As I now have access to a fantastic professional studio with a full acoustically treated room, as well as some high end equipment, I now offer my services to stem mix and/or master other peoples work.
Mastering is the last stage of production. It is the last chance to alter the sonic presentation and is where the various parts of a song are brought together into a cohesive whole. The mastering room provides a different (hopefully accurate) monitoring situation and a set of fresh ears to help the artist and producer achieve their vision for the final record.
My most commonly used tools I reach for when I am about to master a finished song is a compressor, eq, and a limiter. Depending on how the artist has done the mix down, I will sometimes use a stereo enhancement tool, a harmonic exciter and a variety of other tools.
(Stem mixing info is towards the end of this post)
I master all genres of music for many top artist and labels including:
Universal Music (MAJOR) Big Fish Recordings Sick Slaughterhouse Records Funkk Sound Records Royal Fetish Records Rockforce Records Bass Drop Records Antiblaze Records 50/50 Records Awakened Records Offliberty Records Marshmallow Gun Music Skunk Butter Records Electric Fist Recordings
I provide a RISK FREE mastering service. This is because the artist can hear their song mastered before they have to pay a single cent. This is how the process works:
- You send me the correctly prepared .wav file of your song. - I master it - I then send you a preview of your track to ensure you are satisfied (Preview is a 320mp3) - You pay (via paypal) - I send you full and final version of your track as a 16 bit .wav audio file - EASY (This is the format that Beatport and pretty much everyone accepts.)
** NOTE **
Please know that it is fairly common practice and totally acceptable if you (the client/artist) want to make changes on your end with the mixdown after hearing the preview with mastering applied. 95% of the time making adjustments to the mixdown, rather than the mastering session will result in a far better finished product. So once you have made the necessary tweaks in your mixdown, just send me the new mix and I will run it straight back through the mastering chain for a fair comparison.
Once the mastering transaction is complete, your project file will be deleted from the work computer after 1 -2 weeks time **
1-2 Tracks = $39USD per track 3-5 Tracks = $34USD per track 6-10 Tracks = $29USD per track 10+ Tracks = $24USD per track
NOTE - Once transaction is completed, if you return with a new updated version of the mix that i mastered for you and you need it re-mastered, assuming that I have the project (mastering chain settings) still saved on my computer, the price for me to print a new WAV is $5USD per track. This is to cover the internet and studio costs, as well as my time.
Payment - All payments are in USD and to be made through paypal. When making the payment please also use the comment section to write in the name of the song.
1 - 3 days * Please note - that im very rarely in the studio on weekends and that because I live in middle earth (New Zealand) Im ahead of the rest of the world.....in most cases im a day ahead of everyone.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR SONG FOR MASTERING:
- The most important stage of the preparation process is the mix down. Before you send your completed song, you must feel 100% satisfied that you have your song mixed to the best of your abilities i.e. - good control over song dynamics, frequencies are in their own space and the volume levels are well balanced.
IMPORTANT: Mastering will not fix a bad mixdown - The better the mix, the better the mastered version will be.
- You must have NO plugins on the master channel. Do not compress or limit your final mix. You will be tempted to do this to make things louder, but it will make the mastering process much more difficult.
- The master output level must be peaking between -6db to -3db. It must not be going into the red i.e. - "clipping" - The best way to give your track this headroom is not by simply lowering the master volume fader, instead, lower all of your individual channels, this will reduce the db reading on your master channel. If you are struggling to make it work using this method, you can resort to lowering the master volume fader in order to get the desired headroom of - 6 to -3db.
- Ensure no individual channels are clipping
- Export/Render/Bounce your song to a stereo WAV or Aiff file. Both these file types are lossless and retain the exact data and audio quality. Must be a 24 bit and 44.1kHz file. Please turn off dither and normalize if you see this option.
- Remove any unwanted noise such as pops and clicks from any tracks. Applying a cross-fade to these problematic spots will most often solve the problem.
NOTE - This is just something I do with my tracks, and what I have found from the 1000's of songs I have mastered. I like to have my drums (particularly my kick and snare/clap just a TINY fraction louder than you want them in the final master version. Although I believe in applying a very transparent mastering chain for most tracks, the kick and the snare is often what gets the compressors and limiters working the hardest, and therefore reduces them a tiny bit back perfectly into the mix)
Another great way to check if your song is prep'd correctly, once you have exported your WAV file, re-import it back into your DAW sequencer so you can analyse the waveform.
If the waveform looks like this, where you can see the edge of the waveform is a flat horizontal line, then you have done something wrong: (most likely left a compressor or limiter on your master)
This pic is also less than ideal. The red box shows the audio waveform of the intro drums/percussion section. The yellow box indicates the chorus section. The difference in the size of the waveforms also means there is a huge difference in the volume between those 2 sections. You want your waveform to be much more even than this:
But if your waveform looks similar to this, then you are ready to send me your song:
To hear an example of some audio before and after I have mastered it, please refer to this soundcloud link below:
These days I offer a slightly more simple stem mixing and mastering service, as opposed to a full on expensive mixing service (where I would mix every single channel from the clients track - this was sometimes 100+ tracks). So for stem mixing + mastering I look to have the track sent to me in these stems:
Kick Snare Hats/Perc Bass/low end elements Synths/Strings/keys Misc Vox FX
The price for stem mixing and then mastering afterwards is $110USD ($75 mix + $35 master)
Of course all these stems need to have the desired headroom of -5 to -3db i.e. the stems cannot be clipping and must NOT be running through any plugs on the master when exporting.
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