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HERE SOME TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR MIXES FOR THE MASTERING
BLACKIPSTUDIO

[contact & prices]



Wenn ihr interessiert seit an unsere Arbeit dann schickt ihr uns übers Kontakformular eine E-Mail.
( In der E-Mail den Band-Namen nicht vergessen ) Und schreibt uns was ihr braucht ... ein Album/E.P/MCD oder einzel Track. Teilt uns mit ob ihr das Master als wav oder eine Full-Master-CD mit CD-Text und
PQ-Sheet in der Master-CD benötigt.

Nur wenn wir alle diese Information haben, können wir euch ein Angebot machen.

If you`re interested in working with us, please write us an e-mail (don´t forget to write your band name in the content of the mail) and tell us what you need ... an album/ep/single mastering or a single track mastering. Please let us also know if you only need the mastered wav-files back, or if you need a full Master-CD with CD-Text and PQ-Sheet for a replication factory.

Only if we have all these information, we can make you an offer.

[mixing]

A master can only be as good as the original recording or mix. There are measures we can take to clean things up a bit, but sonic elements can't be deleted from a stereo mix without negatively resulting in something else. So please keep your mix as clean as possible. Especially Bassdrum and Bassline should be mixed up as good as you can. Try to prevent extrem EQ on the master-buss when mixing. For the mastering engineer, it`s far easier and more preferable to add EQ to an airless-sounding mix than to reduce it again. And as an annotation: NEVER compare your mixes to mastered CD's ... those mixes surely didn't sound that way before the mastering engineer worked on them. Please don´t use any mastering-tools an the master-buss like multiband compression, limiters or maximizer.

[phase issues]

Check your phase while recording and mixing. Electronically generated sounds and samples can have phase issues, too.

[compression]

Don't over compress your mixes! We know that we demand a lot of you as you will be technically able to use plug-in compressors, but if you over compress, the mastering engineer loses any chance to recover lost dynamics. Remind: compression can actually make your mixes sound smaller and add distortion when overdone...

[clicks & pops]

Check your songs to make sure they are free of clicks, pops and drop-outs. Please also check if all volumes are ok and your arrangement will be the final version. To change songs with hindsight will cause needless costs.

[loudness]

Your final mix output should PEAK at -3 dbfs (digital scale) without using a limiter. If you've cleared limiting and your levels are still red hot and/or clipping and your efforts to reduce the volume of your master fader doesn`t bring you the desired advantage ... it means you're cutting the input of your master (the sum-total volume of your track faders is more than 0 dbfs). The solution is to globally pull the levels of your track faders down until your master isn't clipping anymore. But remember: once you do this your mix may sound radically different so it's worth to correct before you get too attached to the sound. If your levels aren't perfect, we've seen it all and can most likely work with it.

[fade-outs]

Please leave count-offs and fade outs intact on your final mixes. If you cut off or incorrectly fade a portion of your own music by mistake, there's no way for the mastering engineer to reconstruct or repair your mix. Fades and edits can always be non-destructively rendered at the mastering stage.

[names & numbers]

Whether you plan to attend your mastering session or not, make sure all files are correctly named, shipping/delivery instructions are agreed upon, and sequencing is complete before the session date. We love it when the file name includes the song title and track number, for exp "01_Intro".
Also include any comments/instructions/references/concerns you may have regarding specific mixes.

[delivery specifications]

Always supply a first generation bounce of your mixes in their original sample rate and bit depth (don't do any conversions).To keep the highest fidelity throughout the production process, we advise beginning your recording sessions using WAV files at 24 bit... but will work with anything including AIFF, WAV, (MP3s - just if there`s no other way...) and Orange-Book CD Audio, but we prefer to get your files as .wav or .aiff on a CDr or DVDr. [Please write your band name on the CD/DVD]. If you want to send your files via Internet, please upload all your songs in one file (.zip or .rar) to your server and send us only 1 download-link. If that´s not possible and you want to use yousendit, rapidshare or whatever, please talk to us first.

[file format]

Files can be any word-length (16-24 bit), or sample rate (44.1-192khz). For album & compilation masterings: Please make sure that all files have the same resolution. We could work perfectly with 44,1 kHz and 24 Bit wav and aif-files.

