Your Audio Mastering Online Checklist

Audio mastering online means that you are having your music mastered via an online mastering studio. Nowadays it’s simpler than ever for artists to connect with mastering engineers without even having to do anything beyond shooting an e-mail and their song files themselves along with payment to that engineer.audio mastering online

Also the recent boom in technology means that practically anyone with a computer thinks that they can be a mastering engineer so there are more options and people with audio mastering online studios vying and begging for your attention than ever before which can make it difficult to differentiate one from another when they are all promising roughly the same things.

This is why I have put together this audio mastering online checklist of things which you should consider before starting a relationship with an engineer.

First, make sure that you get a taskmaster from the engineer talking with. I know a lot of artists who will simply listen to the samples on that engineer’s website and decide that this person knows what they’re doing. Just like that they trust them with their music and money before understanding what their own music would sound like in that engineers care.

Any legitimate mastering professional will offer a free taskmaster to all new clients so that they can experience first-hand before and after effects of that engineers handiwork. There is no substitute for hearing your own music master by a particular engineer so do not pass this opportunity up.

Next, make your own checklist of what you want to accomplish with that engineer. How many songs do you need master and what format do you plan on releasing your music? These are two of the most important questions to be able to answer when you are conversing and interacting with a mastering engineer because they need to know these things in order to narrow how much it will cost you and to ensure that they have time to work on your project.

Additional measures need to be implemented and taken when you want your music mastered for a physical release here it some artists opt to forgo releasing their music in a physical format altogether and instead exclusively release it online in digital format. In this case, you don’t need to sequence the record or worry about creating an album file with spaces in between each and every song on that record.

It’s also important that you’re able to contact and get a hold of your engineer whenever you have any problems or issues and you want to have an open communication with them. The last thing you want is to achieve your music back and have problems with it only to find out that the engineer doesn’t have time to work on it or it’s going to cost you more money. These are all things to establish before any money changes hands or work has been done so that there are no uncomfortable moments to ensure they are both on the same page at the end of the day.

What to Look for in a Mastering Engineer

A mastering engineer is someone who is charged with the task of creating an album out of a number of tracks and mastering the audio itself, thereby improving its quality. Not all mastering engineers are the same which is why there are number of things to consider when hiring someone for their mastering services.mastering engineer

First, you could limit your search to mastering engineers who offer a free test master to all new clients. Even if it’s the most respected and decorated engineer in the world, I wouldn’t trust my audio with them before hearing what it’s going to sound like, especially for the cost which is likely associated with hiring the most decorated mastering engineer in the world.

Any reputable engineer will offer a free test master so that you can experience how much better or hopefully not worse your audio will sound in their hands. If they do not offer a free test master to new clients and that’s a red flag which likely suggests that you could have problems down the road if you went with them.

Second, you should consider the cost associated with that mastering engineer. Some engineers charge by the hour or the track whereas others will give you an estimate for the entire project. It’s obviously best to get a quote upfront from that engineer so that you know exactly how much you can expect to pay.

By the same token, you should and need to clearly lay out exactly what you want from that mastering engineer. Some artists these days are concerned with CD or vinyl replication and only want individual tracks to be mastered for online distribution. There are obviously great number more costs associated with creating an entire album file so you need to clearly lay out all of this initially and that will of course dictate how much the entire project will cost.

The engineer will likely have some requirements for you, as well, in terms of the kinds of formats which your audio needs to be in before they will work on it. Many engineers prefer not to or will abstain from working on certain inferior file formats such as MP3 when a wave file is much more preferred.

Ultimately you want to have a good feel and feel like you have a good read on your mastering engineer moving forward with him or her that you know that if there are any issues which need to be addressed you can access them quickly and easily. This is especially helpful in the case of needing to their work after you have receive it back. This is just something else which you should establish with your mastering engineer early on in the process so that there are no surprises moving forward with them.

The Difference When It Comes to Song Mastering

Song mastering is different than more involved CD or vinyl mastering for a number of reasons. First, it exclusively refers to mastering your individual songs themselves so you don’t have to worry about sequencing. Sequencing refers to the ordering of tracks on a CD and the care in terms of spacing them out, creating a table of contents, etc.song mastering

You don’t have to worry about these kinds of things when you don’t have an album file which is going to be replicated, so song mastering is much less involved and exclusively targets the audio itself. That’s the difference, betcause you’re looking to release you music exclusively for online audiences in digital format.

But what specifically happens in song mastering? This is the part of audio post production where certain effects digital or analog are applied to your final rendered mix in order to attain the best possible sound from that audio. Song mastering can be used to significantly improve the audio quality itself even if the recording conditions were lacking. The mastering process can be used to compensate what you didn’t have in the tracking stage. How does this work?

