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:

Steve Kitch Mastering
10 Old Park Road
Exeter
Devon
EX4 4EZ

Can I have a free demo?

Yes! Steve Kitch Mastering is happy to provide a free test master for all new clients. Just apply for our online mastering service and upload your track. Turnaround times for test masters can vary depending on current work schedules. Subject to time and availability.

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 a number of formats can be supplied:

Downloads

You can 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 eliminates 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. A PC/Mac player is supplied 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 these can be provided.  If supplied, ISRC codes and CD-Text can be encoded.

For a guide on current mastering formats please click here.

 

How long does it normally take?

Your masters are usually finished and returned to you within 5-7 working days. This can vary depending on current workload. Once your tracks have been received and checked-in, you'll receive an email with an estimated completion date.  If your job is urgent then please contact in advance to discuss your requirements. There is a 48hr priority turnaround option if you're in a hurry.

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?

The following methods of payment are accepted.

Debit or Credit card – UK and Overseas customers

Including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Switch and Solo.

Cheque – UK customers only

Cheques made payable to “Audiomaster Ltd. ”

Bank transfer – UK customers

Use online banking to pay directly.

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

Bank transfer – International customers

Consult your bank to complete an overseas transfer:

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 mastering...

Don't worry. All the work completed at Steve Kitch Mastering is via the online mastering system with 1000's 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! Steve is vastly experienced and know's exactly what is needed 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?

Steve Kitch Mastering firmly believe that your music is in safe hands and that you will be delighted by the results of your 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. Steve can use the genre and mix to dictate exactly what is needed. Just send in your masters and let the magic happen.

Do I have to be UK based?

Absolutely not! Steve Kitch Mastering has clients are from all across the world. Files are sent online and invoices can be paid in any currency.

What musical styles do you cover?

Steve Kitch has a vast range of experience in ALL styles working with clients all over the world. You can be confident any genre can be handed. Recent projects have included tracks in the style of rock, pop, r&b, jazz, classical, gospel, rap, hip hop, reggae, dancehall, bangra, dance, metal and latin.

Will you do a test master for me to compare?

Yes, no problem. Steve Kitch Mastering can provide a test master for all new clients. Head over to the 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 your track and Steve Kitch Mastering will do a free test master for comparison. Subject to time and availability. If you are sending to a number of mastering companies then please mention this first.

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

In a word no. Gaining maximum volume at the 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. Exporting at 24 or 32bit means you can leave plenty of headroom without affecting any quality.

Where can I upload my tracks?

All the information on uploading your tracks for mastering can be found at: http://www.audiomaster.co.uk/online-mastering/

Do you master for vinyl?

Mastering specifically for vinyl is different to what is done for CD and digital. Steve Kitch Mastering can tailor a master specifically for vinyl making use of the characteristics that vinyl will give you. A 24bit WAV file for each side 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". Thanks in advance.

Displaying 1 - 20 of 2412

About Mastering

What is mastering?

What is mastering? Mastering is the process of transforming the final mixes of your music into a “master” that is acceptable for replication and playback. Some of the steps of the mastering process are straightforward eg. sequence the songs into the right order, fades and adjusting levels so that one is not louder than another unnecessarily. However, making your recording sound like a commercial master is a whole different ballgame. Read more here.

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 track 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 streaming services, 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 in the correct formats.

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 and 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.

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 this 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. You will need to submit your data to CDDB (iTunes), AMG (Windows Media Player and Freedb (everything else).

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's 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:

http://www.audiomaster.co.uk/isrc-codes/

 

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 or 32bit 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 at a higher sample rate and bit resolution. Steve Kitch 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. Some replicators will allow up to 80 minutes if you sign a waiver.
  • 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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