Mastering Preparation Guide

Preparing your music for mastering:

  • Audio files should be provided in WAV or AIFF format, 44.1kHz to 96kHz (Sample-Rate), 24-Bit, or 32-Bit (Bit-Depth). Make sure the files are at the same sample rate as the project they were mixed in - no upsampling or downsampling afterward. Please don't send Mp3 files. 

  • Try to leave at least 2-3dB of headroom if possible. Make sure nothing is clipping.
  • When preparing stems for stem mastering, organize and group the tracks regarding the instruments and their function in the song. 4 to 7 stems is usually what's needed for most projects.

  • Some mastering engineers require you to disable all mix bus processing before bouncing your audio to be sent for mastering. While this is good practice for certain genres and less-than-perfect mixes, our experience tells us that in order to achieve the best results for each track, you should send it for mastering as "finished" and as close to your final mix as you possibly can. Let us clarify:

  • Whatever you do, make sure to disable clippers and/or limiters inserted on the mix bus for loudness or clipping protection reasons.

  • In most cases, subtle eq, saturation, and/or compression on the mix bus is completely fine. Leave everything on, except the limiter. Especially if top-down mixing approach was used, you really like what you hear and disabling all mix bus processing drastically alters the sound and feel of the track. Most hard-hitting, modern & aggressive-sounding mixes collapse without some mix bus control and coloration, and while we can certainly start from scratch and recreate what you've done, we certainly prefer to spend the time to take it to the next level instead.

  • Not entirely sure about the quality of your mix? Feel free to contact us, and ask. We can provide a free mix review, suggest changes if necessary, and include a free mastered sample. Feel free to send us 2 different versions with and without mix bus processing if you like, describe what you like to achieve, the things you struggled about, take screenshots of the mix bus plugins and let us see the settings. We thrive on getting most out of every single project and every detail comes into play!

  • If you're a novice mixer, or you really like our input and sonic imprint applied to individual elements of your track - stem mastering is our recommended method. Make sure to disable all mix bus processing when preparing your track for stem mastering, but leave automation and individual channel / sub bus processing enabled. All stems should be exported within the same region. Double check if the stems are in sync after exporting! Please include a stereo mix for reference as well, so we can be sure the sum of all stems sounds like the song.

  • When sending multiple songs, it's a good practice to include a text document along with the audio including track list, final song titles and ISRC codes (optional)