The Final Touch
How to prepare your mixes for mastering at Blue Room Productions
Many musicians and engineers still don’t understand the importance of mastering when creating a professional recording. It is a very critical, but often overlooked step of the recording process. Mastering is essential to the recording process and can quickly separate your recording as a professionally produced record from amateur recordings that are unmastered or poorly mastered.
Mastering is often viewed as the last creative step in the production process. Think of it as adding the icing onto the cake. The point of mastering is to tie your songs together in a cohesive fashion, ensuring that the tone, dynamics, and average volume of one song matches that of any other song on the album. Unlike the mix engineer, the mastering engineer has no ability to manipulate the individual tracks in the song to adjust their EQ, compression, or effects. The mastering engineer can only make global changes across the entire mix. Be aware that the mastered versions of your mixes will ultimately only sound as good as the mixes you provide your mastering engineer.
Blue Room Productions welcomes the opportunity to master music from local DC musicians, as well as international artists. Samples of are mastered work are available by clicking on the music player on our homepage. Make sure you listen with high quality speakers or headphones for the best experience.
What do you use to master my music?
Our experienced mastering engineers use a hybrid of analog tube equalizers, classic outboard compressors, Studer 1/2″ and 1/4″ reel to reel decks, as well as the latest Pro Tools HDX plugins to ensure your mixes translate to as many systems as possible. Your mix will leave our studio sounding great on car speakers, laptop speakers, headphones, as well as professional studio monitors and large PA systems. In addition to our processing units, we feature some of the most accurate, flattest monitoring speakers you can find in the world: Lipinski Signature 707A’s. These speakers are used by the mastering professionals at Universal Mastering in Hollywood. Your mixes will be treated with the same amount of care and heard on the same monitoring system as our colleagues at Universal. More info about these speakers available at http://lipinskisound.com/news/universal-uses-lipinski-
How do I prepare my mixes for mastering?
– We want to receive the mix files in the original, native file format and resolution you recorded/mixed in. Most often, this is 44.1 khz, 24 bit. If you don’t know what these numbers mean or how to find the quality of the audio in your mix session, contact an engineer at the Blue Room.
– Do not maximize the volume in your mix. Keep the average RMS level of your mix with about 15 or 18 dB’s of headroom.
– Do not use any EQ across your stereo 2-bus.
– Do not trim the beginning and end of your recording.
– Do not fade in or fade out the recording. These fades should be done post-mastering.
– We have the ability to master MP3’s, but it is STRONGLY recommended to obtain the original WAVE and AIFF file from which the MP3 was made. This is essential to producing a high-quality master! If all you have is an MP3 version of your mix, send it as-is. Do NOT attempt to convert the MP3 to a WAVE file prior to sending it to the studio.
– Avoid using compression across your stereo 2-bus. If you must add some compression to your stereo mix, tread carefully with very gentle compression.
How do I send my mixes to you for e-mastering?
You may send your mix files to us using a number of free file-transfer services. Your files are likely too large to send by email, unless of course you are sending MP3’s (please read the above note regarding submitting MP3’s for mastering). These file-transfer services include:
– and many more….
When can I expect to hear the mastered mixes?
Typically, we can have your mixes turned around in about 7-10 business days. if you have a specific deadline or timeframe for your project, please consult with one of our engineers prior to submitting your mixes. At the conclusion of the mastering, you’ll receive a detailed email with observations and notes of what type of treatment your mixes received during the mastering process. We’ll give you the total time spent on the mixes, the final amount due, and a number of methods of remitting payment for the mixes. After receiving confirmation of payment, you’ll receive your final mastered mixes in both WAVE format as well as lossless M4A AAC using the Mastered for iTunes droplet.
Speak to our staff at Blue Room Productions to receive discounts and price quotes on CD, DVD, or BluRay duplication and packaging. In addition, speak to us about being featured in our “Who Do We Work With?” section of our website!