Say you didn’t mic the guitar correctly and it didn’t pick up enough of the instrument’s natural bass tone. By applied equalization and boosting the presence of the low end in that audio spectrum you can thicken out a track which is lacking in the lower end of the spectrum at those lower frequencies.

Boosting the other end of the equalization spectrum will yield a different result as you can make the higher end more prominent in the mix to give the effect of removing the wrapping paper from around the mix so that it comes through much more clearly. The audio will be much crisper but you need to use these effects artfully and sparingly as if you don’t and go overboard then your audio will come off as sounding tinny and grating. Certain frequencies will annoy your listener and the sibilance will be much more perceptible at the cost of that mix’s quality.

You can give the impression of realistic room ambiance by applying reverb after the fact, as well. This can be used to correct a flat mix to give it a lift out of the headphones three dimensional feel to it with a great deal more life. You can think of song mastering as being like a painter crafting a beautiful work of art out of a blank canvas and a good mastering job will substantially boost the quality of your music and provide a much more professional product to your listeners.

Three Reasons to Pay For Music Mastering

Music mastering is not necessary but it will give your music a much more professional sound to it which can be the difference in obtaining a new fan and label interest or not getting any of that. In this article I will give you three reasons for why you should have your music mastered right now.

First, plain and simple music mastering makes your music sound better. Mastering engineers who know what they are doing use EQ and compression albeit sparingly to bring out sounds of your record which you didn’t think possible. It’s like unlocking the true potential of your mix. If you’re skeptical at all at the merits of having your audio mastered to improve the overall tonal quality and give it a much more glossy and professional sound, you should upload one of your songs and receive a free test master from Music Guy Mastering to be blown away at how much better it sounds.music mastering

Secondly, the mastering engineer takes the various songs which make up your record and ensures that they are all at a volume which is unified with every other track on the record. This is a major problem when artists don’t have their music master because each track comes out at a different volume and when simply burned to a CD back to back in the track order they want, the levels of that CD will rise and drop suddenly and awkwardly between tracks. As the saying goes, a producer creates tracks, the mastering engineer creates albums.

While it’s more of a byproduct of a good mastering job rather than the ultimate goal which is a common misnomer amongst those unfamiliar with mastering, the process of mastering tracks raises the volume overall. Once the engineer has assured that each track is sounding as good as it can and is in parity volume wise with every other track on the record, if necessary the engineer can further boost the volume of that record to be analogous to other contemporary records of the day.

This goes back to the idea of your music sounding professional, if someone is listening to your music in a mix with other artists back to back, it’s awkward when they have to adjust their volume up and down because your music is likely that much quieter without mastering than virtually any other artist they’ll have on that mix who has been mastered. It’s a sign of professionalism and legitimacy ultimately which is why you cannot afford to not pay for music mastering.

You don’t even need to break the bank to get music mastering. Whereas some engineers charge $30, $40, or even $50 per track or more, Music Guy Mastering is offering a five dollar per track special through the end of the year. If you think the quality will be compromised for that price, I insist that you upload one of your tracks and receive a free test master from Music Guy Mastering to experience how good your music can be sounding. You won’t come near the same level of quality regardless of how much are paying to another engineer.

What’s the Difference Between CD Mastering and Audio Mastering?

While CD mastering involves audio mastering, more goes into delivering a final product than when you are simply affecting the audio itself. In this article we’re going to talk about the difference between CD mastering and audio mastering.cd mastering

First let’s discuss what is involved in audio mastering. This is what most people think of when they think of mastering as it involves purely sculpting and shaping the audio itself. This is accomplished through use of plugins and effects which can be loaded into your digital audio workstation, plugins such as equalization, limiters, and compression.

Equalization is the most commonly used effect in mastering if necessary because it is used to dissect the audio in different ranges from low to high to affect that section’s presence in the greater mix to achieve different kinds of results. Boosting the low end is very effective when a recording is lacking in a bass sound and you want to compensate for that void. A good example would be on a recorded acoustic guitar if perhaps it was recorded improperly and too far away from the cutaway sound hole in the instrument.

Without this natural bass, you can compensate by augmenting the low end via the EQ, thereby giving the song a thicker presence in the overall mix. On the other end of the spectrum you can add to the high end using EQ to compensate for an abundance of high end or you can alternatively diminish the presence of the low end using the EQ. Boosting the high end can also give a sharper sound to individual tracks in a mix or to the entire song in the mastering stage.

Compressors and limiters are also effective for ensuring that your entire record is at a similar volume with itself. Different songs are likely to be recorded in different environments with different instruments and settings whether it’s intentional or not, so it’s likely that the volumes of those various songs are not in unity with one another. Therefore, even if you’re not performing CD mastering, you’ll want to place all of your final mix tracks on one file in your DAW and consequently use these plugins to ensure that they’re all harmonious with one another level wise.

