MASTERING

MUSIC MASTERING FOR YOUR TRACKS

Competent partner

Mastering since 2006 with analogue hi-end outboard and impeccable acoustics, we master and restore your song!

Internationally represented

Mastering in over 50 countries and well over 30.000 productions, as well as multiple chart positions.

Top customer service

Our mastering engineers are personally available to advise you on all important mastering questions.

mastering (Audio mastering or e-mastering) is the last point in the processing chain after recording and mixing (Mixingin the recording studio before the audio material or track is released as a master or online mastering, or the tracks go to the pressing plant for further processing.

Of course we also take on other projects Online mastering and guarantee the highest analog sound quality with top customer service and personal advice.

MASTERING FAQ FOR ONLINE AUDIO MASTERING

Mastering or online mastering is primarily a refinement of the mix of a song in which an attempt is made to get the sound of the track as good as possible on everyone possible interception conditions (such as the radio, hi-fi system, smartphone, or streaming platforms). The track frequency responseMono compatibility  and dynamics taken into account. The aim of online mastering should be that the track, tonally, follows the result Mixing of the title.

  • Brainstorming,
  • Composing, producing, recording,
  • Mixing or mixing,
  • Master or mastering.

 

As a last step In the processing chain, special attention must be paid to the audio master in the recording studio. Mastering Engineer is a profession and by no means a hobby. In addition to understanding technical measuring instruments, spatial conditions must also be certain Meet specifications and standards to be able to master there professionally at all. Even the monitoring path has to be checked and adjusted to special DIN standards.

AS PERSONAL COLLABORATION IS OFTEN DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT DUE TO THE DISTANCE, WE ALSO OFFER OUR MASTERING AS SG EMASTERING OR ONLINE MASTERING YEAR.

In the master process, the Mastering engineer usually a mix of the track is delivered as a stereo file, which is then transferred to his DAW (Digital audio workstation) pulls. Here he gets one first Overview of the sound, as well as the technical and musical condition of the song.

After the first assessment of the audio material, this freed from technical errors and unwanted frequencies to follow the Dynamic reduction, if necessary, to be carried out in order to arrive at a competitive loudness.

After the dynamics have been adjusted, the material is subjected to musical mastering, which ensures that subjective perceptions of individual elements or passages get their own sound character. This can be done with tube devices or other special hardware. "Saturation“Is for example one of the different stylistic devices around a musical mastering carried out.

The aim of audio mastering is to "upgrade" the track with the help of dynamic processors, equalizers, filters or psychoacoustic devices in such a way that it sounds "good" on as many playback sources as possible (e.g. stereo system, headphones, etc.). So the sound stays the same as possible.

When mastering or in Audio mastering process the emphasis is on a tonally balanced Frequency image, good Mono compatibility and a balanced stereo image in the track. Depending on the need, the level can be adjusted, jitter removed or fades can be set.

  • Stereo mastering (editing a Stereo mixes)
  • Stem mastering (Processing of sub-groups e.g. drums, vocals, guitars)
  • M / S Mastering (processing of In the middle-  and Side signal separated from each other. This takes place in a so-called. M / S matrix instead of.)
  • Streaming mastering (Specially made for streaming services)
  • Vinyl mastering (Mastering with special specifications for vinyl production)
  • DDP mastering (Creation of a DDP image for delivery to the press shop)
  • Reference mastering (professional version adapted to the genre and frequency response of a reference track)
  • Emastered (This is how traditional online mastering is called)
  • AI mastering (mastering through artificial intelligence. Providers such as Landr, Emastered or similar use algorithms and presets)
Mastering is the last creative instance of the audio post-production before the song is distributed.

DIGITAL CONNECTION MASTERING

With increasing digitization and greater acceptance of streaming portals such as Spotify, ITunes, Amazon Music and co. they change too Requirements for audio material.

Due to a wide variety of end devices and internet speeds, the streaming portals convert the audio into a wide variety of output formats. This is done to enable the listener to always have a smooth audio playback and good sound. Through this Conversion often changes the frequency response of a piece. In online mastering, these conversion-side changes to the audio quality of the song are reduced to a minimum.

FORMAT CONFLICTS IN MASTERING

MP3's are more and more part of our everyday life. Unfortunately with compromises in terms of quality, due to the high compression and the calculation of Frequency information. This makes an MP3 particularly small, in contrast to the Wave.

