G U I D A N C E A N D T I P S FO R M A S T E R I N G
* Ideal resolution and format 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
* Avoid submitting mixes that are heavily limited or compressed. Hyper loud is not the goal at this stage. If you slam the volume so it's as loud as everything on your ipod, then keep it that way on your end, but submit the same mixes without this final push for mastering (providing a copy to me is helpful as well)-- at 24bit of course. I can make it as loud as you want.
* Apply minimal compression and limiting across the stereo mix.
* Mix each song to 24bit, stereo interleave. Leave the sample rate the same as the mix session. (44.1khz minimum) 16bit / 44.1khz CD audio is also acceptable.
* Be sure you are 100% happy with the mix-down. Mastering magnifies and clarifies a mix. This can be very revealing and sometimes sobering. If a track is re-mixed after it's already mastered, it is considered new material and adds to the total cost of the master. Mastering revisions applied to an existing mix is included in the price.
* 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.
* Render each song to it's own track and include the track number as the file name prefix.
* Spacing and transitions. If you have particular requests then please render the album as one long MP3 and include the spacing, crossfades, fade in / fade out exactly as you'd like the master to play. Once complete I will align the mastered version with your MP3 version and recreate what you've done.
* Only submit MP3s if that's all you got.
What to listen for after the mastering is complete?
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 tastes? How is the excitement, impact, dynamics? Is the tonal balance consistent in terms of bass, mid-range, treble? Is it enjoyable to listen to? Do louder sections sound wide open and soar, or congested and small? 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. You might hear a click or pop between songs when listening to mp3's. This will not occur with the full resolution Wave file.