Rates per song:
$40 standard mastering
$80 stem mastering
Bulk discounts available.
2 free song revisions.
Online delivery welcome.
Prices are in US Dollars.
Cell: +64 211348576
For me, mastering begins with a single thought: can this be better?
Not louder. Not adherring to some mythical 'Radio Ready' standard. Better. Fuller, or thinner. Brighter, or darker. Whatever the track needs, that is what it gets. If it sounds like it needs to be louder - it gets louder. If it sounds like it needs a boost in harmonic overtones, or a bump in some area of eq - again. That's what it gets. Over and over again until it's complete - or as complete as I can make it, personally.
I've been mastering my own work and other people's since 2001. This is my chosen profession. I am details-oriented and quality-focused, and I prefer to take as much time as possible to ensure that the work is right. Hence the per-project rate instead of an hourly rate.
Mastering is the process of taking a finalised stereo mix (or in the case of stem mastering the individual bus groups) and checking that mix on a pair of calibrated, high precision monitors - in a suitable environment and with a different set of eyes and ears to whoever did the mixing.
The mastering engineer can then make decisions about the mix as a whole and adjust to bring the mix to it's full potential where needed. EQ, dynamics, tape and stereo processing are all factors in this. One thing I feel very strongly is that music must have it's mood taken into consideration when a M.E (mastering engineer) plays with it. At the end of the day, a relaxing folk number isn't going to sound relaxing at -10db RMS. Dynamics and all subsequent processing must take into account the emotional intent of the music.
With that said, I'll do whatever you ask, though do take into account that by default I adjust for 'good' rather than just loud - unless asked to do otherwise. You get to decide the emotional intent of your music. If you want it loud - it goes loud - if you want it soft, it goes soft. If you want bright, you get bright, and if you want dark, you get dark. It's all up to you.
Since 2001, and I've been quite happy running a recording studio since mid-2006 - however I recently decided that recording work is great but my skills in mastering are my best asset, and decided to utilise that to it's best extent. Mastering also happens to be the area I enjoy the most, and can see myself doing for the longest period of time.
Predominantly, the left ear and right ear, and the thing in between them. Other than that, a well-designed room and mastering speakers are warranted. A variety of equipment can be used, from digital to analog and everything in between. Reeling off a bunch of names like 'studer', 'neve' etc, while impressive, is not meaningful. How one uses those things is what counts, as well as the end result.
There's a perception that 'loudening' = mastering - the end process by which everything is reduced to as low a dynamic range as possible, so it can be heard easily in noisy environments and compete for loudness with other songs. Not so - loudness is one factor, of many factors involved. Some styles benefit from sonic maximisation (the two examples on the main page for example). But try that on laid back jazz, or melodic electronica. You end up with something that not only sounds worse, but is less relaxing. In summary, it's about improvement - bit by bit, piece by piece - as is appropriate to the song. Don't get me wrong - I'll make it loud if you want it loud - and some styles suit loud! But at the end of the day, it's your decision, and I won't question it.
Stem mastering involves taking the group bus renders (for example, this could be vox, guitars, bass and drums for a pop mix) and mastering with those. It gives an opportunity to fix eq and other issues without having to go back to the original mix, or can deliver more clarity between instruments occasionally. It is not 're-mixing'. Normally, mastering is done using a singular stereo track containing a mixdown of all buses within the song.
Stem mastering can take longer and deliver a better result, hence the different prices here.
24-bit or 32-bit, preferably 96khz but will accept lower samplerates. Not accepting 16-bit tracks at this time. Non-lossy formats such as .wav, .aiff and FLAC or Wavpack are fine. MP3 and other lossy formats are unacceptable. Tracks must not clip (ie. peak at 0db or above). Please do not use any effects on your master bus when exporting your track. Excessive limiting or compression may also make it difficult to bring out the best in your music, do not use any on your master bus and use it wisely on individual tracks when stem mastering.
Internet delivery is preferred. I accept tracks via FTP, or via any of the file delivery services online (Filedropper, Mediafire and Yousendit are a few worth using). Other than that I accept ISO-standard Data CDs or DVDs via courier. If sending DVDs you'll need to supply two copies, as writable DVDs are notoriously prone to light damage.
For me this is constantly in a state of flux. As I find better equipment, older equipment is replaced. Sometimes I use digital techniques, sometimes analog techniques, but typically both will be used in a project.
2 after the initial. After that, additional revisions will be $10 per revision.
Again, internet delivery is preferred, and you will receive an email with a link to the full .wav file. If you would prefer an audio CD, one will be posted to you, however this will only be for the final product, not for preview and revision.
Payment via direct bank transfer is preferred, or in the case of international customers, via Paypal.
Payment is always before handover, no exceptions, and soundcloud will be used for previews. If full lossless (non-soundcloud) previews are desired, payment may be made in advance.
Please note that while soundcloud (which I'm using the play the tracks here) is convenient, it does not have the best audio quality - so to hear a true difference, download the full .wav file for playback under each sample.