Mastering FAQ

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About Audiomaster

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I want to send my tracks by post. What is the address?

Send your tracks here:

10 Old Park Road

Can I have a free demo?

Yes! We are happy to provide a free test master for all new clients. Just apply for our online mastering service and upload your tracks. Turnaround times for test masters can vary depending on how busy we are.

When do I pay?

Once your files have been received and checked then an electronic invoice will be sent. You will also receive a provisional start date. The invoice has to be paid prior to any mastering being completed.

What formats can you provide my final master in?

Once your mastering has been completed then we can supply you with a combination of:


You can also download your masters in a variety of formats. The most popular is CD quality 16bit 44.1khz WAV files.

DDP Image

A DDP (Disc Description Protcol) is an image of your CD master. No CD is burnt during this process so this emlimates potential errors. It can also be downloaded/uploaded saving on time and postage costs. Please check with your replicator that they can accept this format but any reputable company will. We also provide a PC/Mac player which allows you to play, burn a reference copy and extract WAV files. More information on the DDP format can be found here.

Red Book CDR Master

Some replicators still insist on sending RedBook CDR masters and we can provide these.  If supplied we can encode with ISRC codes and CD-Text.

For a guide on current mastering formats please click here.


How long does it normally take?

Usually we aim to have your master finished and returned to you within 5-7 working days. This can vary depending on how busy we are the time. Once we have received and checked-in  your tracks then you'll receive a email with an estimated completion date.  If your job is urgent then please contact us to discuss your requirements. We also offer a 48hr priority turnaround option.

Why are you so cheap?

We keep our overheads down by keeping your mastering sessions unattended. Through mail- and internet we are able to cut down our expenses, but without compromising the quality of your master. Any savings we make are passed onto you, our customer.

How can I pay?

We accept the following methods of payment

Debit or Credit card – UK and Overseas customers

We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Switch and Solo. Click on the link below to make a secure payment.

Cheque – UK customers only

Cheques made payable to “Audiomaster Ltd. ”

Bank transfer – UK customers

Use online banking to pay directly. Our account details are:

Account name: Audiomaster Ltd.
Sort code: 404728
Account number: 01760599

Bank transfer – International customers

Consult your bank to transfer directly into our account. Our account details are:

Account name: Audiomaster Ltd.
Bank name: HSBC
IBAN: GB76HBUK40472801760599
BIC code: HBUKGB4165H
Sort code: 404728
Account number:01760599

Why should I trust you with my master?

Steve Kitch has over 20 years worth of experience in the music and mastering industry. His record and customer satisfaction speaks for itself. Using the best in analogue hardware and digital software.

I’m a little uncomfortable with online or mail-order mastering...

Don't worry. All the work we do is through the post or via our online mastering system and we have loads of happy clients. Apart from the cheaper costs, think about the fact that you don't have to sit through a 10 hour session listening to the same 15 second section of your track whilst the EQ is being tweaked! Our engineers are vastly experienced and will know exactly what needs doing to make your tracks sound great. Just make sure you provide lots of notes and examples of other material if needs be.

What if I don’t like the results?

Audiomaster firmly believe that your music is in safe hands with us and that you will be delighted by the results of our mastering. Once your mastering has been completed then you will be able to listen online or download to your computer. Any revisions (within reason) are completed until you are 100% happy. Please note that revisions that involve submitting a new mix will be charged at £10 each.

I’m not really sure what I’m after….

Don't worry. We know exactly what we are doing. Just send us your masters and let us do our magic!

Do I have to be UK based?

No! Our clients are from all across the world. We accept files online, delivery anywhere and can bill in any currency.

What musical styles do you cover?

We have a vast range of experience in ALL styles, so we are pretty confident we can handle anything you want to throw at us. Recent projects have included tracks in the style of rock, pop, r&b, jazz, classical, gospel, rap, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, bangra, dance, metal and latin!

Will you do a test master for me to compare?

Yes, no problem. We can provide a test master for all new clients. Head over to our online mastering page to sign up and upload your track.

How can I send you my tracks?

The easiest way to send your tracks is online. Further details on how to do this can be found here. Alternatively we can accept files on a data CDR/DVDR, audio CD, DAT and mini disc. If you have your music in any other formats then please contact us first.

I wish to try out a few mastering companies. Will you do a free test master?

Sure thing. Send us your track and we will do a free test master for comparison. We just ask that if you are sending to a number of mastering companies then please let us know first.

Should I limit or make my mixes loud before sending for mastering?

