Though often compared, and confused, with mixing, mastering is a specialized process that requires different tools and a different approach to processing and listening by the engineer.
While mixing, the engineer will have access to each individual instrument and relatively drastic changes can be made without affecting other elements in the mix. Once all of the instruments have had their level and tone adjusted relative to each other and are happily existing together, it can be rendered to a stereo mix or pre-master.
While mastering, the engineer has access only to that final stereo mix meaning that any change, big or small, will affect every instrument in the mix in some way. Instead of single instruments, the engineer is working with frequencies and dynamics of an entire composition. For this reason mastering is generally very small and subtle adjustments, designed not to alter the overall composition of the mix but to correct acoustic and monitoring anomalies present in the entire mix.
Due to it being a corrective process, it is extremely important that mastering is done by a different engineer than who mixed it (as well as in a different room, with different monitors). This will make sure the acoustics are properly compensated for, and that the track will translate well to any environment.
An uncompressed stereo format such as .wav or .aiff
Use whichever sample-rate and bit-depth settings you’ve used through out your project. For example, if you recorded and mixed at 44.1 kHz/16-bit then send that. Similarly if you mixed at 96 kHz/24-bit then that’s what you should send.
Please note that to get the best results from a Mastered for iTunes certified release, it’s recommended to use 24-bit and minimum 44.1 kHz sample-rate (higher preferred) right from the start in the recording stage, as well as throughout the mixing stage.
As long as the output is not being clipped or limited, you’re good to go. A good rule of thumb to achieve that is aim for peaks no higher than -3dBFS.
Yes and no.
If you have used some compression for effect (not just for volume) then leave it on. If you have done any EQ or effects for volume (limiting/clipping) please remove these before rendering and uploading.
Mastered for iTunes is a set of guidelines put forth by Apple, allowing authorized mastering studios to create high-resolution masters designed to remain as close as possible to the original source quality after being compressed for sale in the iTunes store.
To recieve a valid Mastered for iTunes master, the mix must be submitted at a minimum of 44.1 kHz sample-rate and 24-bit. Higher sample-rates are preferred if the track was recorded and mixed at higher sample rates, however the 24-bit (as opposed to 16-bit) aspect is most important.
For more in-depth information visit the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/itunes/mastered-for-itunes/.
A DDP ‘image’ is essentially a virtual copy of a CD master, allowing a full album master to be transferred digitally and without any potential data loss writing to CD prior to duplication. It contains all of the CD Text information, as well as ISRC codes.
All Schematic Sound DDP masters include a custom player for both Windows and Mac computers, allowing you to audition your master without needing to burn a CD first.
From the ISRC website:
“ISRC enables recordings to be uniquely and permanently identified. ISRC helps to avoid ambiguity and simplifies the management of rights when recordings are used across different formats, distribution channels or products. The ISRC for a recording remains a fixed point of reference when the recording is used across different services, across borders, or under different licensing deals.”
ISRCs are easy to register and, best of all, free. For more information and to register, visit http://isrc.ifpi.org/en/.
There are a few examples above, however because it’s not your song it can be difficult to make a fair comparison and your song may benefit from mastering in an entirely different way.
If you'd like a more accurate representation of my work and what it will do for you, I can master your track and provide you with a preview of it free of charge.
Typical turnaround is 24 to 48 hours. In the event that a master is anticipated to take longer than 48 hours you will be informed ahead of time.
Absolutely. I’m only human, and I'll be the first to admit I don’t always get it right on the first try. If you’re not 100% happy with your master and would like a small change, or even for it to be taken in an entirely different direction, I am happy to make the changes at no extra cost.
The only exception is if a different mix is required for those revisions. If a new mix is submitted, then a remaster fee of $60 CAD applies.
Invoices are send by e-mail via PayPal. Payment can be made by credit card, even without a PayPal account, or directly from a bank account (this requires a PayPal account).
I’m not the cheapest option available, nor am I the most expensive. I’m able to keep my rates lower than many of the large mastering studios because I do everything myself but I do not, and will not, compromise on quality.
I consider quality to be worth paying for, however if cost is the most important factor then I encourage you to use the best option available to you in that regard.
Schematic Sound is a boutique studio with just one engineer, meaning your music will always get a personal touch.
Dan Dubois has been mastering music across all genres, from rock to hiphop to EDM, for 10 years.
WANT YOUR MUSIC TO HAVE THE CLARITY AND PUNCH IT DESERVES?