Great Sound Inspires the Listener

Welcome to Majestic Music Mastering

My goal in mastering is to bring your mix to it's ulitimate level of fidelity and impact. For rock this might mean a well balanced, punchy track that is exciting for the listeners and brings them deeper into your music. For acoustic music this might mean hearing the voice and instruments with great detail and clarity. In other cases it might just be a matter of preserving the mood of the track with some minor corrective equalization.

No matter what the needs of your music, I am dedicated getting the best possible sound for your track.

 

Getting "That" Sound

There's no magic to getting your music to sound like a commercial release. It really comes down to a lot of experience, good ears and some very high end gear (which only helps when accompanied by the first two things).

This is why simply throwing a mastering plugin on your mix to "crank the level" can do more damage than good. Properly achieving the finished sound of a record is a balancing act of equalization, various compression settings, limiting and determining which gear will lend itself to the feel of the track. This might involve thickening/fattening the sound, adding punch, adding clarity etc. It also means knowing when not do some of these things. Every project has different needs. Ears, Experience and Gear all come into play in order to make the correct decisions that will make your track shine the way you always intended.

 

Rates:

Unattended session: $80 per song (Includes delivery of Digital Stereo Master WAV files @ 16bit, 44.1k)

Attended session: $90 per song (Includes delivery of Digital Stereo Master WAV files @ 16bit, 44.1k)

Additional versions of Digital Stereo Masters (TV mixes, Instrumentals etc): $25 per song

CD Master / DDP Master: $50 (includes 2 error checked CD Masters and a DPP file both with meta data)

Further information:

A "song" is defined as 6 minutes or less. Each additional 6 minutes of one piece is considered an additional song, so a 14 minute duration piece would be considered 3 songs.

A DDP Master is a group of digital files in a folder that contain all of the information on your Master CD: songs, gap information, meta data etc. It conatins all the information that the disk duplication facility needs to create your CD. You can't just rip your Master CD and retain all of this. The DDP has some advantages over a CD Master with regards to disk duplication because it can be digitally delivered to the manufacturing plant with no possibility of dust, scratches, errors or jitter that can potentially be introduced with a CD Master. It is also helpful that you can store the DDP on a hard drive and duplicate it to as many backup drives as you like instead of worrying about misplacing or damaging your Master CD.

 

Loudness:


Much has been said about the "loudness wars" which refers to the fact that records have been getting louder (through the use of brickwall limiting) at the expense of dynamic range over the last 15 years. As loudness goes up, fidelity decreases and "listening fatigue" increases. This is because in order to make a record louder it is necessary to chop off the loudest peaks, like slicing off the top of a mountain, and this flat top is, by definition, distortion. A small amount of this can go unnoticed but many modern records have exceeded any level of subtlety. This can create an intense listening experience for the first 20 seconds, but after that it becomes fatiguing for the listeners with the result that they don't enjoy the listening to the music. However, louder masters can sound a bit better on laptop speakers, very cheap systems and in noisey enviroments. It's up to you to decide where you want your recording. Here are the three general categories:

Lowest Level/Most Dynamics: This will sound quieter than other contemporary records and won't sound as punchy on your laptop speakers. However, when you turn up the volume the mix will sound open and exciting. If your priority is high fidelity and long term listenability and you don't mind that the public may have to turn up their volume compared to other modern records, this is for you.

Mid Level/Some Dynamics: This is the most often used choice. It provides similar level to other commercial releases, but not aggressive level, and at the same time retains some musicality and dynamics. There is some tradeoff in terms of absolute fidelity compared to Lowest Level/Most Dynamics but it is a good way to approach modern levels without excessive comprimise of audio quaity.

Hot level/Least Dynamics: This is for when the priority is loudness. These levels generally sound good on laptops and small systems but the combination of distortion and lack of dynamics can cause it to be fatiguing for long term listening or on better systems.

 

Delivering your Masters:

It is common practice for mix engineers to mix into a bus compressor. More recently, it has been common practice for mix engineers to add a second stage of digital limiting (using a plugin such as L2, Ozone, Master X, Fabfilter Pro, Slate FG-X etc) in order to match commercial levels. This should be seen, however, as just a mockup of how your song might sound mastered. It is by far best to deliver your mixes WITHOUT this second stage of digital limiting applied. This allows me to work on your mixes in the most musical way with the results being far better than the original mockup. Explain this to your mix engineer or send him/her a link to this page. Of course, if you don't have that option, I can still work on the limited files.

The ideal delivery format is whatever format your project was recorded/mixed in. Typically this will mean WAV files that are 24bit/44.1k, 48k, 88.2k or 96k. Do not perform sample rate conversion or bit reduction.

So the checklist for best results is:

1. Deliver files in the original format (WAV, AIFF) and sample rate that they were mixed to.

2. Bus compression is OK but digital limiting (L2, Xenon, Ozone, Oxford Limiter etc) OFF.


Looking forward to working with you!

- Angelo Montrone