Mastering can be a mystery to the uninitiated. Sometimes, the difference between mastered mixes and the originals are subtle and discernable only to the discriminating ear. In other cases, mastering can make a radical difference in volume, presence, and overall clarity. As audio physicians we have taken our own Hippocratic Oath, "First, do no harm”. Sometimes, the least amount of processing is the best.
In truth, mastering can be as simple as a bit of level matching between tracks or as complicated as running the mixes through multiple compressors and various EQs to radically alter the sound. Much of what we do will depend on your tastes, how well the mixes work for you, what style your music is, and even what market the music is aimed at. It was once common wisdom to tailor mixes and masters for car stereos, as that was where most of the audience would first hear a track. These days, ipods, mp3s, internet sites, and various levels of CD players all have to be taken into account. The finalizing process of mastering should prepare your tracks to be as universally compatible as possible with other tracks in their genre while making them cohesive within the context of your entire CD.
Mastering at Desisto Music
After listening to your mix(es), we’ll develop a mastering strategy to fit your project. If you will not be attending your mastering session, we will have a phone consultation to make sure we are on the same page as to how you want your music to sound. As you can see by our gear list we have an analog/digital hybrid studio. "In-the-box" digital mixes will often benefit from being processed through our API DSM mixer, A-Designs "Hammer" tube EQ and Neve Portico Compressor. If necessary, we can then employ any of our Waves Mastering Plug-Ins, including the Linear Phase EQ, Linear Phase MultiBand Compressor, and L3 Ultramaximizer to fine tune your tracks and bring the levels into an appropriate area for their musical genre. Creative fader moves to enhance the dynamic range within a track are sometimes required or desired. Subtle effects such as small amounts of reverb, parallel compression, spatializing, etc, may be employed. Ultimately, our approach will be completely dependent on your musical style and tastes.
Our current mastering fees are: $15 per minute for the first 15 minutes of recorded material and $10 for every minute of recorded material after that. An hour of recorded material, for instance, would cost $675 to master. Any revisions you want to make will cost $25 per song.
If you are attending your mastering session, you can bring your mixes on CD/DVD ROM. The best type of files to create for mastering are 24bit, non-interleaved stereo AIFF or WAV. We suggest you create your mixes at the same sample rate that you recorded your basic tracks. For example, if you recorded at a high sample rate like 96k, bounce down your mixes without converting or dithering. Any other format, such as analog tape, DAT, mp3, etc. can be accommodated but might incur an extra charge.
If you will not be attending your session, which is commonplace, we have a secure FTP server through which we can exchange files from anywhere in the world. After a phone or email consultation we will determine how we will work together and what direction to take. You will then receive a password which will enable you to upload your mixes. We will post the mastered mixes for you to download and approve.
Once your masters are done and approved, we will mail you two audio CD masters ready for duplication. We use and recommend Mitsui and Taiyo Yuden CDR media as these two brands statistically yield very low error rates.
If desired, we can make great sounding MP3 copies of your songs straight from the ProTools HD mastering files at the cost of only $5 per song.
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