In a word no. Gaining maximum volume at mix stage is not important and will only affect the results achievable at the mastering stage. Make sure you remove any limiting when you export your mix and don't allow the master buss to exceed 0db at any point.

Where can I upload my tracks?

All the information on uploading your tracks for mastering can be found at:

Do you master for vinyl?

Mastering specifically for vinyl is different to what is done for CD and digital. We can tailor a master specifically for vinyl making use of the characteristics that vinyl will give you. A 24bit WAV file can be provided for the cutting engineer.

How do I credit you for album artwork etc?

Credits are always appreciated! Mastering credits should be "Mastered at Steve Kitch Mastering".

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About Mastering

What is mastering?

Mastering is the process of transforming your final mix of recordings into a "master" that is acceptable for replication or playback. Some of the steps of the mastering process are straightforward. For example the sequencing of songs into the right order, conversion from DAT to a CD, fading or editing. However, making your recordings sound like a commercial record is a whole different ball game.

Why do I need mastering?

The music market is very demanding and the competition is huge. If you want your tracks to compete then it is vitally important that your CD can hold its own sonically as well as musically. Have you ever wondered why commercial records sound louder than yours? Or why your tracks just don't sound like a "record"? If your tracks have been recorded and mixed at different times (or even at different studios) then you will end up with massive differences in level and tone. Mastering will create a seamless collection of your music that will sound great on radio, TV, in shops and most importantly – in the home of the listener. Whether your music is for commercial release or you are sending demos to get a deal, then you need mastering.

In addition to the sonic differences you will hear with mastering, it is also vitally important that your master is correctly encoded and produced to the Red Book standard. This is necessary if you intend to replicate or sell your work as otherwise your CDs may not play in all CD players or the replication plant may refuse to duplicate your product.

Do I need mixing or mastering?

Mastering is the process of taking the final stereo mix and enhancing it further making it ready for replication, downloads or for commercial use. You will need to mix the tracks to the best of your ability and provide stereo files. Treatment tends to be broad and access to individual elements of the mix is limited if not impossible. It is always best to fix things at source rather than at the mastering stage.

Mixing is blending every individual element of the track (kick, snare, bass, guitar, piano, vocals etc.) to make a cohesive final mix. Every channel can be treated differently allowing for processes such as EQ, compression, reverb, automation etc. We can provide this service if required but it is a lot more time consuming so therefore we charge per hour or project.

What is a DDP master?

The DDP format contains all the data and codes from a CD master and was specially designed for a safe and error free transfer from mastering studio to replication plant. This is now the industry way to send CD masters online. There is no need to create a physical master and unlike a CD there is a file and error protection process. For further information on the DDP format then please read our guide.

Will my CD text appear on a computer?

There are two ways of displaying your song and track titles. When you insert your CD into your computer then the information displayed is drawn from an online database. If nothing has been submitted then nothing will be displayed. This information is not taken from the CD itself.

CDs can store CD-Text which can only be displayed by compatible CD players.

What are ISRC codes?

The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music videorecordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments. If you are going to sell or broadcast your music commercially then it is wise to add these codes to your masters. You will need to apply to your country's ISRC provider to get these codes. Further information can be found at:


How much headroom should I leave?

The most important thing is that the overall mix buss shouldn't exceed 0db at any point. Going over 0dB will cause digital clipping and a loss of dynamics. You should export your mix at 24bit which will allow you to leave plenty of headroom without affecting the audio quality. Around 3-4dB should be fine.

What is Mastered for iTunes?

Mastered for iTunes albums allow artists and recording engineers to deliver music the way they intended it to be heard--such albums have been specially tuned for higher fidelity sound on your computer, stereo, and all Apple devices.

Audiomaster is certified by Apple to supply masters for the Mastered for iTunes store. You can read further information here.

What format should I use when uploading files?

When exporting your final mixes then please use the following guide...

• Remove any mastering/limiting/compression from the overall master buss
• Export making sure the master buss (overall mix) doesn't peak beyond 0db at any point. Reduce the master fader leaving 3-4dB of headroom
• Export the mix as a mixed, stereo 24 or 32bit WAV or AIFF file.


What can I fit onto a CD master?

Here's what you can fit on a Redbook compatible CD master:

  • Maximum number of tracks is 99 .
  • Minimum time limit for a track is 4 seconds.
  • Maximum time for a CD is 74 minutes.
  • Maximum number of index points (subdivisions within a track) is 99 with no minimum time limit.
  • Average space between tracks is 2 to 4 seconds however this can be completely customised.

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