Mastering

Mastering is the final step in the production of your music before it is duplicated. It involves processing your tracks and adjusting the tone and dynamics to make them consistent with great-sounding commercial records. It also involves tidying up fades and any glitches and creating a proper ‘Red Book’ CD master ready for duplication, with necessary track information and encoding (PQ, ISRC etc). Your tracks will be ready for the shops, clubs or radio and will stand up against other commercial material.

We will provide you with uncompressed WAV files, high-quality encoded MP3 files (plus embedded metadata and artwork, if desired) and a mastering-grade Red Book CD-R or DDP image (at extra cost, see below).

First demo track for free!

Send us one of your tracks and we’ll master it for free! We offer you the chance to hear what we can do for free, before you commit to your first payment. Simply send us your track and we’ll send you back a clip for you to check out (one per customer, maximum track length 8 minutes).

What we offer

  • Fast turnaround, friendly service
  • High-end mastering for CD production or digital distribution
  • Free archival of your mixes and masters

Pricing

  • £30 GBP per track (<10 tracks)
  • £25 GBP per track (10+ tracks)

    Prices are per track on a single CD / work order and include:
  • Consultation via email
  • Analog and digital processing
  • Noise reduction, click removal etc. if required
  • Fade ins/outs
  • PQ encoding (track markers)
  • ISRC insertion
  • Low-error-rate Red Book master CD-R
  • Downloadable WAV and 320kbps MP3, if required

    Extras:
  • Additional master CD: £7
  • DDP image: £20
  • We accept audio files in the following formats, up to 32bit / 192kHz: WAV, AIFF, SD2

Customer satisfaction

We want to make sure that you’re completely happy with the end result. If you’re not, let us know and we can work with you to make changes to the master until you’re happy.

Tips

  • Although we accept your music on CD-R via post, we prefer it if you upload your music as digital audio files. We don’t accept MP3s for quality reasons.
  • Provide us with as much information as possible when uploading tracks via the web form. This includes your full contact details, track sheets and timing information, any information regarding changes you’d like to see in tone, glitches fixed etc. and especially any reference recordings you’d like to sound like.
  • Please provide us with files that are as high-resolution as possible. We accept Wave, AIFF and SD2 files up to 32bit 192kHz.
  • Also, please do not add any processing to your final mix, including any limiting, compression, EQ, normalisation or dithering. This is very important! However, If a compressor and/or EQ has been on the mix bus throughout the mix process, it's usually best to leave it in place. If the mixdown is very squashed we cannot do much with it and it will (most often) not end up sounding as good as it could do. As a guide, your mixdown/recording should be peaking no higher than -6dBFS. If someone else is engineering for you, please provide them with this information.
  • If your tracks are for commercial release, you’ll almost certainly need ISRC codes. We can insert these into the CD – please provide them on the web form if required.
  • Please remember to leave time for mastering. We aim to complete the mastering as quick as possible, usually in 5-7 working days, but won’t rush if it requires extra work, so please leave plenty of time before any deadlines you may have.
  • The Loudness War – you may or may not be aware of the issues with record labels and bands trying to compete for the loudest sounding music. There is much debate about this in the music industry but our stance is simple – overcompressed (or ‘hypercompressed’) masters are often simply uncomfortable to listen to and usually ruin the music listening experience by destroying the dynamic information which is so important (our ears are most responsive to changes in sound level – there’s not much of this when the music is at a constant ear-splitting level). Therefore we don’t aim to make our masters as loud as physically possible, sacrificing those important dynamics, but nice and reasonably loud but also punchy and pleasing to listen to. Also – hypercompressed masters will often not sound good on radio or on club soundsystems (where even more compression/limiting is often used as standard). This is further complicated by loudness normalisation algorithms employed by online music services such as Spotify.