PURGATORY MASTERING          

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PROCESS

PREPARING YOUR MUSIC FOR MASTERING
  • Leave a minimum of 3dB headroom on your mix. Peak levels as low as -15dB are fine there is no quality loss when working at 24bit.
  • Keep you master channel free of effects (including 'air' EQ boosts and any form of limiting). If you are confident in your engineering ability it is OK to conservatively use a high quality master bus compressor with the appropriate settings. If in doubt as to whether you are doing a good job with your mix compression simply provide me with a version of the composition with and without the master bus compression.
  • Take your time to do the best mix you can. Think about the musicality, dynamics, spatial placement, frequency balance. Do not worry about the overall volume - this is my job!!!
  • Bounce your mixes as 44.1kHz/24-bit .wav files or 48kHz/24-bit .wav files.
  • Listen to your mixes on high quality headphones after the final bounce to check for digital glitches.
  • Listen to your mixes in mono. Do this by clicking the 'mono' button on your hardware mixer and switch one of your monitors off (so that you are only listening to one source).
  • Prepare a sequential track list with the title of the album, correct track names (including correct capitalisation), International Standard Recording Code (ISRC codes) and note any additional CD text that should be included on the master disc. Send this information as a Text file or Word document.
  • Send your mixes as data files not as a red book audio CD. I am happy to accept masters through the postal service or download them from the Internet. Dropbox is a useful tool for sharing files (simply create a folder and share it with my DropBox email found on the contact page of this website). Uploaded files can be compressed using FLAC lossless compression.

COMMUNICATION

  • Great mastering is born out of good communication. Before commencing work on the project we will have a chat in person, over the telephone or exchange emails to ensure the best is gleamed from the mastering sessions.
  • If you have reference material that you would like me to hear before mastering the project please feel free to send me high quality mp3's. This information can help me form an idea of the loudness, tone and dynamics you are looking to achieve from your project. If I feel the reference material is unsuitable for your music I will offer reference to better engineered or more appropriate alternatives that we can discuss before commencing the mastering.
  • I frequently request small changes to the mixes of home engineered projects. Please do not be offended by this. Typically independent artists working alone in acoustically untreated rooms find it difficult to remain objective about mixes. A fresh pair of trained ears listening in a treated room can often notice details that would be best corrected by small alterations to the mix.

MASTERING


  • Mastering typically take a day and a morning.
  • Initially I listen to the complete album whilst making detailed notes.
  • After detailed listening I then begin to make various experiments to decided upon best signal chain and optimum overall volume for the project.
  • Next the project is mastered.
  • On the morning following the mastering session I listen back with fresh ears to check my work and make any small alterations.
  • I then email the client with a download link for the project. The files are sent in 44.1kHz/16-bit stereo .wav format for digital and CD releases and 44.1kHz/24-bit .wav files for vinyl releases.
  • The client approves the work.
  • The production master and listening copy are then burned.

THE MASTER DISCS

  • Once the mastering is complete two copies of the master disc will be sent to you or your record label. Both discs are burned on a Plextor Premium 2 Burner. This is a high quality CD burner capable of burning ISRC.
  • All discs are thoroughly error checked using Plextor software and clean error reports provided.
  • Taiyo Yuden CD-R are used as media.
  • The first disc is a listening copy.
  • The second disc is delivered in a sealed box. This disc should not be opened or played. Instead it should be handed directly to the manufacturing plant.


- RUDI ARAPAHOE -


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