We offer three levels of mastering to meet your artistic and budgetary needs:
Client provides a single stereo mix
Client provides 1 regular mix &amp; 2 “stems” – a mix with the lead vocal muted, then a mix with lead vocal only and all instruments muted
The mastering process can affect the balance of the instruments and vocals. Having the regular mix as a reference the engineer can adjust the lead vocal level during mastering to maintain the balance
Client provides multiple “stems” (drums only, lead vocal only, etc) giving the engineer maximum ability to rebalance the mix during the mastering process.
The source material is processed using equalization, compression, limiting, noise reduction and other processes. Subsequently, it is rendered to a medium such as CD or DVD. This mastered source material is also put in the proper order at this stage. This is commonly called the assembly or track sequencing. More tasks such as editing, pre-gapping, leveling, fading in and out, noise reduction and other signal restoration and enhancement processes can be applied as part of the mastering stage.
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 medium, chosen based on replication factory requirements or record label security concerns.
The process of audio mastering varies depending on the specific needs of the audio to be processed. 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).
- Sequence the separate songs or tracks (the spaces in between) as they will appear on the final product (for example, an audio CD).
- Process or “sweeten” audio to maximize the sound quality for its particular medium.
- Transfer the audio to the final master format (i.e., Red Book-compatible audio CD or a CD-ROM data, half-inch reel tape, PCM 1630 U-matic tape, etc.).
Examples of possible actions taken during mastering:
- Edit minor flaws.
- Apply noise reduction to eliminate hum and hiss.
- Adjust stereo width.
- Add ambience.
- Equalize audio between tracks.
- Adjust volumes.
- Dynamic expansion.
- Dynamic compression.
- Peak limit the tracks.
The guidelines above are mainly descriptive of the mastering process and not considered specific instructions applicable in a given situation. Mastering engineers need to examine the types of input media, the expectations of the source producer or recipient, the limitations of the end medium and process the subject accordingly. General rules of thumb can rarely be applied.
Please contact us for your audio mastering needs!