Frequently Asked Questions

Mastering is both science and art.

It is the final creative process to achieve that professional polish by finding the perfect tonal balance, maximizing volume, treating previously missed imperfections and helping to create sonic consistency across an album. Giving you confidence that your music will sound its best on any playback system from HiFi to PA to car stereo.

It requires perspective. The kind of perspective thats achieved with high quality monitoring, DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), professionally designed acoustic environment and fresh ears. Even experienced engineers and producers can lose perspective once they have heard the same song many times. Listening to the mix for the first time in a different room on different monitors ensures nothing is overlooked.

Mastering is also the first step in the manufacturing and distribution process. Preparing meta data and creating the files for the replication plant if headed for a physical medium like CD.

As per the video above, when preparing your project to be exported to a single stereo file for mastering please:

  1. Finish the mix first. Make sure you are happy with the mix before uploading.
  2. Clear the master bus. Remove master bus loudness plugins like compressors and limiters etc. on the master channel. If you have found a sound you like with master bus processing feel free to send us a processed copy (with the clean copy) as a reference. If you are experienced and the master bus processing is integral to the sound and must be kept just be mindful not to over do it. Remember we have very high quality tools specially designed for this task.
  3. Leave room for the room. Leave space at the end of the track to let reverb tails naturally dissipate and dont make your fades too short.
  4. Master fader at 0dB (Unity gain).
  5. Leave some headroom. Your track should be peaking at about -6 dBFS
  6. Use the native sample rate. If you have recorded everything at 44.1kHz / 16bit export at this bit depth / sample rate. Dont export at a different rate as any SRC (sample rate conversion) that is unnecessary should be avoided. If you are working on an electronic project where synths etc will be printed on export you can use 24bit / 96kHz.
  7. Export to an uncompressed format like .wav or .aiff NOT MP3. If you use a lossy compression codec like .mp3 or .aac some of the information in your music file is being cut out and once it has been removed we cant get it back. For best quality sound always send uncompressed files to mastering.
  8. Dont apply dither
  9. Dont normalise
  10. Talk to me! Ask questions, tell me what your trying to achieve, the more I understand your vision the better I can help to deliver that.

  • Artist/Band Name
  • Album name
  • Song names
  • ISRC (optional)
  • Contact details
  • Any notes, reference tracks etc.
International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC) are the internationally recognized ID codes for music. ISRCs are assigned on a per-track basis and are widely used in digital commerce, reporting, and for delivery of royalty payments. You don't need them to press a CD or distribute your music digitally, but they aid in tracking usage of your music and getting paid.

Usually the label releasing the track will provide the ISRC however if your an independent artist you can get them directly:

USA - USISRC.org
UK - PPL
New Zealand - PPNZ
Australia - ARIA
Canada AVLA
To get ISRCs elsewhere contact IFPI
Hi, my name is Rupert Brown and I run DSP Mastering. A little on my history:
I was raised in a musical family starting Violin at 5 years old via Suzuki Method. Keyboard at 10, Bass guitar at 13 and I developed a love of electronic music production by 15. A computer geek already I began to produce electronica and DJ.

Moving to London in 2008 working for Cornflake which was one of London’s most prestigious Hi-Fi companies. During my time as a systems designer and acoustic consultant I was exposed to very high end playback systems daily, gaining in invaluable ear experience.

I also started The DSP Project an online electronic music production show to share knowledge and ensure my own musical growth. As it turns out it had the bonus of helping me to gain access many great studios, engineers and plenty of new gear to play with and review.

Having results I felt I could improve on from other services and a natural interest in hearing the finer details of sound. I studied and enjoyed the art of mastering more intensely. Through the show and my own music I was fortunate enough to gain mastering experience at Fluid Mastering and Metropolis studios. Working with top notch London engineers gave me an appreciation for the truth depth and beauty of this craft.

After five years in London honing my mastering, producing, performing and teaching skills; I returned home to New Zealand and built an ideal mastering studio with some of my favorite delicious hardware.
Om nom nom nom.

-Rupert

Once we have heard your track in our accurate listening environment we are happy to discuss how the mix could potentially be better prepared for mastering. If you would like this feedback just ask.
(Mix analysis is provided to paid clients only at no extra charge.)
    • Online mastering - Unsigned artist = $79 per track
    • Attended mastering = $120 per hour
    • Stem mastering - Unsigned = $45 per stem
    • Digital file delivery = Free
    • DDPi = Free
    • Revisions = 1x Free
    • Mix analysis = Free for paid clients
    • Reference CD = $30
    • Redbook production master CD = $50
    • 3 year digital archiving (Optional) = $15 per track
    • All pricing in USD

    • We accept paypal, credit cards via paypal and Bitcoin.
      Please enquire if you wish to pay with Bitcoin.
Usually an album will take about a week depending on current workload. Its first in first served but if you are in a hurry let us know and we will work to deliver.

Upload now if your ready or Lets talk if you got more questions.


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