Frequently Asked Questions
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How does payment and file delivery work?
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!)
How do I prepare my mixes for mastering?
When you book a project on through this website, you'll be asked what software you use to mix, and the site will display specific instructions for your recording software on how to prepare your mixes for mastering.
Generally though, the best files to send to mastering are .WAV files, peaking below -3 db, with minimal compression or limiting plugins on the master fader track.
What's the difference between mixing and mastering?
Mixing is the process of adjusting the individual tracks/individual instruments in 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 make a collection of songs feel like an album, glueing them all together.
Are you MFiT (Mastered For iTunes) certified?
I am an Apple certified mastering engineer, and can make "Mastered For iTunes" compatible masters as well. I always follow Apple's MFiT's guidelines, even if a project isn't going to be released as "Mastered For iTunes," and I don't charge extra for this. To get a price quote on mastering, click here.
Do you offer mixing services?
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.
Do you master for vinyl?
Yes I do! Mastering for vinyl is very different than mastering for digital though. For the best audio quality, ideally I should master two completely different versions. I usually do digital first masters, and then to do a brand new batch of masters that are optimized for vinyl. The vinyl masters are compressed much less, and have their bass EQ set to avoid any possibility of the needle jumping out of the groove. If you'd like to have me master two versions of your project, all you'd need to do is book two separate mastering projects, one for digital, and then another one for vinyl. I can master either the digital or the vinyl versions first, and then once approved, master the second version as well.
Will my music be radio-ready after mastering?
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.
What gear do you use?
Great question! I don't post a gear list, and here's why:
I strive to operate my business with the highest level of integrity, and getting into a "gear-list war" with a the many mastering engineers who post fake gear lists 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. If you're curious to learn more about why I don't post my gear list, check out my interview on the "Working Class Audio Podcast."
Do you have a policy on explicit lyrics, cuss words, etc?
I'm ok with lyrics that may be offensive to some people. However, I'm not okay with lyrics that promote hatred, intolerance, discrimination, or violence towards an individual or group. If your project contains lyrics that might border on that, email me and we can discuss it.
Do you charge extra for revisions?
In the extremely unlikely event that you feel your masters doesn't sound amazing, I will make free mastering revisions until you're happy with my work. The only catch is that revisions must be requested within 30 days of masters being delivered. If you're ever unsatisfied with my work, please let me know, and I'll bend over backwards to make it right. (About 95% of my 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.
If you have revision requests after the 30 day window for free revisions, I charge a flat rate of $10 per mastering revision.
Can you embed ISRC, UPC, metadata etc?
Yes I can, but 99% of the time, embedding is actually done by the company that sends your music to online stores and streaming platforms. Typically, I recommend using Tunecore.com or CDBaby.com for this. Both of these sites provide free ISRC codes as well.
Do ".zip" files effect audio quality?
Zipping your audio files doesn't effect their audio quality, and it makes uploading big files for online music mastering much easier. I'd recommend using ".zip" formats rather than ".rar" though.
- To create a .zip file in Mac:
Press "Command" and click each of files to select which files to zip.
- Press "Control" and click on the selected files. Choose "Create Archive" or "Compress Files".
- This creates a new file, called Archive.zip. This is the compressed file.
- Rename the Archive.zip file and upload it to me.
To create a .zip file in Windows:
- Locate your files.
- Ctrl-click on each file to select all of them.
- Right-click and choose Send To > Compressed (Zipped) folder.
- Rename the .zip file and upload it to me.
Why do you offer a free mastering sample?
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 and keep coming back for more.
Will you steal my music?
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 of reviews 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 someone's music without their permission.
Do you offer mixing classes?
Currently, no, but we do occasionally open up mixing classes. If you're interested, email me and I'll let you know when our next mixing class opens up.
How long can a song be?
For mastering, any song under 5 minutes would count as one song. If a song is between 5 & 10 minutes long, I'd charge it as 2 songs. Between 10 & 15 minutes long would be 3 songs, etc. If a song is very short, I still count it as a single song.
If you have a longer song you'd like mastered, just select the appropriate number of songs on my mastering prices page.
Mix changes after mastering.
No problem! All you'd need to do is book a "Re-mastering" project in your login. Re-mastering is 50% off if I can use the mastering settings of the original song.
Can I change my mix during mastering?
Once I've started work on a song, if you need to make a last minute change, just let me know ASAP. I charge $25 for this, as I need to completely re-evaluate each new file for mastering.
Can I change the email address I use to log into ChrisGrahamMastering.com?
- Log in and click "My Stuff" on the upper right hand corner.
- Select "My Account".
- Click "edit your password and account details".
You can change any detail you'd like for your login profile on that page.For your privacy, we'll need to keep all of our emails about your project limited to to the same email account that you have as your login.
Can you master songs with a "gapless" transition?
When you go to upload files after booking a mastering project, the site will ask a few questions about "gapless" songs, and will try to convince you not have any gapless transitions on your album. The reason for this is that even in this day and age, gapless records usually don't end up playing as gapless most of the time on streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. Typically, you'll hear an audible click, or gap between songs on those services when streaming. Going gapless is an artistic decision, so ultimately it's up to you!
If you decide that you'd still like gapless transitions, the site will walk you through sending the proper files.