Music Mastering Online FAQ
1. Why shouldn't I just have my mix engineer provide the mastering services for my music?
2. What's the difference between audio mixing and audio mastering?
3. Do you offer mixing services?
4. Will my music be radio/label-ready when I get it back from you?
5. How does online payment and delivery work?
6. How do I prep my mixes before mastering?
7. What gear do you use?
8. Do you charge extra for revisions?
9. What are the advantages of music mastering online?
10. Can you embed ISRC, UPC and Track info into the masters?
11. How do I make a .zip file of all my audio files for upload? Does zipping effect audio quality?
12. What is your mailing address?
13. Why do you offer a free mastering sample?
14. How do I know you won't steal my music?
15. Can you create "Mastered for iTunes" files?
16. Do you offer mixing classes?
17. If you charge by the "song," what qualifies as a song?
It is has been widely known in the music industry for a long long time that whoever mixed your album should not also be the music mastering engineer. Operating a mastering studio requires totally different tools and a more refined skill-set than mixing does. In addition, an mix engineer won't have fresh ears or perspective if they have already listened to a project a million times. It is extremely uncommon for a record label to release unmastered music, or to have the audio mastered by the same person who mixed it.
Mixing is the process of adjusting the individual tracks/individual instruments in of a mix, and audio mastering typically only deals with the stereo output of a mix. Music mastering comes after mixing and is the last creative musical process before releasing a song or album. A good mastering engineer can also makes a collection of songs feel like an album, glueing them all together.
I offer mixing services from a team of amazing mix engineers. I oversee the mixing and then master the completed mixes myself once final mixes have been approved. For a free mixing and mastering price quote and for more info, check out the mixing services section of the site.
Yes, IF your mixing is reasonably well done. Music mastering is the final "polish" or "sheen" on a mix, but it's not a substitute for good mixing. That being said, I've worked on many CD's that have had less than stellar mixes that have turned out sounding amazing after leaving my mastering studio.
To book a project, all you'd need to do is make a payment with either Paypal, credit card, debit card or a pre-paid credit card. After payment is made, the site will walk you through how to export and upload your files. Once your project is complete, I'll email you a link to the mastered WAV files. If you need me to make any revisions, just let me know. (About 95% of my mastering projects get approved on the first master though!)
There are a few things to keep in mind when getting a mix ready to send off for online mastering. Here's a list of pointers that will help keep your audio sounding it's best:
i) Send your mix bounces in the same sample rate and bit depth you recorded it in. (If you recorded it at say, 48 Khz/ 24 bit, don't convert it to 16 bit or 44.1 Khz.)
ii) Don't put any effects (compression, limiting, EQ, etc) on you stereo output track.
iii) Make sure the stereo output track isn't clipping, and that your individual tracks are not clipping either. Leaving me some headroom will help get the music to sound as amazing as possible.
iv) Listen to your mixes on as many sets of speakers as you can to make sure you're happy with how they sounds in different environments. Good audio recordings generally sound good everywhere, and the better mixes sound before being sent to the mastering studio, the better it will sound after I've finished.
Great question! I don't post a gear list, and here's why: It's been widely publicized that lots of online mastering scams have been popping up online. Many of these online mastering studio websites post fake gear lists and use fake studio pictures in an effort to rip people off. Some mastering engineers have even reported seeing pictures of their own mastering studio online on these scam mastering service websites! I strive to operate my business with the highest level of integrity, and getting into a "gear-list war" with a con artist claiming to offer quality mastering services online isn't a battle worth fighting. If you'd like to hear what I can do for your music, please send me a song for a free mastering sample. You can't fake great music mastering, and I find doing a free mastering sample for people demonstrates the amazing quality and awesome results that I offer better than anything else. Check out the interview I did with Music Tech magazine that goes into more detail on the subject of online mastering contests.
In the extremely unlikely event that you feel your masters doesn't sound amazing after being returned from my mastering studio, I will make free mastering revisions until you're happy with my work. If you ever aren't satisfied for any reason with my work, please, please let me know, and I'll bend over backwards to make it right. (About 95% of my mastering projects get approved on the first master though!) My goal is to keep your business for life, and I pride myself on having the best customer service in the mastering studio industry. I want to make sure your online mastering experience is pleasant as possible. If you hear any small mixing or editing mistakes in your mix after having it mastered, I offer a discount for remastering new mixes at a rate of $25 per song if there are only small changes to the mix.
