When your tracking and mixing are done, and it's time to put the finishing touches on your material, you want mastering that fulfills your musical and artistic vision—and, that also satisfies the sonic and technical demands of broadcast and reproduction—whether that be for CD, vinyl, radio, television, video, or for the Internet. There are several ways to go about mastering, from the simpler all-digital ”in the box” methods to the more involved analog processing utilizing some time-tested, grin-inducing outboard equipment. All that's available here, and at rates that support independent artists and their efforts. SACD and DSD facility are also available here at Mu-Spot Mastering. You can learn more about mastering here. Not mastering audio when it's intended for public consumption—or, (better), choosing to master (even if the music only serves private use) is akin to Mark Twain's assessment (made here in relation to this audio context), “It's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” I have seen some online chatter from other engineers/producers recently—indicating a trifling 'disdain' for the mastering process. I'm not sure if it's a Fox and the Grapes sort of 'putdown' based on (the lack of) resources or know-how—or just plain ol' ignorance. I also can't really determine the degree to which they are speaking for their own clients…or for themselves. Perhaps the 'misunderstanding' here is a by-product of audio being played increasingly through the worst sounding devices ever conceived for audio… namely smart phones, and their stock, lackluster speakers. I mean, how good does it really have to sound?! (I do endeavor to see that audio translates well to mobile devices). Perhaps it's a consequence of some perceived 'limitations' in the process they use to justify the perception that it's "just not all that important." I'm not sure what those limitations may be: does a baker see limitations in applying icing to the cake she's baked? Quality mastering is essential in creating 'competitive' audio. There are so many varying destinations for audio , and the requirements for each can be just as varied. Striking a balance between audio that is destined for radio broadcast, as a video component, and the Internet, too, requires not only the skills to make the appropriate discernments contingent upon the medium, but also the tools to best accomplish the tasks at hand. Sometimes it's even best to master for specific, particular applications separately. Mastering really isn't “merely slapping Izotope's Ozone (or another digital equivalent) on the mix buss and being done with it… we're now 'competitive'.” Ozone is indeed a marvelous tool to have in one's audio tool-chest. It gets used on the regular here, but mostly as an adjunct to high quality analog equipment. It can be helpful in giving the impression (you know, to get an idea) of a finished 'master' with increased loudness and some spectral 'balancing' after a mix is done. Ozone can be a nice foundation upon which an all-digital mastering effort is based. But it shouldn't be the only one. I bet you own more than one pair of shoes!
Quality mastering is an involved, respectful process. And it always will be here. Yes, we can go all-digital, if that's what you want, or we can go full-blown analog in the processing. We can mix and match the two (most likely scenario for the best results). We can even do high definition DSD (Direct Stream Digital). There are several levels of mastering available here, with varying budgets indicated. I'm certain we can find a place in all this that meets your needs. Sound integrity remains a watchword here. I look forward to helping you meet… even to exceed the expectations you have for your material and the mastering experience as well.
You can download a checklist and rate sheet below.
It's not rocket surgery, but a proper listening space and top-of-the-line equipment are essential for quality mastering.
Sometimes the nature of your project can benefit from a "one size fits all" approach. And, you get to save some money!
Two important concepts on file resolution here. Applies to tracking, mixing, and mastering.
It's the standard for Compact Disc authoring and manufacture.
You should add text to your CD's so listeners can get all the detail credits on your recordings.
The most effective way to deliver your finished product for CD manufacture
Keep track of yourpotential royalties better with these codes.
The easiest way to take delivery of finished mixes and masters
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