[radio-myth]

The "radio-ready" myth... your music does not need to be the loudest thing out there to sound good on the radio... actually, the reverse is true. Radio provides yet another layer of extreme compression/limiting (read: distortion) that makes everything the same relative loudness no matter the volume of the original source ... In fact, quieter mixes actually keep their sonic integrity and translate better, while still being just as loud as everything else in the broadcast. A more compelling argument for "loud" masters is the ability to throw your song on a mix CD/play list and have it stand up next to the latest "hit. "Whatever you decide, the customer is always right... if you want LOUD, you`ll get it.

[credits]

Please use this credits in your CD-Booklet: mastered by BLACK I.P STUDIO [MUSIC/PRODUCTION/RECORDING/MASTERING] [http://blackipstudio-recordings.com] and send us your album/ep/single when it´s finished and released.

[feedback]

Please also let us know if you`re satisfied with the result - you can use the community-threat on this website.

FOR MIXING

Here some tips for preparing your songs for the mixing.

The following tips are principless for good track and session management. The more time a mix engineer has to spend on doing these non-creative and labor intensive things, the less time is spent making your songs sound great. If the sky’s the limit and your budget is boundless, by all means,leave this stuff to the mixer… otherwise consider this:

Make sure you send the correct version of the song (ie, performances, arrangement, number of tracks, etc.) It may sound plausible, there are still people who manage to send the wrong files! Include a stereo bounce of the song as a reference. This provides some much needed perspective and also helps determine that all files and parts are accounted for. Label tracks and regions clearly. Instead of choosing for auto-named or generic titles such as “audio 1” or “track 2” change the names to “Basedrum” or “Lead_refrain” aso. Also try to include information that helps to identify the track or region’s location in the song (ie, “Bridge Gtr”). Check your edits to make sure they are free of clicks and pops. Paying a mixer to do this is like hiring a surgeon for a manicure. If you’re supplying a hard drive, CD, DVD, etc. label the outside of it with details respective software version, bit depth, sample rate, etc. Information like this greatly affect where the mix takes place and the kind of prep work needed to begin. Arrange tracks so that similar types of instruments are next to each other (ie drums, percussion, gtr, vocals, etc.) All tracks that you wish to be included in the mix should be visible and un-muted. Make sure mono tracks are not on stereo tracks or in stereo files (for exp: the same gtr on both sides is not a stereo track). A stereo file is anything recorded in stereo or processed with a stereo effect. Any alternate takes or tracks that you are uncertain of but kept "just in case" should be muted and placed together in the same area. You should also throw a question mark in the track name and perhaps add your thoughts in the comment area of that track. If you feel the track may or may not work in the song but could be cool given the mixer’s discretion, let them know…

LINGO

"Glass Master" :

The process usually known as mastering is actually called "pre-mastering" as we do not physically create the glass master. We just prepare the audio for reproduction. The replicators (CD manufacturers) actually take our "pre-master" and produce a physical image of the pits on a coated glass substrate. The glass master is then destroyed in a process called metallization in which a metal-plated version is made. From this version, all manufactured CD's are made.

"Orange-Book" :

Same as Red Book, it just applies to CD-R's and Recordable CD's. Orange & Red Book define the industry standard for CD Audio. Any CD-R burned as an audio CD with commercially available software is orange book compliant.

"PQ Codes" :

Part of the track length and spacing of your CD...assuming you're hiring a professional, it should be seamless and invisible to you.

"ISRC" :

(International Standard Recording Code) is a free, unique, digital "fingerprint" for each track supplied by either the RIAA or IFPI (for international) for the purpose of collecting royalties. This information is encoded within the metadata of the song-file during the mastering stage. No matter where or how the digital file is reproduced, this metadata remains tied to the track. If you choose to do this, I advise you to apply for the codes ahead of time and I can insert them during the mastering process. It usually takes about 3 biz days to get your codes once you've submitted the proper paper work. Please ask your record label if they want to have them written on CD.

"CD-Text" :

CD-Text is an extension of the Red Book Compact Disc specifications standard for audio CDs. It allows for storage of additional information (e.g. album name, song name, and artist) on a standards-compliant audio CD. The information is stored either in the lead-in area of the CD, where there is roughly five kilobytes of space available, or in the Subchannels R to W on the disc, which can store about 31 megabytes. These areas are not used by strict Red Book CDs. The text is stored in a format usable by the Interactive Text Transmission System (ITTS). ITTS is also used by Digital Audio Broadcasting or the MiniDisc. The specification was released in September 1996 and backed by Sony. Support for CD-Text is common, but not universal. Utilities exist to automatically rip CD-Text data, and insert it into CDDB.org or freedb.org


Good Luck !

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