Preparing your material for Mastering.

Here are a few quick hints to help you get your material ready for mastering. If you have questions contact me.
Download this page as a PDF.

  • Print out your mixes as WAV or AIFF files at the resolution you mixed/recorded them in. There is no advantage to printing files at a higher resolution this.
  • On the output bus (stereo out) of your mix disable any limiting, multi-band compression or other mastering tool before your final print for mastering. If you like the sound of your mixes with these mastering tools on, bring prints of these mixes to the session for reference.
  • Disable any fade ins or fade outs on your mixes before printing. Fades always sound better when done as part of the mastering process. Again, bring prints of your mixes that have the fades so we can use them as a reference to recreate them.
  • If you are really unsure of any critical levels in your mix, bring a couple of alternate versions with you just in case. Vocal up, bass down, etc.
  • When delivering over the Internet make sure to ZIP your files. This makes them smaller to send and also offers a layer of copy protection to prevent the file from being corrupted when being transferred.
  • If you have songs or material with vocals, you might want to consider printing an instrumental version of your mixes and having them mastered as well - this can be useful if your tracks are licensed for use with film, television and so on. There is no additional change for mastering your instrumental versions. 
  • Bring the text of your album and song titles & ISRC codes to the session. More information on ISRC codes.
  • It can be good to bring a few reference tracks with you to the session. Tracks that served as inspiration for the sound of your pieces are useful to establish what kind of sound you're after in mastering. Also a couple of your favourite listening tracks can also be good to orient you to the sound of the mastering suite so you can get an idea of how tracks you know well sound in the detailed listening environment of the mastering suite.

Pre-Mastering Checklist

  1. No mastering plugins on the output of your print.
  2. No fades at the start and end of your tracks.
  3. WAV and AIFF files at recording/mix resolution.
  4. Alternate mix versions, edits and instrumental versions?
  5. Album and track titles.
  6. ISRC codes.
  7. ZIP files if delivering to me via the internet.
  8. Bring some reference tracks.