If you're considering hiring a local studio to master your music, I'd recommend getting a mastering sample from them and from myself before hiring either of us. Full time mastering engineers are actually pretty rare, and I wouldn't recommend having your music by someone who does it on the side.
Yes I can. Check out this blog post for everything you could possibly need to know about embedding ISRC & meta data into CD audio.
Zipping your audio files doesn't effect their audio quality, and it makes uploading big files for online music mastering much easier. To create a .zip file in Mac: a. Press "Command" and click each of files to select which files to zip. b. Press "Control" and click on the selected files. Choose "Create Archive" or "Compress Files". c. This creates a new file, called Archive.zip. This is the compressed file. d. Rename the Archive.zip file and upload it to me.To create a .zip file in Windows: a. Locate your files. b. Ctrl-click on each file to select all of them. c. Right-click and choose Send To > Compressed (Zipped) folder. d. Rename the .zip file and upload it to me.
I'm just north of Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Most people that hear my work absolutely love it. I often get hired by people who have sent a single song out for a free mastering samples from various online mastering studios. After hearing the free mastering samples from various studios, a huge percentage of people end up hiring me because of my superior audio quality, amazing customer service, and reasonable prices. I believe that if you hear what I can do for your music, there's a really good chance that you'll hire me.
As a policy, I will NEVER share, send, or let anyone listen to your music during the mastering process. Until you've given me written permission, your music is top secret. As you can see from the tons and tons of from people who work with me, I take running my business very seriously because it's the way I put food on the table for my family. I'd never risk my reputation or my business by sharing someones music without their permission.
Yes I can! Mastering to meet Apple's MFiT standards is actually very easy and I adhere to it even when mastering for other online stores.
Yes! However, classes are usually full. If you're interested in classes check out my Mixing Classes page for more info.
Anything under 5 minutes would count as one song. If a song is longer than 5 minutes, just send me an email and I'll get you a custom price depending on it's length. If a song is very short, I still count as a single song.
Any other music mastering questions? Contact me!
Mastering Engineer Chris Graham
Before I became a full time audio mastering engineer, I was an audio engineer, music producer and musician. Like other audio engineers, I occasionally was put in the uncomfortable position of having to master my own mixes due to an artist's budget problems. Mastering anything you've also mixed is a nightmare, but I quickly grew fascinated with the process and began acquiring specialized audio mastering equipment and software and working hard to hone my skills.
I started mastering every unmastered album I could get my hands on, and after showing my producer friends the results I was achieving, I was soon being asked to master albums all the time. Eventually, more and more people began asking me to master their projects, and I grew to really look forward to the reactions I would get after sending them my work. I soon realized that I enjoyed mastering music for other people more than I had ever enjoyed producing, engineering or even playing my own music professionally. As the projects kept coming in, I decided in 2008 to devote all my efforts to providing music mastering services, and stopped accepting work as an mix engineer or producer.
I had my mastering studio built, and the choice felt right in my heart. I couldn't be more pleased with where that decision has taken me. Few things give me more satisfaction than the feedback I receive from people about how excited they are that their recordings are finally "coming to life."
I still occasionally find the time to get out on the road and play my own music, but I prefer to stay home with my wife & our three kids and master music for a living. Mastering music for a living has been a blast and I love meeting and working with the incredible people from all over the globe that come to me for their mastering services.
If you'd like to get to know me a little more before sending your project my way, please give me a call or send me an email.
Best Reviews In The IndustryGoogle "Chris Graham Mastering reviews" and you'll see that my customer satisfaction is #1. Before you hire a mastering engineer, research their reviews. You won't find anyone with better reviews than me.
Music Mastering Services
When looking for a mastering engineer, the best thing to do is to send a song to a few different mastering studios to see who one can make your music sound the best. Hiring a stranger to master your music can be scary, but getting a sample from a few different mastering engineers before hiring them makes it a lot easier to find a someone you can trust. I’m sure you’ll find that my audio quality is amazing, and that my customer service is second to none.
Free Mastering Sample
To get a free mastering sample, send me a song and I’ll master two different samples of your song for free. Typically, I’ll master one louder, more compressed sample, and another less compressed and more open sounding sample. If you like how the samples sound, you’ll be able to purchase and download the full masters instantly, or hire me for your next project and get free mixing advice before final mastering.
Video Mix Consultations
If you’d like mixing advice before mastering, book a project and I’ll start by walking you through how to get your mixes sounding great. This can lead to huge improvements in audio quality because the better a mix sounds before mastering, the better it will sound after mastering. In addition to the video mix consultation, mixing services are also available from my team of mixing engineers.