What is audio mastering?


Mastering, or better pre-mastering, is the last step in the production process before a project goes to the printing plant. It's the last chance to revise your products. For that we offer a sevice that let you ask for modifications up your satisfaction. The first step In mastering is a critical listening of the track. Each aspect is carefully evaluated in both musical and technical elements. According with that the mastering engineer will choose the best approach to achieve the aim to bring out every sonic "ingredient" of a musical composition: impact, purity, emotional feeling, musical passages. Each song is unique and needs a different way of working. For that you must beware who advertise for mastering at very cheap price. They usually let the track pass through a chain of fixed processors like in a assembly line. Mastering is a complex and time consuming work and need a lot of expensive gears, a good sounding room, good sounding speakers, years of experience and a lot of patience! Performing editing and fades, cleaning from unwanted noises, giving tonal and spectral balance, adding punch, depth,emphasizing or reducing dynamics, confer analog feeling and even decide the sequence of the tracks are the most common operations to ensure the final touch to your creations.

What is stem mastering?


Stems are stereo tracks each with a group of instruments and their effects. If you want you can bounce your track in different group of instruments, for example voices, drums, guitars and all the rest. Each of these stereo track is called "stem". Stems give to the mastering engineer a wide range of possibilities to enhance the sonic peculiarities of your song. More possibilities equals more complex and time consuming works! For that stem mastering is offered at higher price.

Why mastering is usually a separate step from mixing?


First evidence: the psychological aspect. Two new hears that have never listen to the song before. During recording and mixdown the artist, the engineer and the producer working hard on the project get used with their sound. There is a lost of objectivity.
Second evidence: the technical aspect. Mastering studios have very good listening environment, very good speakers, high-end analog and digital equipments and specific skills.

How can I prepare my files for the best result?


First of all remove any compressor, limiter, multi-band, maximizer, EQ or dithering processor from bus master. Thence avoid any kind of sample rate conversion (e.g. from 96KHz to 44.1KHz) or world lenght change (e.g. from 24bit to 16bit) but simply bounce your tracks at project's resolution. Pay attention that no clippings occurred during recording or mixdown and leave, for greater safety, at least 3 dB before clipping (don't exceed -3dB FS). Do not normalize your tracks, it's an unnecessary processing step that only reduce dynamic. If you need a DDP file or any sort of disc authoring, please write a number prefix on your track's name (01trackname, 02trackname...) to let us known your track sequencing selection. Any communication about your expectation will be very appreciated.

Which type of file do you accept?


We accept all common types of PCM uncompressed audio files like Wave, BWF (Broadcast WAVE), AIFF, SD2 (but we advise to not use this kind of file because it is obsolete and can create problems when trasferring files between platforms). We can accept lossless coded audio files like Flac and Monkey's Audio files (.ape). Please no lossy coded files like mp3, .AAC, .WMA.

Which type of file do you deliver?


We usually deliver a final master in 16 bit at 44.1 Khz BWF file (.wav). If you need we can deliver a DDP image file or send you via traditional postal service a Red Book compatible reference CD. With the DDP image file you will recevive, at no additional cost, a player to listen to the DDP file directly.

Why should I send my files like archive .zip or .rar?


Archives .zip or .rar save you time for uploading and it's a simple way to ensure data integrity.

Can I evaluate your job before paying?


Sure! Once mastering is ready we will send you a sample (a part of the track) in CD resolution (44.1 KHz / 16 bit). In this way you can evaluate the job before any payment and ask for changes if any were needed.

I can't see any button to do the payment. How can I take place of it?


Once the job is to your liking we will send you by e-mail a link to a secure PayPal page where you can pay with PayPal or credit card.

Blue Mastering – Analog and Digital Equipments – Online Mastering Services