- Why master your project, and what are ISRC codes?
- Why choose Grey Larsen Mastering?
- What music formats are accepted?
- What about back-ups?
- What about revisions?
- What if you need mixing or overdubbing?
- Who may attend the mastering session?
Why Master Your Project?
There are many reasons to master your recording.
- Mastering is the final creative opportunity in the recording process.
- Mastering enhances each mix globally, improving clarity, depth, and definition. Often it’s as if a veil has been lifted, one that you didn’t realize was there, making the music more clear and three-dimensional.
- The careful use of multi-band EQ, compression and limiting improves the frequency spectrum balance and increases the overall volume of the music so that it stands up well next to anything else on the radio. All major label releases are mastered. Why not yours?
- Though mastering is not remixing, it is sometimes possible to bring out or settle back certain elements of a mix (vocals, bass, etc.).
- Mastering brings a set of highly experienced and discerning ears to your project for a fresh perspective on how you are presenting your music to your audience.
- Digital editing can be done in the mastering process. The basics can include fade-ins, fade-outs, crossfades, background noise reduction, and removing other unwanted sounds. Many other possibilities exist as well, such as splicing together parts of different mixes, adding or removing whole sections of music, adjusting the volume of certain parts of the mix relative to other parts.
- PQ codes, such as index numbers for the CD and ISRC codes (International Standard Recording Code) are added in the mastering process. ISRC codes provide a very important tool for royalty collection, administration, and anti-piracy safeguards in the digital arena by placing a “digital fingerprint” on each song that can’t be removed, identifying you as the song’s owner. Learn more about ISRC codes. In the US, you must first register with at www.usisrc.org to obtain your own unique “registrant code”.
- Text is also entered in the mastering process. Many newer CD players and software programs can display text that is associated with the CD as a whole and with each track on it.
Why Choose Grey Larsen Mastering?
With satisfied clients from all over the US, you can count on Grey Larsen Mastering to not only make your project sound great, but you can trust us to provide quick and professional service. Our clients love Grey’s work, and references are available upon request. We specialize in acoustic music, and can bring out the best in your material. Check out our Discography for some of the artists we’ve worked with.
We welcome our clients to attend their mastering session, though it’s just fine if you choose not to or cannot do so. Most clients do not attend, due to long distances. We are happy to send you mastered tracks to review before concluding the project, so that any of your requested revisions can be made.
What Music Formats Are Accepted?
We prefer to receive unmastered mixes as 24-bit digital files (WAV, AIFF or other), either downloadable or stored on data CDR or DVD. If we receive your unmastered mixes in another format, such as DAT tape or analog tape, there will be an additional transfer charge.
What About Back-ups?
Immediately after the mastering session we back up your data and files. We archive all the sound files as well as all mastering and editing settings and decisions, which are all easily reproducible.
We take all reasonable professional care in protecting your materials but can be responsible only for the replacement cost of blank media. UPS and Fedex lose packages occasionally.
Be prepared! You should have at least one backup of any valuable materials you send to us or bring with you to the mastering session.
What About Revisions?
Mastering is a subjective and interpretive art, and everyone’s hearing is different. Sometimes producers or artists may be unusually sensitive to a particular EQ change or the effects of a compressor/limiter, and will request that adjustments be made after the mastering session is done. If, after listening to your reference CD/tracks, you would like to change the spaces between tracks, modify the EQ, increase or back off compression, adjust the stereo image or make tunes louder or softer, etc., it will not be a problem. Since complete archives and records of all the settings used to create the first version are easily restored and modified, changes are usually done quickly.
Revisions are charged at our hourly rate.
What If You Need Mixing Or Overdubbing?
Usually all recording and mixing has been completed by the time you book your mastering session, but the best-made plans sometimes need to change at the last minute. If you still have mixing or overdubbing work that needs to be done, Grey Larsen Mastering offers recording and mixing services at $50/hour.
Our studio equipment includes great microphones such as Neumann U87 and 184, and AKG 414. We use top of the line Oram preamps and we work in Pro Tools HD. You may wish to mix your entire project here with Grey.
Who May Attend The Mastering Session?
We are happy to have the producer and/or artist attend the mastering session, though it’s best to keep the number of attendees to no more than three people. (Sometimes too many opinions will slow down the process).