Rusty's Tips for Mastering in 2019

These days i do a lot of mixing. With the advent of DAW's and of course recall people seem more and more to be asking for every tiny 1/10th of a db adjustment to be made in the mix with no accounting for the fact that once the track goes to a good mastering guy things like hearing different frequencies popping out on different speaker systems will often be smoothed out. Theres a very good reason mixes need to be Mastered before release and this is one of them. Same goes for overall levels between different songs.

There' so much mis-information online i wanted to clear up that simple fact. Number 2  - the ref mixes i send to people are just for listening - they are in no way meant for release or even online promo, they should be deleted once the proper masters come back.

Finally i wanted to clear up Mastering Output Formats - heres what if currently out there that the Pro's and labels use and what you should be asking for depending on your usage.
CD manufacture - the Standard Master for this is no longer another CD - its a big zip file called a DDP.If your mastering House can't supply one i'd be questioning them for sure. Its much better than single files because its one big file that is exactly how you want it.

Vinyl Manufacture - This varies but most plants ask for a single A Side WAV file and B Side WAV file. This way all the gaps will be as you want them and give you quality control-ie if you send separate files its easy for mistakes in the order to happen. But you do need to ensure the mastering guy is experienced with Vinyl as its a different EQ and level to CD and Digital. Ideally some one who has cut vinyl in the past.
Digital Release- spotify, amazon, itunes etc - The best standard for this is whats called an MFIT (mastered for itunes) which is a hi rez WAV file either 16 or 24 bit depending on the source Rez.
If you use CD Baby they only accept 16bit files so thats a trick you need to be aware of. Not all mastering houses are authorized to create MFIT's as we are but a normal WAV file will work as well.
Digital Promo - Most radio prefer 16 bit WAV files with both the artist name and song name in the file name. Some are happy with 320KPS MP3. These are also ideal for things like social media, sending to Journo's for reviews and so on as they are smaller and easier to move around online and onto devices for listening. these have also become the standard ref file for checking mixes and masters before finalizing.


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