You can stop right there with normal mastering but when it comes to CD mastering you’re going to go that extra step and actually sequence the record and add data which will be written to the CD itself when replicated. Sequencing refers to creating a table of contents for the record and establishing the flow and breaks between tracks which can be according to the artist’s specifications and data is additionally written as a final step to add information like artist and song info to each track.

When CD mastering, it’s also important that you add that 2 second gap if your software does not do this for you automatically so that it complies with Red Book standards and there will be no playing issues on any CD players. Overall, the ultimate goal is getting a perfect image file, DDP file, or hard disk to be sent for replication so that there are no costly errors which are discovered only after replication has been performed at the plant.

What to Consider Before Online Mastering

Nowadays online mastering is a very viable option for the audio post production stage because audio can be sent digitally. All the mastering engineer needs from you besides your input is the final mixes for each of your songs.

Before you dive into online mastering, consider these points first to make sure you have the best possible experience with whomever you end up going with.online mastering

First and foremost, ask for a free test master of one of your own songs with that online mastering engineer. Any reputable and on the level engineer will offer this and you need to start with this because you need to know what your music will sound like in their hands. It doesn’t matter if they are one of the biggest names in the game and have thousands of artists to their credit or even have a number of before and after samples on their site. What may sound good for one artist may not sound good for you and that extends to mastering just as it does to the recording and mixing stage.

You need to also specify to your engineer what kind of work you need done. This includes how many tracks you need mastered and whether you will need a file for replication, meaning whether or not you are interested in having a physical record either in vinyl or CD format. If you’re just interested in releasing your music online digitally, extra steps are required if you want a CD or vinyl version printed such as sequencing and data will be written.

Next, make sure that you know what to expect in terms of cost with that engineer. Different engineers charge different rates for their services and they may charge by different systems, as well. Some engineers may charge per song, others will charge per hour, and others may quote you a lump sum before even starting the project.

The latter is ideal because you want to know precisely how much you can expect to owe at the end of that session. More importantly, you need to establish with the engineer whom you go with that there can be edits free of charge if you require them. It’s good to establish as much as possible at the beginning of the process before any work has been completed so that there are no awkward moments at the end because the two of you were on different pages about any specific issues in the mastering of your music.

Audio Mastering Tutorial

With the boom in the home computer industry, home recording has really taken off and it’s quite manageable to record your own music at home and on a micro budget. Going one step further, a lot of artists are interested in mastering their own music to save on costs there, as well. This is possible, as well, though not as recommended because it’s generally never a good idea to have the same person record and master your music, especially you.audio mastering tutorial

It’s much more rewarding to get a second opinion from a fresh set of unbiased ears, ears which haven’t been listening to your music as you have during the entire tracking and mixing process.

While it’s not ideal, you can still certainly master your own music, so if you’re interested in doing just that then consider this audio mastering tutorial.

First, ensure that your final mix is exactly how you want it without applying any effects to the output and ensure that you’re not clipping at all. I like to bring down the mix a few decibels below clipping to give myself some room to work with. I mentioned not using any effects on the output as by adding compression, for instance, you limit what you can do after you’ve rendered it to a single file. Once the mix is how you want it, then render it to a single WAVE or AIFF file.

It’s ideal that you master the original rendered file and not any kind of compressed file format such as an MP3 as you lose sound quality. You want to master the highest quality file you can get, then compress it later for any MP3 needs you have after the fact.

Once you have your final mix rendered down to a WAVE, load that file back into a fresh project in your digital audio workstation. At that point fire up your favorite effects of choice starting with EQ. EQ will dissect your mix into generally 3 different bands, low, mid, and high which you can then tweak individually using the EQ plugin. You can boost or take away from their influence within that mix to achieve different results. You might first try the extreme ends of the spectrum such as the lows and highs.

Adding low will obviously give your track a greater bass sound whereas removing the low will take away its influence. Boosting the high end can give the effect of removing the shrink wrap from your mix but going overboard will make it too sharp and grating at those higher frequencies to the point where it’s sacrificing the quality of the mix.

Add or subtract as the track calls for and what sounds best when messing around with it. As you continue to master more mixes, you’ll become more comfortable and experienced with what to do and experiment with.

The Truth About Audio Mastering

Audio mastering is important for a number of reasons. For one thing it’s a final quality assurance from ideally a second and unique set of ears on your music after the tracking and mixing stages have been accomplished. Audio mastering is often final step of post audio production and a great deal more goes into it than people realize. Most people don’t even understand what is involved with audio mastering beyond simply boosting the volumes, so let’s talk about what goes into it.Audio Mastering

Audio mastering first and foremost is about improving the audio. This is accomplished most predominantly through equalization which is an effect either analog or digital which gives you control over the different bands of your complete audio spectrum from low to high.

