Listed below are a few of the questions I’m asked most often. If you have a question that isn’t on this list or you’d like to talk about something more specific, please feel free to send an email with your inquiry.
What’s the difference between mixing and mastering?
Mixing is the second stage of the production process. After a recording is finished, a mixing engineer will listen to all the tracks to make sure each instrument is represented in the stereo field. I use this stage to make sure that all the instruments and sections of the song complement one another, but are sonically separated enough that each instrument can be recognized as part of the whole. It is in this part of the process that I will adjust the volume of each individual track and apply processing as equalization and compression as well as other effects including delay and reverb. In essence, mixing is the process where we piece recordings together to create songs.
Mastering is the third and final stage of the recording process. While mixing compiles multiple tracks and pieces them together to form a song, mastering takes a finished mix and creates a stereo track for final processing. I use this stage to carefully analyze the material to make any corrections, adjustments, or enhancements that boost the quality of the recording. When mastering full record or a body of work, I also organize the tracks in the order that they will be released, space them appropriately, create necessary fades, correct volume issues, and render all identifying information for each track. Mastering is basically the final touch needed to make a professional sounding record.
Why should I hire a mixing or mastering engineer?
Technology has changed the landscape of music. It’s possible to create great records from a home studio, which can be a deterrent for some artists who may think a mixing or mastering engineer is unnecessary. However, the most important aspect of a music engineer’s job is to work as a trusted, outside critic. It’s common for artists to spend so many hours pouring over their tracks that they can become desensitized to issues that a fresh pair of eyes (or in this case, ears) would pick up. The expertise of a music engineer provides the constructive criticism necessary to push a project from great to incredible as they guide clients through the process, providing perspective and using high-end equipment to produce the best possible product.
Why should I choose an online service?
Here’s a list of some of the benefits of an online service:
- Flat fees.
- No day/half-day studio rentals.
- No hourly fees.
- No engineer fees.
- Faster lead times.
- Personalized customer service.
- Flexible rates tailored to your needs.
- Access to some of the most sought after pieces of analog gear.
How should I send my material for mixing?
Please read the following instructions carefully. If you have any additional questions or need clarification, feel free to send me an email.
- Do not send your projects as Pro Tools session files. WAV files only.
- Every track should be consolidated from zero until the end of the session. (This is to make sure everything lines up correctly once it has been imported).
- If you are sending your tracks for mixing or stem mixing, make sure that all tracks are ready for mix-down and do not require additional editing, track alignment or pitch correction. (Editing, alignment, pitch correction and restoration services are not included in the quoted rate, but can be performed at an additional cost.)
- Please include all basic information related to the session (i.e, track names, tempo, key signature, and any other additional notes that would be helpful during mixing).
Should I send my tracks in mono or stereo?
Please ensure that all tracks are sent as mono WAV files. The only exceptions which should be sent as stereo files are: drums, overheads, room microphones, synth tracks, and anything that was recorded with a dual microphone set-up.
Should I send a reference track or multiple references?
Absolutely! Feel free to include any songs from other bands that you want me to use as a mix reference. Having references from work which inspires your sound can be useful as I try to hone the overall sound and feel of your project.
Should I send a rough mix of the song to be mixed?
If you have one, please send it my way! While not necessary, this can help me to get a better understanding of how you’ve envisioned the final version of your work.
Do I need to send the files in a specific sample rate?
Please send all files in the same sample rate / bit depth in which they were recorded (usually 44.1/16 or 48/24).
What type of mastering services do you offer?
There are so many platforms through which artists can share their music. Although they all offer the same result (to showcase your music), they often have vastly different requirements for delivery and streaming. In order to make your project sound its best, I will need you to specify what type of release you are planning for your material. If you’re planning a digital release only, your music will be mastered according to the streaming service of your choice (iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc). If you are planning on a physical release such as a CD or Vinyl, I will master your project according to those delivery standards.
Should I use bus compression on my mix?
- If you want to use bus processing on your mixes, that’s fine as long as you’re not adding a whole lot of it (the meters in your compressor should be barely moving).
- If you do use bus processing, make sure to leave headroom on your final mix. Your overall levels should not hit 0 at any moment.
Should I use a peak limiter on my mix?
- Please refrain for sending a final mix with peak limiting.
- You can send an alternate mix with peak limiting as a point of reference of where you want your music to be sonically and dynamically.
- If you are planning a release on vinyl, please make sure to provide alternate mixes with little or no bus processing at all and without any limiters. This will help the cutting engineer make all the right adjustments to represent your music to highest standards of quality.
Should I send any reference tracks?
Absolutely! Make sure to include enough material that is similar in genre or style to yours. This will provide a better understanding of the type of sound, dynamics and overall volume you’re going for.
What additional information should I send for my project?
Please provide a list of final song titles / artist name / album name exactly as it should appear on the CD-Text metadata. Additionally, send ISRC and UPC/EAN codes if you want them encoded on the master.
I didn’t follow your delivery instructions correctly. Now what?
- The quoted flat fee is based on the assumption that files will be delivered to me in the format as described above. Delivery in any other format might result in additional fees. Note that I will not charge fees without contacting you first and receiving authorization to proceed.
- You can also make all necessary corrections and re-send your files, although that will change the expected delivery date of your project.
What are your rates?
To receive an accurate quote on your project, send me a message through my contact page and make sure to include:
- Artist name
- Project name
- Number of songs
- Desired delivery date
As soon as that information is received, I will reply via email with an estimate. It is my goal to build long-lasting and mutually-beneficial relationships with all my clients. As such, I am flexible in discussing fees and payment arrangements to meet budgets and needs.
Do you offer different mixing/mastering packages?
No, however, I do offer a discount for mixing or mastering EP’s and LP’s. Make sure to include if your project is an EP or LP in your email so I can provide you with additional information.
Is there a track count?
Unlike other online services, all my services are provided for a flat fee. There is no track count or limited use of equipment. All the tools at the studio are at your disposal.
If I send my current mix, will you listen to it and provide feedback?
I offer a mix consultation service for anyone that is interested in having their songs reviewed or critiqued before the mixing or mastering stage. Mix consultation has a cost $50 dollars per 30 minutes.
What type of equipment do you use?
I offer a combination of analog and digital equipment along with analog summing. I have carefully selected all the pieces of outboard equipment in the studio in order to ensure that your work is processed with the finest components. In this stage conversion and monitoring are crucial. With that in mind, I use a pair of Barefoot MM27 speakers along with conversion by Mytek and Antelope Audio. The studio also features pieces by Neve, Manley, API, and many more established and respected companies. Click here for a complete gear list.
What type of files will I receive?
As soon as your project is completed and approved, I will send a high-resolution WAV file and an MP3. Should you require an additional format, please let me know when you submit your files for mastering.
What is your turnaround time?
Lead time is generally 2 days for a single and 12 days for a 10-song album.
How many revisions do you offer?
Each song comes with 2 revisions. Additional work after included revisions has a cost of $50 dollars per revision, per song.
Do you offer rushed services?
Yes, I offer rushed services at an additional cost of:
- 3 DAYS – +10% of your total
- 2 DAYS – +30% of your total
- 1 DAY – +50% of your total
What type of payments do you accept?
I gladly accept payment via PayPal or Venmo.
How is payment taken and how are final projects delivered?
Upfront payment is required for all services. Deliverables will be rendered once payment is made and all revisions have been approved by the client.