Q. What is mastering?
A. Mastering is the bridge between your music’s production and distribution. Its main roles are quality control, removing the last ‘mistakes’, making an album consistent in terms of color, width, depth and volume, and adding that midas touch that will make your record going from a good sounding one to great sounding one.
Q. do you practice stem mastering?
A. Yes, up to four or five stems. I prefer stereo mastering tough, as I believe I am fairly quickly less “transparent” when doing stem mastering, sometimes artists just want/need a bit more of my imprint.
Q. how should i export my music?
A. Please bounce your final mixdown(s) in the sample rate your recorded/worked at, 24 or 32 bits. Avoid any dithering. If you used compression or a limiter on your master bus, please remove them. You can bounce a second file with the bus processing on so I have a reference, but I’ll most likely work from the more dynamic file. Please allow a few seconds before and after each track and most importantly, leave headroom. Somewhere between -3 and -8 dbfs is usually fine. Going as low as -20 dbfs is not necessary at all and will only help me raise the noise floor. Please pay attention to the way you name the files too. There is a form to fill when you book a session too, taking a minute to fill it can save some time and extra emails.
Q. do you master for vinyl?
A. Technically what I do is called pre-mastering for vinyl as I don’t have a lathe to cut records. That said, I deliver files that are optimized to make the cutting engineer’s life easier, and can handle the cutting side of things for you if you don’t really know where to go.
Q. what format(s) can you deliver?
A. I can deliver masters for CD (including the generation of a DDP file), digital distribution, Apple Digital Masters (ex MFiT), MP3s (encoded from the high resolution source file), as well as pre-masters for vinyl and cassette.
Q. how do I send my files?
A. Do what’s best for you. You can provide a WeTransfer, Dropbox or Google Drive link, whatever… I will usually send back my work via Filepass or directly via Dropbox once the balance is paid.
Q. Do you charge for revisions?
A. Not at all. I might have something like 10% of revisions and usually it’s all about tiny adjustments. However, if you want to submit a new mixdown this will be considered as a new master, not a revision.
q. do you master for streaming?
A. I don’t believe at all in mastering for streaming. Youtube, Spotify, Deezer, you name it…can change their targets tomorrow and you’ll be screwed. Unless you give me a specific loudness target, I will always master for what I believe is the right balance between dynamics, density, depth and loudness for the specific project I’m working on. But in the end it’s your music and even though I’m here to give you a technical expertise, you’re the boss!