CD & Vinyl Mastering Services
Important details are always lost during mixing. It's my job to bring them back.
What main difference will mastering make to your recording?
The core aim of mastering your music for CD or vinyl (or even tape) is to ensure your songs have even levels and volume, and the sound is optimised for the intended media format.
How vinyl mastering is different to mastering for CD
Vinyl is an analogue format which cannot re-create digital sound completely, and it will alter the character of your recording in many subtle and less subtle ways. The CD master you might already have could work great as a vinyl master (although it's probably to loud, and so will get turned down by several dBs by the cutting engineer). However, if you really care about your art, I recommend that it gets proper mastering treatment for each of its intended formats. So, to master your music for vinyl, I have to take on a different approach.
Vinyl struggles with high-end and low-end frequencies. This can be from cymbals, hi-hats, sibilance and out-of-control (or out-of-phase) bass frequencies that need taming. To deal with this issues, I will have to apply different EQ settings than for a CD master, and I may also have to use de-essing or a dynamic EQ to best fit the format.
How to prepare your music for vinyl mastering
Provide audio files with plenty of headroom (-6dB is preferred, but it will work well with less). Vinyl masters have a physical limit to what can be passed through the equipment at the pressing plant, so ridiculusly loud tracks will have to be turned down significantly (even if it reflects your insecurities/tastes!), and will also give me as a mastering engineer less options in making your recording sound as good as possible. Since vinyl requires a master with more conservative levels, more headroom provides more space for dynamics - and that will keep the illusion of vinyl sounding "better" alive and well.
How my mastering process works:
- First I'll talk to you about what aspects of your recording need to be enhanced to achieve the sound you want.
- Then I listen to your music very carefully. I will try to find other ways to improve your sound, such as audio restoration or noise removal.
- The next stage is to master a sample track (this will be a half of one song), so you can hear the improved sound. If you are happy with it, I'll go ahead and master your other tracks.
- Don't waste my time, and I won't waste yours!
- When we agree to proceed with a project, it becomes a binding deal. We will both honour this agreement!
- One revision is included in the price I give you. If further revisions are needed, I will charge based on number of tracks and how significant the changes are.
- If a new mix is provided for revision, then I will have to treat it as a completely new master, as I'll have to repeat the entire process. I will therefore charge full price for a new master. I will consider exceptions based on the situation, but be sure to have your mix completely finished before handing it over to me for mastering.
How to listen to your master
- If listening to several test masters, use volume normalization (such as soundcheck on iTunes) to avoid being fooled by the loudness deception.
- If you think it sounds too quiet, use your volume control to turn it up. The loudness wars are over! It's in the best interests of both of us to have things sound as good as possible, so why the fuck would I do anything other than that? In case you have questions regarding these things, you can drag and drop your file on the Loudness Penalty website, and see where your tracks are at.
Request a FREE mastered sample of your music
The free sample is paid for by you telling me exactly why I should give you a free sample. Show me that you have a passion for your music, and that you have a vision. Do not simply send me a file and a comment saying something like "impress me". The free mastered sample will be half of one song.
Got any questions?
I'll be happy to answer any queries you've got about mastering your recording.