MONO COMPATIBILITY IN MASTERING

Another aspect is the mono compatibility, which is particularly important if the listener is listening to the mix or the master with a smartphone or other playback device with only one loudspeaker. If too little attention was paid to mono compatibility when mixing, half the song is dropped. Especially with drums or the kick drum, insufficient mono compatibility can lead to high losses in audio quality and ruin the whole song.

In our mastering studio in Würzburg, we are able to switch a wide variety of audio codecs, which are used for conversion into different file formats, into our listening path in order to make changes to the frequency image and the tonality to be determined and corrected if necessary.

The following applies to a good sound of your music:

Mixing is primarily responsible for a balanced sound of your song. Thoughts like “we'll fix it in mastering” or “the mastering engineer will save it” are completely wrong starting points.

This is done with the help of analysis tools, metering and his hearing z. A broad knowledge is already required here in order to correctly assess the audio. The song is then processed with various processors such as compressor, EQ, deesser or other hardware or software. As a result, the sound material will have a frequency response that is as balanced as possible.

Also errors like digital clicks, unwanted ones sough or over-compression can be reduced or completely eliminated. The sound is then brought into the desired output format. Usually this is 16 bit wave with 44,1 kHz sample rate. This is common for CD production. A 24-bit wave is usually used when streaming music. We tell you how a master or emastered works in detail in our mastering blog.

After mixing, a distinction is made between two types of mastering. For one thing technical mastering (Creation of the Glassmasters for CDs, die for vinyl records), on the other hand that musical- and I baked the premastering (Track editing of the mixdowns and preparation for the techn. Mastering).

At the end of every song production, the question arises again and again: "How loud to master?"

In short: So loud that your song still sounds good!

A few years ago, the loudness of a track was crucial to be competitive with other tracks in the same genre.

Only really good mixes succeeded here, loud yet transparent to be. But a lot has happened in the area of ​​track loudness in recent years. the Streaming provider have introduced a general loudness normalization that makes it possible to focus on the quality of the production rather than on the loudness during mastering.

So it's no longer "how loud do I have to master" that counts, but rather "how good the track should sound after mastering".

The quality of your track should be competitive with other titles in your genre. It's not about individual details like eg a snare drum sounds, but rather how the overall frequency response behaves within the title. Today there are countless streaming providers and ways to make your track heard. In this respect, the tuning of the frequency response and the sound on the most diverse playback media and streaming portals become essential. So today it is no longer important how loud the mastering is, but how good it is.

The quality of the master is therefore decisive as to whether your track is assertive and therefore competitive with all other titles from your genre.

"What are the best mastering plugins?" That's what we're often asked for in our Mastering Lessons asked.

So, are there the ultimate mastering plugins?

No! Each song is different in its frequency response, arrangement, harmonies played and its Mix.

Different manufacturers build different types of plugins; whose sound often differs completely or in individual areas from other manufacturers.

Which plugins do you need for mastering?

Basically, it is advisable to use the following plugins in mastering:

– Equalizers

– compressor

– limiters

– Stereo enhancer (optional)

– Maximizer (optional)

- Reverb (optional)

You don't need more for a good and high-quality mastering on the plugin side. Much more weight is that Raumakustik and the waste situation, since decisions have to be made in mastering that should work independently of the room and the listening medium.

It is advisable to focus less on different plugins at first, but instead on the individual properties of the plugins you are currently using. Here we recommend comparing different equalizers or compressors with the same settings in order to find the right plugin with the required timbre or neutrality for the respective track.

There are titles that have a mastering plugin that works with one setting and that proves to be unfavorable for another title. So can the use of one tube compressor might be just the right plugin for mastering on an electronic title that lacks warmth, but proved counterproductive on a rock title that might just need a little more transparency and airiness.

MASTERING IS ONE OF THE FINAL FINISHES WITHIN SONG PRODUCTION. HERE WE WANT THE SONG TO GAIN IN LOUDNESS, SOUND AS BALANCED AS POSSIBLE AND NOT TO CHANGE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ACTUAL MIX TOO MUCH. DOING ALL THIS IS NOT SO EASY!

Now for the mastering tips

So that your mastering is good, we give you 10 tips that will make your masters sound better.

