BAD RACKET: Mastering Studio in Cleveland
Our mastering studio is second to none. With the latest digital and analog tools to help you with your project and affordable rates, you can bet our work is on par with industry standards. You can check out our process, or visit our studio for a free evaluation.
Mastering is the final process of adjusting the EQ and Dynamics with various sweetening and general polishing of tracks before the final production phase. Our client communication is great, and you can bet our professional touch will make your work the best it can be. Each project is different and evaluate each customers needs and provide excellent work for a variety of styles and purposes. Vinyl mastering project, or a simple digital release, we have the adaptability to provide the right ears for your project.
Feel free to contact us for a custom quote, or if you have any questions. Our professional advice and free consultation could be the next step towards a higher quality end-result with a maximum bang for your buck.
Preparing your files for mastering for the highest quality results.
In general, mastering is the process of preparing mixes for production. It keeps in mind the quality specification of each type of reproduction, as well as the order and presentation of the song in a meaningful way. You will want to master the highest quality files possible, so don’t send mp3 files expecting to get the same level of quality as high quality uncompressed WAV or AIFF files. They can be stereo files, or multichannel, but keep in mind, this should be be final mix. Master Bus EQ and Compression is ok, but went in doubt, send 2 versions.
Double triple quadruple check your final mixes
Double check the files you are sending are the intended FINAL mix. Mastering isn’t some magical process that takes your garbage and spits out amazing excellence. It is important for quality mixes without excess compression or bad fades or errors in the editing. The mastering process is meant to bring out the details of your project, and if its just layers of garbage, you can expect a wonderful colorful smear of garbage with glitter on top and icing and balloons in the final product.
Send high quality WAV or AIFF Files.
Audio files should not crushed with compression. Not extremely quiet but also not clipping in the red hard. Look at the files in an audio editor. Do they look like happy furry wave forms or black slug blobs? Remove or reduce the final compression, limiting, or volume maximizers on the final bus which are just to raise the overall volume.
Send the same bit depth and sample rate that you recorded and mixed at. For example, if you recorded at 44.1k 24 bit then send 44.1k 24 bit stereo WAV’s of your mixes. Don’t send mp3 m4a or wma files unless there is no other option. There is a reduction in quality for these types of compressed files.
Avoid Over compression
A mix that has already been very compressed will likely change very little for the better in mastering. A square waveform in the editor is usually bad. Although waveforms in the DAW will usually grow larger as work on the mix progresses, you want something with at least a few dB of headroom for the mastering stage. Once that headroom is lost, there is nothing that can be done to get it back. If you resist the urge to send the loudest mixes possible, the mastered version will be even better, with a natural compression and punchiness, and none of the bad side effects that over compressed music can have. We will make sure your mixes are at industry standard volumes for your style and taste.
Don’t Clip any Inputs or Outputs
Avoid clipping during the recording and mixing stage, Set time to set proper gain for tracks, with a master output peaking and ideally no more than -3db or so. The volume levels can be brought up appropriately in the mixing stage, and in the mastering stage as well, so don’t worry if the tracks are a little low. By a little, we mean somewhere larger than a flat line, but not a square box in the DAW, that way the natural dynamics are preserved. If the input to the converters is clipped or clipping on the output is over zero, the digital audio data is lost and quality is lost. One or two digital clips is not an “end-game” necessarily, and modern music has all types of clipping in it once its released, so don’t sweat it, but do the best you can.
Avoid Too much Sauce and Effects
Once you drench the tracks in reverb and effects, you can’t ever make it dryer. Reverb and similar effects might sound nice, but if it makes the vocals incomprehensible, what’s the point. You decide in the mix process what is reasonable and sounds best, and reverb can help round out the rough spots in a song, or really add a nice effect, but too much of a good thing is just that, too much. When in doubt, lean towards a dryer less effected sound. Distortion and reverb can be added more and more in almost every step of the process, so you can always have a more reverberant sound later by adding more reverb.
Remove unwanted noises from the start
Properly fade in or fade out noises. Use noise reduction or gating to clean up the tracks wherever possible. Modern techniques can remove unwanted hiss or hum. The cleaner and less hum and background noise the better. By limiting the amount of noise on every track, the overall clarity will be better. Reduce fan noise, amp humming, or any extraneous noises during the tracking process as much as possible. We can remove noise and hum in the mastering process, but it will be better if its clean right from the start. Remove any clicks or weird noises that may happen to be in the recording. Fade in all edits and fade out all the tracks at the end. Again, we can remove clicks, but it will much better if a proper fade to zero on all clips and edits.
Mix, Mix, and Re-Mix
Many times mastering can make a bad mix sound even worse. If you are unsure your mixes are good enough, ask about a free test mastering. A small sample of mastered audio can put into perspective what the mastering process will do to your mixes.
Again: Critically Evaluate the Mixes
Make your next work your best sounding yet!
On occasion, mastering will reveal that the mixes still need more work, often, we are compensating or adjusting for mixes that. ideally. should have been adjusted in the mixing process. If you get in over your head, ask about mixing services for even higher quality work, or touch up mixing for those who are a little unsure about their mixes. Mixing should place the primary components of the mix in a balanced and logical manner. mastering is just optimizing the mixes for playback, and having another engineer double check the over all sound of the mix. Regardless, we are happy to make your music come to life!
Sending Large Mastering Files: Tips
We recommend using Wetransfer.com, Google Drive, or Drop Box to send the files. It’s ok to use zip compression if you like.
We have mastered audio from around the world, so you can pay with paypal or any credit card.
More about the details of mastering audio in our studio can be found in this article: Mastering Process in our Cleveland, Ohio Mastering Studio
Contact Us about your mastering project today!