Audio Mastering Tips
There are a number of audio mastering tips that will help you prepare your mixes before working with a cd mastering studio. It's important to know how to prepare and submit you mixes' so you can get the best sound for your songs. The mastering engineer wants to start with a clean slate, primarily on the master bus and will need to have the proper file type and format to get the most from your music.
Eliminate Noise on the Mix
As you go through your mix eliminate any noise or pops that may be in each track. Use fades as necessary to cut out any spots that may just be containing recorded noise. If this is done in the mix stage within each track it will keep the overall noise level down when the mastering engineer begins to equalize and compresses the mix.
Keep Your Mix Clean and Dynamic
Overusing processors especially dynamic processors (compressors) on the master bus can destroy a mix and make it difficult, if not impossible for the mastering engineer to make a great master. Unless there's a specific sound of a master bus processor desired for the mix, it's best to keep the master buss free of outboard processing or plugins. If master bus processing is used make sure to notify the mastering engineer of its type and settings.
The loudest part in a mix should peak at no more that -3db on the master bus.
There should never be a limiter set on the master bus. Final dynamic control and level should be left to the mastering engineer. This allows the engineer to create the proper dynamic level for radio play, CD, or mp3 duplication.
Reference Song Submission
Submitting any previously done mixes or masters of the song/s to be worked on, along with a few different reference songs that have a similar sound desired is excellent for giving the mastering engineer an idea of your musical vision. This could be a reference to bands who inspire you, or who have a similar sound you like.
Mastering From Stems
Mastering from stems is becoming a more common practice. This is where the mix is consolidated into a number of stereo stems (subgroups) to be submitted individually. For example you might have different tracks for Drums, Bass, Keys, Guitars, Vocal, and Background Vocal's. This gives the mastering engineer excellent control over the mix and master, allowing for the absolute best sound possible. However, it's a substantially more involved process. If a mix from stems is desired, following the same steps listed above is best for each stem.
Prices for mastering
Single-song mastering just — $10
An experienced engineer from The COLOVE MS brings fresh ears and great analog gear to your project, pumping up the volume to an appropriate level depending on the style of music, adding clarity and detail with EQ, and making sure your song sounds great no matter where it’s played! Maximum track length is 10 minutes. Songs longer than that may incur additional mastering charges.
Full album mastering — $8/track
To make your songs sound like a cohesive album, the engineers at The COLOVE MS will make each song sound amazing, then concentrate on bringing a consistent level and EQ balance to each track. They’ll also ensure the album has a smooth flow, with proper fade-outs and spacing. During a full mastering session the engineer is listening closely, in real-time, through the entire album, to identify any issues, no matter how small. Maximum track length is 10 minutes. Songs longer than that may incur additional mastering charges.
Vinyl mastering — $12/track
While including everything from our Full album Mastering, mastering for vinyl employs special techniques to guarantee your album will translate well to the medium. The mastering engineer may choose to center the bass frequencies, control vocal sibilance with de-essing, and smooth out harsh mid and high frequencies that could cause distortion. Maximum track length is 10 minutes. Songs longer than that may incur additional mastering charges.
New mix policy: There is a $18 charge to master a re-mixed song once the mastering session is complete. For example, you receive a proof of your COLOVE MS mastered project, but decide to edit the vocals on one song and supply a new mix to us. The re-master fee covers the time for the engineer to recall the session, set up the analog gear we use, evaluate the new version, make any adjustments necessary to EQ, compression, etc. and create a new master and proof.
Post-production tune up* — $90 (30 songs maximum)
Does your album just need some minor editing and clean-up? Our Post-production tune up service includes cleaning up or smoothing fade-outs, removing unwanted noises between songs, adjusting the level on songs slightly to improve consistency, re-sequencing, etc. The final steps to help finalize your album and make sure it’s ready for distribution. PS. Projects needing a significant volume increase, EQ adjustments, or a complete, real-time listen through the entire album, will require a full mastering session.
Music transfers/restorations — $22/hr
We love analog masters in The COLOVE MS! Whether it’s a mix-down on ½” tape at 30ips, or the last surviving copy of an album you released on vinyl or cassette, we can not only play it back, we can clean-up and enhance your master as well!
Audio editing — $30/hr
From a basic music edit to remove the sound of a drum stick at the end of a song, to more advanced work like reversing words to create a clean version of your song, The COLOVE MS has the tools and experience to make these changes.
Artist attended sessions — $100/hr
Join your selected professional mastering engineer in one of our COLOVE MS studios and get a first hand look at the process behind mastering your music project.
Mastered for Apple Music, Beatport, Spotify — $10/track
Our AI software have the tools and expertise to create the high-resolution files Apple or Beatport requires so your music will sound as good as possible when sold in the Apple Music Store, Beatport or streamed on Spotify. Music.
How we are working
Experience the clarity that professional mastering will bring out in your music. Simply upload a finished mix: We'll master your song and send back a 2-7 hours a studio sample at no cost. We are use the most powerful hardware and AI software by «COLOVE Recordings» to handle your sounds of songs.
Lossy file formats should never be used when submitting an audio file for mastering.
The two most popular file types for mastering are: .WAV and .AIFF. Both of these file types are lossless (non-compresses/converted), and either file type is excellent for a mastering engineer to work with. AIFF files are normally used on Mac systems while WAV files are traditionally PC. Make sure your mastering studio is able to work with the format you have.
Additional to using .WAV or .AIFF file types. When submitting a mix for mastering. The file should be kept in the same resolution as it was mixed in (no down conversions).
For Example: A song mixed at 16 or 24bit from 44 to 96kHz should be submitted as a 16-24bit 44-96kHz file (.WAV or .AIFF)