Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mastering ?
Mastering is the final process and the important one in music production that what makes the product ready for public release in any format and for any media. When you finish your mix and the recording will have unbalance of volume and equalization between track to track, This is what will be needed to be fix to give your final product an overall balance and quality that you cannot get and hear without professional mastering. Even if you just have a track this needs to be perfect to the industry standard in volume, quality, and sound. Sonesta Mastering offers professional high-quality online mastering for single tracks and albums.
What’s in the mastering process?
Equalization, compression, Maximization , Dithering, Dynamic Range. Let’s start from the EQ – This is one of the most important steps in the mastering process, years of experience are required for making it sound perfect, in this step the mastering engineer can add what the track needs, perfect EQ mean better result.
The dynamic range are what makes your song sound big, or blasting. In fact that what make it loud, With multiband limiting and compression we will get the signal as loud as possible without clipping the sound in a wrong way. It must be done with full focus on the equalization for make sure we get maximum results, and clean sound.
Dithering is an especially step, and important when projects have been recorded, Many recordings this days are recorded in 24 bit. When you are making your Album CD or converting to other file formats like MP3,mp4 etc. You are most likely going to be converting (24 bit to 16 bit). To do this without quality loss or any others surprises, your songs must be dithered! When you convert from a higher bit rate to a lower bit rate there can be noises in your recording that are not always we can hear them, But if listening on high quality system we will hear this noises or a loss of quality in sound.
What is a Mastering Engineer?
The mastering engineer must have a musical and technical experience and, of course, good ears with top equipment, and technical knowledge that’s what we call mastering engineer. he must know what the music needs for getting the maximum result. Good mastering engineer must know to locate and solve defects at any mix or track, that most of them can’t be distinguished average recording studios.
The mastering engineer must understand many musical styles (and there are lots) he also needs to know editing, and find the smallest to the biggest issue. The mastering engineer need to put it all together with great digital and analog processing tools. He must know what will be the result of the record/mix and how their sound will be in any media or system, when they will be played on YouTube, Soundcloud Radio, Car, Dance floor, TV etc.
Sonesta Mastering offers the best mastering engineer that will make your audio sound perfect!
What is mastering studio?
Mastering studio is a different studio than a normal studio. The gear and the equipment in this studio are only for mastering and mixing process, the acoustics of the room must be perfect so the mastering engineer can hear everything well. The right room acoustics with great equipment inside the mastering studio is the important factor, the mastering engineer needs to hear the mix in detail. The room design must be with a minimum room interference. By working with top gear and great room with experienced mastering engineer, the result will be perfect and the sound will be outstanding.
Why is Mastering Important?
More and more artists have now become aware of the fact that it is possible to record albums in home studios which have incredible sound quality thanks to the technology, being upgraded constantly and also getting cheaper. Compared to the cost of the services provided by a professional studio, this will prove to be a perfect time and money saving option.
Of course, there is a legitimate debate going over the necessity of getting music mastered in a professional studio. But, as it is, if mixing does not require any modification to the volume level, fades, EQ, compression and all that, there is no need for mastering it. But the fact is that these aspects do need mastering in practice. Even some of the best mixing engineers know the advantages accruing from availing themselves of mastering.
In view of the fact that artists spend a lot on gear and recording, it is only logical that they should also spend some extra bucks to aid the sound quality of their production, therefore Sonesta Mastering provides you with affordable rates for outstanding audio mastering services.
Technically, the process of creating a CD gets finished in 5 major steps:
- Writing and arranging the music.
- Digitally record the instruments and vocals or do the stuff on tapes.
- Impose uniformity on tracks through mixing. This is done mainly through compression, EQ adjustment, fades addition and getting help from plug-ins like reverb.
- Mastering that lends finesse to compression, EQ, limiting, and introduces necessary additions to the tracks to make them more cohesive.
- Duplication. This is the last step involving creating copies out of the master disc for distribution to different sales channels
- Since all these steps are essential, it becomes necessary to give proper attention to mastering process. It lends excellence to music.
The advantages offered by mastering are:
Uniformity in volume level through lowering or raising the general level of the tracks. This enables the listener to enjoy entire album through a stereo at one volume level dispensing with the need to adjust it for each and every song. What’s more, the music thus arranged is supported by a number of sound systems like a car stereo, home stereo, headphones and ear buds.Well leveled out EQ which lends consistency to audio quality throughout the album. It does not give the feeling that each track is recorded and mixed at different times and recording environment
EQ adjustment improving upon any imperfections that might find way into the tracks due to erratic mixing process. Such errors could be like adding or subtracting low or high end. Smoother transitions through better fades Space which can be added at the beginning and end of tracks to lend a customized feel to the recording. There is no doubt that mastering process is necessary and highly effective in improving the quality of your music, and it’s also very essential to succeed in the highly competitive music industry.
