Without a doubt, mastering is one of the most important stages in music production. Without proper mastering, your track will not compare in quality or volume to tracks from the pros. Once you are satisfied with your production and have gone through a thorough mixdown process, you are ready for mastering. Even as an advanced producer, there are many reasons why you should consider sending your track to a third party for mastering including: pros using proper equipment, expertise, and the fact that the original producer has spent so much time with the production, they may not hear unwanted frequencies. That being said, there are ways to best prepare your track for mastering to get the most out of the mastering stage.
First, we will start off with leaving headroom in the track. Most professionals will recommend your track peaking at -7 db to -5 db so that the mastering engineer has room to work with. If your track is hitting at 0 db, there isn’t a whole lot of room for the engineer to work with. Make sure to use your DAW’s output levels to make sure your track is peaking at the right levels.
Second, your mastering channel should be clean without any compressors or limiters. Make sure to keep sound enhancing plug ins off as well. We will add the compression and EQ to best fit your track.
Third. We recommend sending the highest quality format you can and would highly advise against sending Mp3 formatted files to any mastering engineers (If you can even find anyone who will accept them). 44100 hz, 24 bit WAV files are the most commonly accepted format for the mastering process.
Finally, make sure you send a note with your track as to any specific requests from your mastering engineer. Most of the time they will know best as they probably work with this stage of the production process all day long, but if you have any input, I’m sure they would be happy to hear as the customer is always right!
Make sure to check out our mastering service here on our site. We offer super competitive pricing and give away free mastering in our biweekly giveaways.
I have included a video from Production Bytes which can give you a better understanding of the steps outlined above.
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