Our audio finishing service is a one of a kind service that allows real-time manipulation of your mix while monitoring through our mastering chain. Clients can bring their DAW computer and hook it up via Firewire to our Neve Genesys Console, summing between 16 and 32 channels and utilizing the console's 1084 EQ's and custom dynamics.
The benefits of this service are:
- Analog summing through our custom converters and Neve Genesys console will bring width, depth and analog warmth into your mix.
- Our accurate and musical monitoring environment allows us to critically listen to your mix and determine if there are any changes that could be made to improve your mix.
- Many times, as mastering brings clarity to a mix, it can bring light to problems that could not be perceived during mixdown. With the mix at our fingertips, we can make changes to the mix in light of what the mastering is revealing.
- Especially in cases where perceived loudness is an important factor in the final master, many times clients who are mastering only from a stereo file will have to trade the punch and impact of their mix for the perceived loudness they desire. With the mix available to manipulate during mastering, we can achieve the level desired first in mastering and then proceed to turn up those transient elements (ie. kick & snare) lost during the limiting process.
The amount of time spent on any given project can vary greatly depending on what the client would like to accomplish. Although it is not uncommon for projects that are mastered in this way to take as little as 1 hour per song, clients frequently elect to spend upwards of 2-3 hours to get things just right. Because of this, flat rates for this service are not available.
- Projects are billed $250/hour or $2500/day (12 hour maximum)
- Hours are billed beginning with client arrival & setup and ending with client departure.
- The creation of reference CD's and CD masters are billed hourly, but do not incur any extra charges beyond the hourly fee.
It is the client's responsibility to make sure their DAW is working smoothly prior to arriving to mastering. We cannot be responsible for time wasted due to CPU overloads or software conflicts on our client's machines. If there is any question of whether your computer will perform as intended, we strongly recommend printing stems of the mix (decribed below) and utilizing our Pro Tools HD system for playback to ensure a smooth session.
Making Stems of Your Mix
In cases where clients cannot bring in their host DAW to the mastering session, making stems is a good alternative. Stems are individual mixdowns of groups of instruments within a mix, that when combined will give an accurate representation of the mix. Although the creation of stems is fairly straightforward, there are some considerations worth noting.
- It is important to print important elements separately. For instance, instead of a "Drums Stem," print a kick stem, a snare stem, a toms/overheads stem and a percussion/loops stem.
- Mixing into large amounts of mix bus compression or limiting will make stem-printing extremely difficult. It is not recommended to print stems through mix bus compression or limiting because of how it will adversely affect the stems' musical relationships when recombined.
- It is strongly recommended that clients, after creating the stems, import them into their DAW and verify that everything is playing back as intended. Nothing is worse than arriving to mastering and realizing that the stems somehow didn't print properly.