It's easy to send us files
either over our internet server or by using our File Upload page. Contact us for easy
details on using our internet server.
We do our best to estimate the costs of your project, and every one is
How we deliver our work to you:
Audio files sent to you over the internet - simply provide your valid
Audio reference CDR(s) picked up here or shipped to you
or DDP masters picked up here or shipped to you
MP3's or AAC's converted from mastered audio files
Payment in full is required for delivery
of these above completed formats.
5. 16, 24 or 32 bit audio data copied to hard drive, DVD, CDR, Flash
Drive (aka "thumb")
or other media drives
For 4 songs
or less, full estimated cost is payable in advance. That way we send
you full-length audio files or reference disc(s) to audition. Sending
full-length mastered audio files to you is considered delivery of our
For 5 songs
or more, brand new clients may choose to pay a 50% deposit to hear how
the sound is progressing early-on. We can send 50%-length audio samples
for you to hear based on a 50% deposit. Full project payment gets you
delivery of 100%-length reference audio files sent to you.
Let us know if you want hard copy masters. Shipping costs are addtional
to the studio rate and payable prior to delivery. Full payment is
required for us to upload DDP files to your replicator or other server.
amount would be beneficial to your sound, we'll let you know the amount
due so you can send payment and get your master quickly.
Please fill out our Booking Form so we
know the artist name, album title, song sequence, your sonic goals etc.
us or call now to schedule your time.
Pack your masters
securely if shipping them to us. PLEASE use some kind of light
box and put padding between
each and every CDR jewel case! It saves time and money to be
Please include your typed name,
address, phone, payment amount, and email information (shipping
labels sometimes fade) with your notes about
music. The same is helpful via email. Let us know what you'd like to
hear in the way of enhancements, the order of the songs,
what are the important things that should shine, what you plan to do
with your CD, who's hands you want it to land in, marketing plans,
etc. We are happy to ship directly to your pressing plant or
record label if you prefer.
• We don't
recommend using P.O. Boxes for your return address.
• Use a
return address where someone will get your package.
• Unless you request
it, we do not waive a signature when shipping to you.
• When shipping your music to us, we
don't recommend the US Post Office. Fed Ex is
John, I am reletivly new to the mastering deal, and productions in
general. What are Separations? My real goal is to bring all these
tracks together in the same range. -Mike
A) Separations are making
files of the basic
elements in your mix -
stereo drums, instruments, vocals etc. and sending them to us along
with your standard 2-track mix. We have more control over the
your music when we can "operate" on the different parts vs. digging
into a stereo file. It's an amazing format that solves quite a
issues that folks have at mix/mastering time.
As producer on
this project, I am finding it difficult to "match" the songs from
Every song has
"flavor" and by the end of the project, every
mix leans in slightly different directions. It's common for
songs to appear to have different vocal levels that don't match up,
even when they felt perfect at mix time. Separation Mastering
eliminates that concern, because you can't go wrong. You mix it
way you feel it, and we can correct any song-to-song projection of the
vocal. It's all recallable, non-destructive and it puts the ideal
match of technological flexibility and time-tested expertise at
disposal at a reasonable price.
John - The band wants to know how can we be sure that you'll get us the
sound we're looking for? - Steven.
question! Tell us what you're looking for! It helps if
you send us a clean copy of a couple commercial CDs that you love
the sound of (or a "compilation CDR copy" of 3-5 songs from different
artists). This gives us an exact idea of what you like in your
area of music. During your session, we'll refer to the commercial CDs
you send just as if you were here.
particular things you'd like us to work on in individual
songs, or any over-all emphasis. Let us know what characteristics you
like about the reference CDs you include. Let us know how detailed
you'd like us to get. We comment and communicate with you about your
project, so expect that we'll all be on the same page all the way.
After you have
your first reference CDR, there are still creative changes or
basic corrections that can
Unusual: We sometimes offer
suggestions or ideas that are not usually approached in regular
mastering practices. For instance, we might suggest a shorter
intro for a song if it's especially targeted for airplay or publishing
demos -- we might suggest tightening up some aspects of the playing on
the tracks themselves, especially at the entrances to phrases -- we
might suggest cloning a better-performed section and insert it in place
of another section. Especially when we have Separations, we can
give a lot more creative input than just "eq, levels, and
compression". WE ARE NOT MARRIED TO OUR IDEAS. Your goals
are our goals,
and we do not take it personally if you prefer your original
idea. If you would like us to make any suggestions as far as song
order or mix ideas, we're at your service.
