Lets say you have recorded
you project at another studio but you want us to mix and master it for
Maybe the studio where you recorded at did not have the necessary extensive outboard gear for mixing, or
you did a home recording project with limited plugins. If you would like a more professional
mix of your songs ... Call us today at 410-661-4192
(Each track must start from beggining to end even if there are only a few parts on it!)
File formate must be either .wav files or mp3's.
Wav files are best ... but we will do mp3's.
The Art of Mastering
Is Your Project Radio Ready? / Do Your Songs Have
Enough Head Room?
Parametric EQ / Compression / Limiting / Levels / Noise
How Long Does It Take? / How Much Does It Cost? / What Is Mastering?
Optimizing average and peak volume levels for proper relative
Loud and Proud.
How Long Does it Take?
After the introduction of the microphone and electronic amplification in the mid-1920s, the mastering process became electro-mechanical, and electrically driven mastering lathes came into use for cutting master discs (the cylinder format by then having been superseded).
However, until the introduction of tape recording, master recordings were almost always cut direct-to-disc. Artists performed live in a specially designed studio and as the performance was underway, the signal was routed from the microphones via a mixing desk in the studio control room to the mastering lathe, where the disc was cut in real time.
Only a small minority of recordings were mastered using previously recorded material sourced from other discs.
The recording industry was revolutionized by the introduction of magnetic tape in the late 1940s, which enabled master discs to be cut separately in time and space from the actual recording process. Although tape and other technical advances dramatically improved audio quality of commercial recordings in the post-war years, the basic constraints of the electro-mechanical mastering process remained, and the inherent physical limitations of the main commercial recording media—the 78 rpm disc and the later 7-inch 45 rpm single and the 33-1/3 rpm LP record—meant that the audio quality, dynamic range, and running time of master discs were still limited compared to later media such as the compact disc.
Running times were constrained by the diameter of the disc and the density with which grooves could be inscribed on the surface without cutting into each other. Dynamic range was also limited by the fact that if the signal level coming from the master tape was too high, the highly sensitive cutting head might jump off the surface of the disc during the cutting process.
From the 1950s until the advent of digital recording in the late 1970s, the mastering process typically went through several stages. Once the studio recording on multi-track tape was complete, a final mix was prepared and dubbed down to the master tape, usually either a single-track mono or two-track stereo tape.
Prior to the cutting of the master disc, the master tape was often subjected to further electronic treatment by a specialist mastering engineer. After the advent of tape it was found that especially for pop recordings, master recordings could be made so that the resulting record would sound better. This was done by making fine adjustments to the amplitude of sound at different frequency bands (equalization) prior to the cutting of the master disc.
Record mastering became a highly prized and skilled craft, and it was widely recognized that good mastering could make or break a commercial pop recording. As a result, during the peak years of the pop music boom from the 1950s to the 1980s, the best mastering engineers were in high demand.
In large recording companies such as EMI, the mastering process was usually controlled by specialist staff technicians who were conservative in their work practices. These big companies were often reluctant to make changes to their recording and production processes—for example, EMI was very slow in taking up innovations in multi-track recording and they did not install 8-track recorders in their Abbey Road Studios until the late 1960s, more than a decade after the first commercial 8-track recorders were installed by American independent studios. As a result, by the time The Beatles were making their groundbreaking recordings in the mid-1960s, they often found themselves at odds with EMI's mastering engineers, who were unwilling to meet the group's demands to push the mastering process because it was feared that if levels were set too high it would cause the needle to jump out of the groove when the record was played by listeners.
Just as in other areas of audio, the benefits and drawbacks of digital technology compared to analog technology is still a matter of debate. However, in the field of audio mastering, the debate is usually over the use of digital versus analog signal processing rather than the use of digital technology for storage of audio.
Although in reality there isn't such a thing as an "optimum mix level for mastering", the example on this picture below only suggests what mix levels are ideal for the studio engineer to render and for the mastering engineer to process. It's very important to allow enough headroom for the mastering engineer's work. Many mastering engineers working with digital equipment would agree that a minimum of 3 to 6 dB of available headroom is critical to perform good mastering. Ideal peak levels should not exceed -3dBFSD and the average sum of the left and right channels should be at around -10 to -18 dBFSD (As shown on the picture below).
There are mastering engineers who feel that digital technology, as of 2007, has not progressed enough in quality to supersede analog technology entirely. Many top mastering studios, including Bernie Grundman Mastering (which mastered 37 Grammy-nominated albums in 2005 alone), and some mastering studios still embrace analog signal processing (such as analog equalization) within the mastering process. Additionally, the latest advances in analog mastering technology include 120V signal rails for previously unavailable headroom of 150dB as well as frequency response ranging from 3 Hz to 300 kHz. In order to duplicate this frequency response in digital domain, a sampling rate of at least 600 kHz would be required, by the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem. However, it is pertinent that the extremes of these frequency ranges (3 Hz to 19 Hz and 21 kHz to 300 kHz) are effectively inaudible and fall outside the range of both human hearing and most professional microphones.
If the material is destined for vinyl release, additional
processing, such as dynamic range reduction, frequency dependent stereo–to–mono
fold-down and equalization, may be applied to compensate for the limitations
of that medium. Finally, for compact disc release, Start of Track, End
of Track, and Indexes are defined for disc navigation. Subsequently, it
is rendered either to a physical medium, such as a CD-R or DVD-R, or to
a DDP file set, the standard method of secure delivery for CD and DVD replication
masters. The specific medium varies, depending on the intended release
format of the final product. For digital audio releases, there is more
than one possible master media, chosen based on replication factory requirements
or record label security concerns. Regardless of what delivery method is
chosen, the replicator will transfer the audio to a glass master that will
generate metal stampers for replication.
Steps of the process typically include but are not limited to the following:
Transferring the recorded audio tracks into the Digital
Audio Workstation (DAW) (optional).
Editing minor flaws
The solution is use the D1600 more as a signal processor
than a recording device.
Next, for the Final Effect, insert dynamics processing
to produce a smooth, hot-sounding master...then burn your CD.
Be aware, though, that mastering is a subtle process.
A few dB or EQ or dynamics control is usually all you need.
There's no guarantee that using mastering tools is going
to produce a great master recording, any more than
The Short Version
If you don't like how your CD's or DVD's sound.....