work.
If you purchased the option to master from stems instead of stereo, we will make the final mix balance of these tracks in our treated room (and with fresh ears) before mastering.
NOTE: Your stem outputs should 1. have no group compression and 2. maintain a consistent level in each song section.
ALSO: Watch your effects routings! All send effects on the drums should go to the drum group, all vocal delays returned to the vocal group, etc. Send a maximum of 6 stereo stems per song (lead vocal / bkgd vocals / drums / bass / other instruments).