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Professional Mastering


A home or project studio can be a great place to write and record music, but it's usually not acoustically designed for mixing. Your work may sound good there, but it will often sound thin, dull, boomy or harsh when played elsewhere.

When I master your mix at Third Wave Audio, it will be as punchy, big and clear as possible, wherever you play it: on a home system, in a car, in a speaker dock or in a club.

Every song you hear has been mastered to sound the best that it can, and this final step will guarantee that your mix does too.

In a typical mastering, I will...

  • deepen or tighten bass as necessary
  • shape mids so that voices and instruments are as clear as possible
  • contour highs to make sure they're crisp without being harsh
  • clarify stereo image
  • create better separation between instruments
  • improve "loudness"
  • assure that each mix sounds great on any system
  • balance the volume and tone of all the songs in your project, so they transition perfectly and the project has a unified, polished sound

I'll also help you fix your mix. In many cases you'll get better results by tweaking your mix. I'll recommend changes so you can send an updated version before mastering.

In some cases it's best to remix from the ground up from a fresh perspective. No problem: if you would like me to mix your music, head over to my mixing page.

How: Just e-mail or call to discuss the project. You can e-mail a link to your mixes using services such as Dropbox or HIGHTAIL (formerly youSENDit), or ask for a private login to the Third Wave server. The usual turnaround time for mastering is 1 day per song.

How much: The rate for mastering is $50 USD per song; mastering is included if I do the mix. This includes a complete digital mastering with any transfers, processing and basic editing*, using the best equipment and software available. I return the finished master files to you by FTP.

Whether your mixes need a major boost or just some final polish, a pro mastering at Third Wave will have them sounding great.

 

*See also: the Mastering FAQ page and Mastering Examples.

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Mastering FAQ


Please read through the items below and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

What is the turnaround time for mastering?

Most individual songs can be mastered in one day. Multiple songs, longer material and orders that arrive after noon Eastern will take a little longer.

What audio format should I send to Third Wave for mastering?

Your files should be linear PCM WAV or AIF of at least 16-bit depth, 44.1k sample rate. I'll also accept lossless compression formats such as FLAC.

Mix files should be at the same bit depth and sample rate as your multitrack files; do not change your bit depth or sample rate when bouncing to your mix files.

How do I place a mastering order?

Easy: Just send an e-mail with info about your project, such as...

  • where you will distribute your music (CD, web, movies, video games, etc.)
  • what you hope to achieve in the mastering.
  • a song sequence and any other details,  such as edits or cross-fades.
  • your contact information.

How can I exchange files with Third Wave Audio?

You can e-mail 192K mp3s for review. Larger files can be sent by...

  • Online file transfer services such as Dropbox or HIGHTAIL (formerly youSENDit.) E-mail the link.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Server. Just ask for private login info to use the Third Wave server at no charge.

DVDs, CDs, flash drives and other materials can be sent to Third Wave Audio via...

  • Fedex, UPS, DHL, USPS.

What mix level and processing should I use?

Mix peaks should be no more than -.5 db, preferably around -3 dB.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU USE NO PROCESSING ON YOUR MASTER MIX OUTPUTS. Adding EQ or mix buss compression will severely 'limit' the possibilities in mastering. I can sometimes undo a bad EQ curve, but I can't restore your music's punch once you've squashed it with compression and/or limiting...

How should I name my mix files?

Mix files should contain the song's order and title ("01-title.wav", "02-title.wav", etc.)

Can you edit my material?

Sure. I will edit for different markets or to help a tune's pacing; just let me know what you want. Extensive editing will add a small charge.

What are your rates?

Complete 24-bit digital mastering is $50 USD each for songs mixed elsewhere; mastering is usually included with songs that I mixed. This includes all transfers, processing and simple editing, with the final masters returned by Net. If I have to do extensive editing I may add a small charge.

What are your payment terms?

For new clients I require 50% payment by credit card or PayPal before I start, and the balance before I deliver the final WAV masters.

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See also: the Mastering Overview and Mastering Examples.

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Mastering Examples


 

These samples switch from unmastered to mastered and back repeatedly. More are on the way...

 

Jazz

Kick It - James Ingenito

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Follow the Dream - James Ingenito

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See also: the Mastering Overview and Mastering FAQ page.

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