FAQ - Mixing/Mastering
Like music production, mixing and mastering is also a subjective form of art in itself. Therefore it is very important to agree about a clear goal before the process, otherwise my own taste will take the lead, which can be different compared to yours.
There are many ways to do this, but the most common is providing a reference master, or a self-master. Reaching the goal is a team work between the artist, the producer, the label, the engineer, and anyone who is leading the project, but in case of smaller projects it is usually just the artist and the engineer. At the end, differences can still occur due to the subjectivity, but in this case revision is always possible, and 2 revision loops are included in the price.
Minimum requirement is 44,1kHz/24bit WAV or AIFF files, but 48kHz/24bit files are recommended. There should be a headroom of minimum 6dB (-6dBFS peak level), no limiting, compression, or mastering EQ on the master channel. Please check the beginning and the end of the track to be sure that there is no missing data, and the tails are complete. No additional fade in or out is necessary, as it is part of the mastering process. Providing a reference master is not mandatory, but highly recommended.
Stem mastering is required when some more in-depth approach is necessary to improve the relative proportions of the main groups inside the track, which is not possible with normal mastering. Number of stems can vary depending on the song and the complexity, but usually 5-8 instrument groups are enough: vocals, leads, kickdrum, bass, snare or clap, hihats and percussions, pads and atmospheres, effects. If there is a special issue with the track, it is possible that certain sounds or groups will be requested separately, which can help me to get the most out of the final results. File preparation requirements are the same as for mastering.
Mixing is required when balancing and clarity can be improved only on the instrument (track) level. Therefore in this case all tracks are necessary for the engineering process separately. It is very important to name each files properly to support identification and organization of the tracks on both sides. In case of larger projects, some tracks can be merged after prior agreement. File preparation requirements are the same as for mastering.
Your new mix/master may sound significantly different to you, in comparison to the sound / aesthetic of your track during the production process. This difference is caused by the effort of making the track more clear and balanced, as well as the addition of depth, dimension, and loudness. Before replying with your initial feedback about the results, I would like to recommend to live with the master for at least for 24 hours. If there is something about the master that you don’t like, it could be the fact that you’re simply used to the original sound, which you heard many times during production. Take some time to get used to the new sound. Listen to the new track on as many systems as possible: on headphones, on your mobile, in a car, etc.. This will give you a broader perspective on how your track sounds and is an essential practice vs. only checking on the same speakers where you produced the track. If you have sent a reference master, please always compare to that track first.
After you’ve taken the above steps and waited at least 24 hours since first receiving and listening to the new master(s), please contact us with your feedback. If there is anything you would like to change to match your artistic decisions, let me know, and I will be glad to provide some advice/guidance on how to reach the desired goal and provide a new revision of the mix/master when necessary.
You absolutely can, but it is not recommended. Many artists have the skills to do the whole process by themselves, but even these artists can have the benefit of an additional pair of ears of an experienced engineer. Your ears can get used to some flaws during the long production process, and this can be easily corrected by the engineer, who is listening to your track the first time with all the experience behind, in an acoustically treated room, and with a transparent signal chain.
There are many advantages to work with an engineer. The most important is communication, where we can set the goals together, and customize the process to the artist’s needs. I am taking care of my clients, giving advices how to reach the best possible quality, and supporting the idea and vision of the artist through revisions if it is necessary. Together we can achieve a highly personalized outcome of the mixing/mastering process.
FAQ - Music Production
The process starts with consultation about the project, needs, and the context. I will ask specific questions, which I can use to determine a set of requirements, understand the context, and prepare a price offer. After we agreed about the terms, music production work is going to start. Depending on the complexity of the project, different milestones will be set to show the actual progress, and discuss about the further steps.
If the video is cut to the rhythm of an existing song, please let me know which song did you use, and the BPM of the song. This way I will be able to create your new, dedicated music at the same speed to match your video while keeping the original emotions of the earlier song in mind. If you cut the video without any guiding beats or music, I can write the new one to the natural rhythm of the video editing, which in this case will not be a perfect beat-match, but I will do my best to support the original flow of the video.
Absolutely! I do sound design for all kinds of media, films, games, electronic instruments, advertisements, or even for your song, if necessary. Please contact me with more details about your project, and I am sure we will find a solution.
Free Sound Evaluation
Making clear decisions about the next steps when your song is ready is often hard based on my experience with some of my clients.
- What level of engineering is necessary to reach the best possible quality for my target audience?
- Is there anything I should improve from production point of view before sending my track to mixing or mastering?
- How will this engineering process help me to reach more possible audiences, and supporters?
- How much will it cost for me?
I have started a free evaluation service for this reason to support less experienced artists in the decision making process. Just drop your file, fill out the form, and I will get back to you with a detailed evaluation.