Getting Started!

Welcome! Here is a quick overview of the general mastering process, the studio, payment and terms, and where to begin.

1) WHAT TO SEND AND HOW

2) WHAT TO EXPECT

3) RECEIVING YOUR FINAL MASTER

4) PAYMENT AND TERMS

5) GETTING MIX TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS

6) CREATING A LOUD MASTER!


1) WHAT TO SEND AND HOW

I’ll work with ANY format. That said, I’d prefer to see digital song files as 24 bit, and kept at the sample rate the project was recorded at. If you're using loudness maximizers across your mix, ideally I’d like one version with, and another without ...IF you love the way it works for your mix, then let me know!   .Wav, Aiff, FLAC, doesn’t matter, they are the same.

As far as headroom goes; I’d prefer to get the mixes with no digital clipping, but once again, I’ll make anything you send my way work!

Info I need: I’ll need artist name, song order, title of record, song titles and ISRC codes (if you have them) Spelled exactly as you want them to appear.

Getting projects to me: Today file-sharing services are infinitely more well staffed, secure and reliable than ANY mastering studios’ own FTP. For this reason please feel free to send the send the project my way using whatever file-sharing service you’re comfortable with.

Send to eric@monsterlabaudio.com

Google drive users send to: monsterlabaudio@gmail.com

If sending files over the internet is new to you, feel free to just click the button below and send files to me now, using WeTransfer.com


2) WHAT TO EXPECT

Expect a more refined sound that translates better to a variety of listening environments. The goal is to bring forward the message of the songs as clearly, and effectively as possible, without losing any charm or character associated with the original mixes.

Think of it this way. You’ve created a “movie,” and having the color, and contrast adjusted to improve the way your cinematography engages your audience.


3) RECEIVING YOUR FINAL MASTER

I will send your master to you in a format called a DDP image (Disk Description Protocol) This can serve as both a CD master, and a secure way to keep your files stored safely. I will include software that will enable you to open and preview your DDP, and be able to export your individual mastered song files in any format you choose, error free.


4) PAYMENT AND TERMS

I will email you an electronic invoice you can use to pay using any payment method. Credit card, Bank card, PayPal, or Bank wire. Invoice will be sent once we begin, and paid before masters are sent out.

One touch-up on every song is included for free, this gives you a chance to give me some feedback. After the first touch-up, you’re more than welcome to continue exploring, but at this point additional touch-ups are 25% per song rate each. Additional versions of each song (instrumentals or clean versions for the kids, Mastered for iTunes etc) are an additional 25% song rate each.

One downloadable master is included (your choice of DDP image, OR pre-master for vinyl) More than one type of master (DDP AND Vinyl pre-master) is a small additional fee, check with me. 

.Wav, mp-3’s etc are always included and actually contained within the export features in the DDP.


5) GETTING MIX TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS

I’m more than happy to check your mix before we get rolling. I’ll check to see if anything stands out as awkward, and chime in with any tips to help insure any major problems get resolved before we begin.


6) TRADE-OFFS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN CREATING A LOUD MASTER

Creating loud masters is an art that requires us to push your mix into dynamics processors. This reduces the overall peaks and dynamics of a song, allowing us to bring up the average overall volume.

Pushing a mix into dynamics processors often sounds great. And other times the best sound is achieved allowing a song to breath, and sound more dynamic. What's important is that we “push” mixes to enhance the feel of the music ...not simply to be louder.

The reason is this simple fact; the way in which music is now heard, has drastically changed the way mastering for a aggressive loudness target works.

Fact; 75% of Americans are now listening to music using a streaming service. source:
http://www.twice.com/news/audio/how-music-listening-habits-are-changing/58594

The most popular format for hearing music is now streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music. All streaming services employ a simple algorithm that levels out the average gain between the “loud” masters, and the quieter more dynamic masters.

Since Pandora, Spotify, and all other streaming services automatically adjust the volume, uber-loud masters often come across as slightly quieter! The average gain of both versions gets played back the same, except the more dynamic master gets to “cheat,” temporarily sneaking out amomentary dynamic here and there. In many cases, a more dynamic, open sound, is going to get streamed more loudly.

What’s important is what best serves your artistic vision, ...which may be a “crushed” master! As long as there’s a clear understanding of how the music will actually be heard in the long run, together we’ll hit the bulls-eye!