Frequently Asked Questions

Will mastering fix a bad mix?

 

It can certainly help. But it's best that you are happy with the mix-down.  Mastering magnifies and clarifies what's already there. 
 

 

What file format and resolution do I submit for mastering?

  • WAV 16-24bit / 44.1khz-96khz stereo interleaved

  • AIF 16-24bit / 44.1khz-96khz stereo interleaved

  • FLAC 16-24bit / 44.1khz-96khz stereo interleaved Vinyl

Should I include peak limiting on my mix when submitting files for mastering?

 

  • If you can, please avoid submitting mixes that are heavily limited or compressed. It's always best to bounce the mix without limiting.  Hard limiting on a mix is the #1 thing that ties a mastering engineers hands. If you like the sound with the limiting, include a copy with limiting and without.

 

  • A few things to note: Your mix might clip when you remove the limiter.  To prevent clipping drop the master fader by 10db or so and then bounce to 24bit or higher.  The output mix will be quieter than you're use to but that's A-OK.  I will make it as loud as you want. If mixing to 32bit is an option you can leave everything the same, sans limiter.  Bouncing to 32bit without limiting will exceed digital 0 without clipping the signal.  It's a great option!

What can I do to help the mastering process?

 

  • Please de-ess the vocals.  As the volume of a master goes up, so does the sibilant in the vocal. These are the FFFFs SSSSs CHAAs any hard treble.  This is especially important if you're going to vinyl.   I am able to de-ess but it sometimes requires a good amount of time which adds up, and you'll get better results when de-essing the isolated vocal tracks.   
     

  • Bounce your mix without peak limiting (see above).
     

  • If you've been experimenting with mastering please provide the alternate version (in addition to the master mixes) of your mixes you are most happy with. Even if it doesn't sound right or is done improperly, it will still help me further understand your vision. You're also welcome to include a commercial sample as a point of reference.​

What if I remix a song after mastering has begun?

  • When a song is remixed after the mastering process has begun, it is billed at $50 / remix. Mastering revisions are included in the price.


 

How should I name my files?

 

  • Render each song to it's own track and include the track number as the file name prefix.


 

Can I submit MP3s for mastering? 

  • Only submit MP3s if that's all you got.   

 

What will I receive for mastering samples?

  • You are receiving 320kbs MP3's to review your master. 

  • You might hear a tick at the end of the MP3 track - please ignore these. The WAV file will not tick like that.

  • WAV files are available when payment is received in full.


 

How do I proof my master?

  • When proofing a master use a stereo you know well.  It doesn't matter if it's your car, boombox, home stereo, bluetooth speaker, headphones etc. Simply set your playback volume to a comfortable level.  The way you always do.  

  • Listen to the master from start to finish closely.   

Do all songs come in at a proper level / loudness for your taste? 

Is the tonal balance consistent in terms of bass, mid-range, treble?  

Do the louder sections sound wide open and soar, or congested and small?   How is the excitement, impact, dynamics, pop? 
 

  • Compare the master to albums you know well.   A master should stand-up next to recordings of a similar genre.  Also listen for track spacing and make sure the album flows the way you want it to.   
     

  • If there are any anomalies such as clicks or blips etc. you'd like removed please note the track #, min:sec location.
     

  • Take your time in reviewing your master.
     

  • Please note that it is your responsibility to thoroughly proof the finished master for any defects, pops, glitches etc… prior to production. 


 

What if I have changes (revisions) I want you to make?

  • Submit your revision notes through email. All in one email is preferred, so no revision gets missed.

 

  • Mastering revisions are included in the price. If a song is remixed after the mastering has begun, it is billed at $50 / remix.


 

How many revisions can be requested?

  • Mastering revisions are included in the flat rate. Note that if the song is remixed and submitted again then there is a $50 fee to remaster the remix.


 

Do you embed ISRC?

  • Yes, please provide me with a copy of your ISRC. You can apply for ISRC here: www.usisrc.org

Do you save a copy of the master files?

  • Please archive your master files. I will supply a full resolution master when complete. Please save these files forever. I am not responsible for lost files or data after six months from when we begin.  

 

©2020 by Timothy Stollenwerk.  All rights reserved.                                                                            U   P   L   O   A   D

 est. 2003   Portland, OR 

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digital & vinyl mastering by timothy stollenwerk  Portland Oregon.