Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements for the best outcome?
Avoid Overly Maximized Mixes: It’s best to avoid mixes with excessive compression or limiting. In other words, highly densified Mixes a decreasing possible improvements of the Mastering process
Compressor and Limiter Usage: Using a compressor or limiter that enhances the artistic quality of the mix is acceptable.
Maintain Headroom: Maintain headroom to prevent digital clipping. Avoid unnecessary ptocesses like level reduction (-6dB, etc.).
Mono Compatibility: Check your mixes for mono compatibility. If crucial elements are lost in mono, they may not translate well on various playback systems.
Original Sample Rate: Send your mixes with the original sample rate for mastering, avoid sample rate conversions.
File Naming: We use filenames (not song titles) for communication and organization, so please provide unique and consistent filenames.
Reference Song: Consider sending a reference song to convey your musical intentions effectively.
Apple Digital Masters: Let us know if you require “Apple Digital Masters”, a service we provide at no extra cost.
Delivery Format: We return your recordings as digital audio masters in 44.1kHz/24-bit WAV files. Inform us if you need additional formats like Vinyl-Ready, 16-bit files, or 48kHz video resolution.
What about CD masters?
ISRC, CD-Text, and EAN: If available, attach ISRC, CD-Text, and EAN information for compiling. Remember to use ISO 8859-1 encoding for CD-Text. Basically this means to avoid any fancy letters. Think of doimain names.
DDP-Player: CD masters are commonly delivered as DDP files. A DDP-player helps you verify CD masters. Free players are available online.
Considerations for Vinyl Pressing:
Playtime Limits: Be mindful of your record’s playtime limits to avoid issues during the cutting process.
Mono Compatibility: Refer to the “mono compatibility” section below.
Do I need to care about “mono compatibility”?
Decisions on mono compatibility depend on the specific track and its intended destination.
Potential Issues: Overly wide stereo-field in low frequencies on vinyl can affect playback. “Phased out content” can collapse in mono, altering the mix negatively.
Phase Issues: Phase issues can lead to a blurry or unfocused mix, particularly on less-than-perfect playback systems.
Bass Energy Loss: Many sound systems use mono subwoofers, causing bass energy loss due to phase cancellation.
Conclusion: It’s a technical issue, that can cause problems, that might need the artists/producers/labels evaluation. We will let you know, if any such problems appear.
What does “Apple Digital Music” mean?
Apple’s Quality Standard: “Apple Digital Music” denotes Apple’s premium quality standard for releases.
White-Listed Engineers: Only approved mastering engineers can label their masters as “Apple Digital Music.”
Benefits: Some argue it offers promotional effects and better store ranking. The label guarantees a minimum sound quality. We can provide you with an Apple Digital Music-ID upon request.
What is “Stem Mastering,” and do I need it?
Stem mastering involves delivering the mix in groups (stems) that are mastered separately and recombined.
Use Cases: Stem mastering is useful for playback or TV shows where you need a master and an instrumental or playback version. It’s also helpful for addressing mix issues that couldn’t be resolved during production.
“Mix-Mastering” Option: We offer “mix-mastering” where you provide all separate tracks of the mix for mastering.
Stem Tips: Stems should sum up to the original mix and the original mix should be delivered as well for reference. Keeping master-buss-processes as artistic choices, such as compression and saturation is welcome when creating stems. Just like in a standard mix situation. Only leave out the Limiter / Maximizer, as the use of Limiting should be preserved as the final step in the Mastering process