  1. FADES, FADES AND FADES!

You should always use fades when mastering. Always at the beginning and end of the song in order to avoid any cracks, which are perceived as extremely annoying. As a guideline, you can assume 4 - 6ms here and set fade-ins & fade-outs.

  1. AT LEAST 24 BIT!

The mastering in the DAW session should be at least 24Bit or higher. 24 bit has a dynamic of 144dB - 1 bit therefore represents 6dB dynamic. It is important here that the recordings and the mix were of course also made with at least 24 bits - so we achieve more detailed results and, in total, achieve more loudness.

  1. FIRST QUIET, THEN LOUD!

Quiet listening not only protects your ears, but also doesn't stimulate your room so much, which is why you have to struggle less with parts of the room when listening. In this way you can better assess the density but also the transparency within the material at hand.

As soon as you are done with the master, you should turn up your monitors loudly. Here you can notice striking frequencies that do not come into their own when listening quietly. As soon as we turn the master loud, you will also quickly notice whether the volume levels have changed significantly.

  1. TURN THE MOTOWN TRICK OR PARALLEL COMPRESSION ON!

With the help of parallel compression, you can mix a highly compressed version with the original. This way you will not lose the transparency and dynamics of your mix.

For example, the main track is copied and then compressed very heavily. You then slowly turn up the copied track until it, together with the main track, results in a great sound. The total sum sounds more present, full and fat! An emulation of the 1176, for example, is suitable as a plug-in

  1. BUT PLEASE DO NOT “TOO MUCH COMPRESSION”!

You should use the Master Compressor with care! As a rule, we only pick up signal peaks here. With too much compression, the dynamic range suffers enormously and the song loses its liveliness.

So make sure that the gain reduction does not fall below -3db, use longer attack times, but shorter release times. In addition, a sidechain filter up to 250 Hz is suitable in order not to additionally stimulate the compressor with a kick drum or a sub-bass.

  1. AUTOMATIONS - NOT ONLY FOR PROFESSIONALS!

Use automation for intros, outros or bridges, for example. As a rule, we often have quiet passages, which we have to adjust via automation, as these are not tackled by the compressor. That's a good thing because if we were to set the compressor accordingly so that it also picks up the quiet passages, the loud passages would be undynamic and heavily compressed.

So it's best to use automation to adjust the quiet parts before you readjust the compressor!

  1. MOM'S KITCHEN RADIO AND MORE!

To assess the master, it is always good to use a wide variety of listening options and to put the master through its paces. First and foremost, you do this with your studio monitors! But don't forget that normal music listeners can hear through conventional systems such as a kitchen radio, in the car or on a Bluetooth box. Accordingly, you should also check on such systems whether the master asserts itself here.

  1. AVOID OVERLOADED PLUGINS!

Due to the 24-bit architecture, which is now available to us, we basically have all kinds of options to maintain our dynamic range and still get a song very loud. Avoid any clipping in plug-ins - there are enough ways to get a song loud without it being dragged.

  1. PREPARATION OF THE BOUNCE PROCESS!

When using plug-ins, your computer needs a lot of computing power, especially when you are in the bounce process. Put your start marker a little bit in front of the actual song, this will prevent any problems caused by your computer calculating the plug-ins too late.

  1. A / B COMPARISON USING REFERENCES!

You certainly have a sonic role model in front of you, which shines with a great mix and a great master. Use this and compare your master with other productions and pay attention to inherent characteristics such as presence, bass range, etc.

An A / B comparison lets you work more objectively and you don't lose sight of your goal so quickly. Tone to change this text. Important here: Measure the loudness of both titles and match them to each other in order to be able to compare them objectively.

OUR MASTERING CUSTOMERS

Heiko Groß about online mastering
Heiko Gross music
5/5
Very nice contact, excellent work. Perfect implementation! Any time! Fast and reliable
Daniel Abanico about online mastering from Peak Studios
Daniel Abanico (Dnl_abanico)
5/5

We gave our album here for mastering without a doubt and are 100% satisfied! Super communication and our music was not only processed, but also understood musically.

Okke Gingersen review of Mix Analysis
Ok gingersen
5/5

Great work! First received a detailed analysis of my mix and at the end a good-sounding master. Very friendly communication and really quick response. It was a pleasure!