We’re a new business and we’re excited to hear about your music.
We’ve priced our mastering to be competitive with online mastering services.
Mastering is $40 per track with discounts for albums and EPs.
In this article we explore why we do a better job than mastering algorithms.
Mastering Engineer vs Algorithm
Algorithmic mastering services run your music through an algorithm and offer you what the machine considers the “best” result.
When you play back your master you will likely feel an improvement has happened. This is because the new mastered version will sound louder than the final mix you submitted.
This however isn’t the whole story.
When music is mastered the loudest peaks in the music are often reduced, so that the quieter peaks can be “turned up,” creating a song that sounds louder than it used to. The trade-off is that, past a point, music starts to lose it’s natural “open” tone and becomes fatiguing to listen to.
If this happens when you master algorithmically, the algorithm will not tell you. When we master your music we will make sure it definitely is not fatiguing to listen to.
Next, it’s important to consider how you are listening to the master recording you receive back from the algorithm. If you are listening on a low quality sound system, and/or one that doesn’t allow sufficient bass reproduction, then ask yourself if you are in a position to judge the result of the algorithmic mastering process.
When you hire us to master your track we are confident that our monitoring (/sound system) system is up to the task of knowing precisely what your recording sounds like, so you can be confident it’ll reproduce well whether it’s played back on the radio, in the club or on a Bluetooth speaker.
The Loudness Wars
For a good number of decades, mastering has been confused with “make my track sound as loud as possible.” To put it another way, people might ask their track to “have no noticeable drop in volume when it’s played next to Imagine Dragons.”
These loudness wars are now coming to an end, and for me as a mastering engineer that’s an exciting thing.
New broadcast standards (ITU-R BS.1770 + revisions) have given a consistent way to measure the loudness of audio recordings and, in this case, music.
The resulting LUFS measurement (Loudness Units relative to Full Scale) is a value that music software (e.g. iTunes) and online streaming services (e.g. Spotify & Apple Music) “tag” onto each new track or file. This value (e.g. -2.6dB or +1.0dB) informs the music player to turn up or turn down the track when it’s played, so that its volume will match the volume of all other tracks played from the service (which have also been measured by the same standard).
To put it simply, music streaming services and an increasing number of media players have a hidden volume control that is turned up or down before each track is played.
This hidden volume control means that there’s no noticeable jump in volume when different songs are played back-to-back, even if music from decades past (60s / 70s) is played next to the latest pop hits.
This new LUFS standard has given us mastering engineers more chance to bring out the best in the music we master; we can serve the music with the technical tweaks we make rather than just ‘making it as loud as possible’.
Can an algorithm tell you that tonally your music sounds right, and dynamically it’s powerful enough but not over-cooked? We don’t think so.
A human mastering engineer is a pair of trained ears that’ll treat your music to the best enhancements.
Finally, album mastering needs a mention. A mastering algorithm looks at each song as a stand-alone piece of music, therefore algorithmic mastering was not designed to master albums.
We, on the other hand, will find your album’s most powerful track and master everything else to fit around that. For example, softer tracks will not be made louder or punchier than your most powerful song. While this all sounds like common sense, an algorithm does not consider this when it masters your music.
We know that with your album, you’ve arranged your music in a deliberate way to create a cohesive piece of work. By ordering the tracks, you have given it an intentional “flow”. As you intended, the sound will transition between hard and soft as the album plays from start to finish. We see and preserve your intentions when we master your album to maintain and enhance the way it flows.
For album and EP mastering we offer discounts. Contact us for a quote.
Our Pricing Is Reasonable & We’re Highly Reviewed
Mastering is $40 per track.
Before mastering, we can also give in depth advice on many aspects of your song including recording technique, arrangement, mix and production for $30 per track.
SPECIAL OFFER – For just $60 per track get both of the above services in our new “Finish My Song” package. Click here to learn more.
In everything we do, we share our professional knowledge gained from years of experience making successful commercial music and recorded audio.
Our work has been shared on blogs, played on the radio and highly reviewed on Google.
We Can Work With You Anywhere in the World
If you’re looking to up your game we can help.
If you’re a producer, we can discuss your music with you and give advice so you can level-up your skills.
You can also record your music with us in Fort Collins, Colorado and we can discuss in detail any music production your project needs – working with you on an hourly rate basis if you’d like us to add quality “ear candy” and accompaniment to your tracks.
We can work remotely with artists from all around the world – Wherever you are, we look forward to hearing from you about your music.