Boosting or diminishing their presence in the mix overall will yield different results and can be used to positively impact the track and compensate for something it might have been lacking. If you have too much bass presence in your mix then you can diminish its influence by taking away from the low end. Conversely if your mix is lacking in the low end, for instance if you’re recording an instrument which doesn’t have a lot of low frequency like an acoustic guitar recorded high up the neck, then you can augment the low frequency to give that track a stronger presence.

The high end of the spectrum can be boosted slightly to give the track a crisper sound overall but going overboard here can sound too tinny. You can also diminish the influence of the high band at particular frequencies to remove or smooth out grating sibilance sounds in the vocals. The more powerful your EQ plugin, the more detailed you can zoom into your audio spectrum to identify and correct specific frequencies causing issues.

Another important aspect of audio mastering involves the levels of the songs which make up your record. It’s likely that each completed final mix is at a different level than any other track on the record, so the mastering engineer might lay them all out on one long track in their digital audio workstation and use compression and limiters to ensure that each track is at the same volume roughly as that which precedes and follows it.

He or she may also boost the levels of the album as a whole to be more on par with other contemporary records of the day so that when someone listens to your music in a mix of their own with other artists, there are no substantial or noticeable changes in volume.

This has only referred to the audio mastering itself so far, if you want sequencing and a final file or image to be replicated, or in other words you want your music released in a physical format, then what you’re interested in is CD mastering.

What to Consider When You’re Interested in Mastering Services

If you are interested in hiring someone for their mastering services for work on your music, there are a number of things which you need to consider. This article will identify what you should consider when in the market for mastering services.Mastering Services

First, you need to understand what you want to achieve through audio mastering. You should be ready to answer simple questions like how many tracks you want to be mastered, if you want an album file in the end or if you just want individual tracks to be mastered, and in what format do you need your final image file for your record to be delivered. The latter point refers and relates to CD or vinyl replication.

If you already know where you plan on having your CD or vinyl replicated en masse, find out which format they prefer or work with at that replication plant whether that’s a reference CD or if it’s a DDP image.

Secondly, you should consider your budget. Different engineers charge different rates for their mastering services and while this is generally based on experience or longevity in terms of how long they have been around, because a lot of mastering engineers receive their business largely through word of mouth advertising, you can oftentimes find up-and-coming engineers who have a lot of talent but are not charging a great deal because they’re trying to build their name.

Different engineers also work on a track by track or by an hourly basis. Make sure you are clear on how much are going to be paying before the word has been completed or least have some sort of idea. Ideally the engineer will tell you upfront precisely how much your job will cost after you’ve described being out of work you need done.

You should also make sure that your audio is in an ideal format. Some engineers won’t even work with specific file types such as MP3s. As the saying goes, the better your music going in the better it will be coming out.

Finally, you should always make sure to obtain a free test master from the engineer you go with. This is crucial and obvious because you don’t want to spend money before you know what your music will sound like in the hands of this engineer. Just listening to previous jobs that engineer has performed for other artists is not enough. Any reputable engineer will offer a free test master so that you can sample it before committing to them, so take advantage of that.

How Does Mastering Engineering Work

Mastering engineering is a skill which takes years to develop and is only for those with finely tuned ears to pay attention to detail within dense sound images. Mastering engineering as a whole refers to the entire mastering process but then process is made up of a number of different components.How Does Mastering Engineering Work

For instance, mastering engineering can refer to the entire process of creating an image file for an entire record. Once the artist has finished recording their record and the mixing engineer has created the best possible final mix of a particular song, that engineer renders the various individual pieces which make up the complete song into one final file.

Each of those files which make up the various songs on the record are then sent to the mastering engineer and put together in the sequence which will make up the album. The engineer pays attention to spacing between tracks as per the artist’s preferences and writes data to each track such as the individual ISRC codes and title information. Once the table of contents and everything else is completed on that record and everything is precisely the way that the artist wants it, that image file for the entire record is now set to be sent off to the replication plant.

It’s imperative that everything which makes up that CD image file is perfect to be sent off to the CD or vinyl replication plant otherwise it can prove to be a very costly mistake.

The real key to mastering engineering is in the audio production itself. Even after the final mix has been delivered to the mastering engineer, there is still a lot of work which can be done to those individual files. The engineer uses the careful applications of certain tools and plug-ins such as EQ to draw more or less attention to certain ranges of the mix in order to give it its most pristine and strongest presentation. Other common effects include reverb and compression in order to give the track more of a three-dimensional feel to it as well as a more unified sound throughout without sacrificing peaks and the dynamics of the mix.

Mastering engineering is very subjective in terms of what sounds good and what sounds best which is the true purpose for having your music master. Because it’s so subjective, obviously certain engineers are more popular than others. You should never have to take a risk when looking into a new engineer which is why the most reputable engineers out there offer free test masters to the you can experience the changes will make to your music without risking any money.