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Preparing for your mastering session

When preparing your final mixes for mastering there are some guidelines that need to be followed in order to obtain the best sonic integrity for your masters.

Formats

When producing final mixes, 24-bit data files produce the most consistent error free results. Digital masters at bit depths up to 32-bit and sampling rates up to 192kHz are also accepted.

If your project was mixed to analog tape please call for details.

Preparation

Make sure to clearly label all your mixes and include any notes about special edits you require, crossfade details and track order.

The time you spend in preparation will ensure a smoother session and save you money.

Solutions for mix problems

If you are mixing on small monitors or in a suboptimal acoustic environment, it may be difficult to judge where to correctly set vocal or bass levels in your mixes. In this case it is advisable to bring different versions of the mixes for comparison during the session: vocal up; vocal down; bass up; bass down.

Alternatively you could bring mix stems to the session for final level adjustments in the mastering session. The stems would contain a stereo music stem, mono bass stem and vocal stems. Find out more about stem mastering.

Free mix evaluations

If you book with us, we're happy to evaluate your mixes for free.  This allows us to catch any problems in the mixes prior to the mastering session and provides you with a higher quality final product.

Just send your project as MP3 files or as an audio CD.

A word on mix compression

Avoid using excessive bus compression or limiting at the mix stage. This can not be undone and ties the hands of the mastering engineer restricting the full potential of the mastering process. Professional mastering engineers use special processors and techniques that result in a far superior result.

Try to leave at least 3dB - 6dB of headroom in your mixes where possible.

Other things to avoid

Avoid normalization, sample rate conversion and codec compression (e.g. Mp3, Real Audio, AAC, WMA etc.) These can do damaging things to audio if used incorrectly and can dramatically affect the overall quality of your mixes.

Reference music

If you are attending a session, feel free to bring along your favourite CD's for referencing against your project throughout the session. For unattended sessions, please let us know what music you have been referencing during the recording.

Need more help?

If you need specific instructions for your project please don't hesitate to call.