Q) John, would you listen to one of our
songs? I'd just like an opinion from someone well educated to decide if
its even worth our time or money to make a full album. -Jon
gain is where
the signal is supposed to be ideal, or at
least it's a place where you have room above and below the signal to
get great sound and less noise. See your instruction manuals to
get more info about your gear and how it's best set up, and above all,
use your ears.. carefully!
shouldn't be the "measuring stick" by which you decide to
do your project or not. If you love your music, and if others would
enjoy listening to it on CD, if their iPod would welcome your music,
then follow your mind and heart. Some projects sound like platinum to
us, and some don't -- but it's all about your dreams! In the end,
all who were involved in your project will have grown - it's a great
Will there be
uncertainty? Sure, why not? Nothing teaches life
navigation any better than just steping up to the plate and taking a
swing. Let the process motivate you. Rejecting yourself
will never give you a smile. Honor your vision, but keep it
in balance. Don't sell the farm or put yourself at great risk.
Key: Imagine what
it would feel like once the project is done. Will you be more
excited or less if you had a completed CD in your hand, ready to
promote, ready to share, ready to sell? Often when we make the
decision based on what we'll gain, versus what we stand to lose, the
choice is clear. Then just set your intentions - your firm
direction - your ability to make things happen and draw in the support
you deserve. You'll be surprised how many people want to see you
achieve your dreams....
May the force
be with you!
Q) Would it
if the finished
mixes were sorta flat, or if they were brighter, leaving the balancing
to the mastering process?
Make it as much
to your liking as possible. Listen on different
systems, in the car, on the roof, under water, whatever. If you like
what you have, you're good to go. Don't try to pre-guess or pre-set for
mastering. Don't compress or limit the stereo buss (unless it's the
only way to get your sound), but certainly compress as needed on
individual tracks. Don't
worry much about the loud
volume levels of commercial CDs. Mastering
tackle's the volume issue. It's always helpful to do
level-matched A/B comparisons to reference CDs in the studio too -
don't be shy - do critial listening into the mixes of commercial
recordings. If you send in Separations,
you're particularly in good shape because refinements to the separated
musical elements make for excellent musical balance and an improved CD
of the tracks hit
between +4 and +8 on the stereo VU meter having the volume level set at
unity? Would this make the compression process bring out the bottom so
much that it would sound distorted?
This is quite a
question, actually. Increasing the level going
into a compressor can increase sustain in the bottom range, causing low
frequencies (which have more energy) to break up at different
points. (High frequencies have more intensity, and can cause
different issues as well.)
know: A standard VU meter
only displays up to +3 VU, but the
amount of voltage of
the actual electronic signal that the meter is
displaying is different than the VU meter's numeric scale. "+4"
is "line level" which equals about 1.23 volts (+8 output level would be
a non-standard voltage). Typically, line level should be
represented by a meter reading of "0VU" in a common signal path in the
hardware world. See, VU meters were designed to "look" like the
sound you hear, and often they were paired up with analog tape.
But the trick is that tape actually has 14 dB of headroom above the
calibrated standard "0" VU meter display! The "bonus" area of +1
+2 and +3 on a VU meter really is just the beginning of the headroom
that's supposed to be there for the purpose of avoiding
we think back to the days of
slamming meters when recording to analog tape. Slamming the
going to analog tape (meter's-a-peggin') used to be cool (remember
there was actually 11 dB more invisible headroom above the VU meter's
those pesky red clipping lights on a Full Scale digital meter (peak) is
definitely NOT cool because there is no "bonus" room above
clipping! Those red lights don't sound good the way analog
pegging sounded! Don't look at them the same way you look at a VU
show you a different picture that is Full Scale, meaning
there is NO headroom above the top. None. Full scale meters
the peaks with no averaging (unless it's a Dorrough meter). For
instance, a triangle or other small percussion instrument
can "light up" a digital peak meter all the way, but hardly move the
needle on an analog meter. We recommend at least 2 dB of headroom
before clipping an digital meter. The main
reason you don't see VU meters on digital audio workstations is because
the software company doesn't know how you are going to calibrate
your D-A converters which determine how much electronic signal strength
you're putting out.
gain structure is
important at all stages to avoid distortion. Unity gain is really a
point in hardware gear where the calibrated signal in equals the same
calibrated signal out. Digital virtual consoles and plug ins
often operate the same way, but distortion occurs at different points
in different systems. Calibrating digital systems (with a smooth
sine wave test tone) starts at -18dBFS which has been a
"standard" reference point (18dB below full clipping). However it
gets confusing when it comes to audio CDs, which have gotten
louder (a more elevated level) and so sometimes the D-A converter
output needs to be changed to accommodate a hotter signal that could
I will soon have more compressors to mix
with, but this project now will be uncompressed, so will that be a
problem to master properly?
really, especially if you send in Separations. We can address
the compression of the individual elements very effectively here.
Meanwhile, you can use the old school technique of riding the faders on
individual tracks (manual compression) to a good degree - and if you
get a mix that you're happy with, we'll just make it even better!
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