Mastering

The final creative step before manufacturing is mastering. Our mastering benefits from having a mixers perspective. Using a combination of plug-ins, analog outboard and a ½” tape machine, we strive to take the music to the next level. Using our balanced control room, with a variety of speakers, we are able to ensure your music translates to the majority of speakers it may run through.

Mix-Mastering

‘Mix-Mastering’ is a concept that has been around for some time. Instead of mastering from a single stereo file that contains all the instruments, you master from numerous stereo files called ‘Stems’. ‘Stems’ are combinations of different instruments. Common ‘stems’ include; Drum Stem, Bass Stem, Melodic Stem, Main Vocal Stem and a Backing Vocals Stem. You can further divide this up and include a Solo Instrument Stem, or any other combination of instruments you may want to manipulate individually.

This option is most appealing to albums that were mixed in studios that have not been acoustically treated, or albums that want to have more sonic control in mastering. ‘Mix Mastering’ can be considered the final coat of varnish that can make an otherwise ‘stale’ track become a living, breathing entity. The following are examples of where this style of mastering could prove useful:

  • A common problem when mixing is separating the Bass and Kick drum frequencies. With a stereo mix we can only boost or subtract frequencies that affect both of these instruments. With stems however, we can individually control the kick and bass; in essence allowing us to fit the two in with each other and the rest of the instruments.
  • In a stereo mix, brightening a dull lead vocal will systematically brighten the snare drum too. Obviously this is problematic if the snare drum is already bright enough. Utilizing stems will bypass this problem by allowing us to have individual control over the vocal track, enabling us to process it separately from the other instruments.
  • If you don’t have good quality reverbs and effects, you can bounce certain instruments, such as the vocals, with no effects and we can use our equipment to add that professional touch to your mixes. You’ll be surprised at the sonic difference between using real analog plate reverbs and good digital reverbs over generic plug-ins.
  • Mastering from stems allows for a whole new level of musical creativity. You can process an entire stem as a whole. For example, compressing the drum kit in a way to make it ‘pump’ in time with the music; adding reverbs and delays to a stem to create even more separation; using parallel compression to create a thicker sound; or automating filters to reduce the frequency spectrum over an entire stem.

If you’d like to talk about what type of mastering would best suit your project, send us an email or feel free to call us anytime.