Why both quality and value is important in the music industry?
Let’s begin with a snippet appearing in Evolver.fm article to help us understand how music is both expensive and free. It goes like: Kids get old and start to have more money than time, which is when they might start paying for stuff they used to have time to track down for free. Applied to the music and CD mastering industry, it directs our attention to two different but related facts, namely, the cost of music and the cost of time.
It is true that free music is available, and it raises serious concern regarding the income of the record labels and artists, especially the independent labels and artists. The only bright spot we can site lies in the wish that either the generation reared on free music tradition grows old or gets so busy that they find no time to find free music.
But the problem here is that even if we wish away this generation, there follows another generation which is going to have sufficient time to spare. However, even this might not cause much of a problem in view of the fact that everything is moving to the cloud. Music is no exception to that. The growing in popularity of services like Pandora and Spotify are a case in point.
But, again, here is a problem. The Evolver.fm article mentioned above also points to the fact that recording artists earn between $0.001 and $0.003 per stream considerably low payments indeed. And, yet, both services are registering the loss of tens of millions of dollars every year!
Nobody knows the solution to the problem bugging the still-new digital music era unless music services start offering tough resistance to the free-of-charge concept. Unfortunately, instead of reputed recording studio and CD mastering businesses offering solid competition to the businesses which are always up with their cheap rates and low quality the facts are quite to the contrary.
Adding to the already existing problems, there is now home recording concept mushrooming rapidly from past couple of decades. It is quite interesting to see how Sonesta Mastering comes up with a viable business model for the digital music industry that works well regardless of free or subscription music from the cloud, paid downloads or some other technological innovation that might come up. It serves quality music and CD mastering services at a highly competitive prize in order to dispel any misconception on listeners part such as free music means low music.
What’s important to know before mastering?
Before approaching a mastering engineer with your creation, it will avail you to know that mastering is something which is not just mixing different musical elements but also a creative discipline. Therefore, to reap most out of your creative endeavors, you need to be clear about the following considerations.
In spite of a lot of talk going about commercial loudness the fact remains that there is not set rule regarding certain level to be maintained for this. There is a positive sign emerging in the form of increasing awareness about the ridiculous proportion to which the volume thing is stretched. There has opened up the legitimate choice of toning down the volume.
Now it is up to you to go as loud as it is technically possible and at the same time weighing the risk of audible clipping. Or you may opt for a balance between volume and sound quality. However, a lot depends on which genre you are working in. Dance masters would go for something loud and hot, which matches their interests. Otherwise it is advisable to compromise the level of volume and stick to a perfect bass.
Related to the question of volume is the issue of dynamics. One only needs to compare the dynamic range offered by the productions of 60s or 70s to the current commercial recordings. What he is sure to find out is that quieter sections are not allowed to be quieter today.
With the increasing use of portable music players, laptop speakers, and all that and shying away from hi-fi systems, it becomes impractical to revert back to the dynamic range of the bygone times. The assistance of a mastering engineer is always there to help you out with your wish to make some of the sections of your music become prominent and thrust other parts into the background for achieving desired effect out of it.
This evinces a marked tendency of today mastering facility to render the recording brighter what with the value attached to the volume and cutting down the low mids. However, if you want more body and well-preserved low end, you can have it like that. Only thing is that you need to keep one eye on the fact that tonality has direct bearing on people reactions to your recording. While loud and bright music is lively and bold, warm and gentle alteration of harmonies sound more avant-garde and convincing. Whereas both impressions are right in their respective places, the question is more about how you want to place your sound preferences.
This is the best way in which you can give a fair idea to a mastering engineer about what sound quality you want. You give him sample music, he gives you his experienced feedback about what it sounds like to his ears. It goes without saying that he is better fitted to judge how it would ultimately sound. Often it so turns out that what you want is something quite different from the reference material you present mastering engineer with. However, the more you are specific in your selection of references, the better understanding your engineer is going to have about what kind of end-result your are seeking.
Sonesta Mastering offers high quality online mastering services to all artists from any kind of genre.
PREPARE YOUR FILES FOR MASTERING
– Send us your songs in WAV or AIF
– Stereo interleaved
– Frequency 48,000 Hz format
– 24 bit resolution or higher
– No limiting, finalizing or mastering plug-in on the master channel
– Between -6 dB headroom
PREPARING YOUR FILES FOR MIXING:
Make audio tracks of all files, start from the beginning of the session till the end, and then make sure all channels on WAV format or AIF and make an archive file, a zip or rar file of these files and upload it to us. You can give us your BPM if you know it, if you dont know, its not a problem.