How does a mastering job usually work?

We agree the time frame and the cost, specific details of how the multitracks or mix will be delivered, as well as your sonic ideas. Then, you can either drop off your files in person or send it online. Upon completion, I post the mixes / masters online for you to download, and then you can listen to them in your usual listening environment. If you wish to request any changes, just let me know. As soon as you sign off the masters, I prepare everything for the distribution.

Do you offer stem/bus/separation mastering?

Yes, of course I do. If the mix is good, that is not always necessary, but stem-mastering offers more possibilities for problematic mixes and also for fine tuning good mixes. The effort and the associated costs, however, are higher. Should it arise, we will discuss whether stem mastering would be a good idea and if so, to what extent.
One example of a possible stem separation is: main vocals, backing vocals, bass, drums, harmonic Instruments. The important thing is always that all stems have the same starting point and that, when superimposed, they reproduce your mix perfectly and without the need for any further volume adjustments.

What format should I deliver my files in?

– 24 bit floating point WAV
– 44.1 kHz / 48 khz / 96 kHz (The sample rate should correspond to the frequency of your recording project)
– Centered Mono tracks, such as main vocals should be mono. If there are panned mono tracks such as backings etc., they can be exported as stereo to include the panning.
The stereo files can be stereo interleaved or spilt stereo, although 24 bit WAV stereo interleaved is certainly the standard.

What additional information should I provide?

If there are clear guidelines for the mastering, such as comments on
individual mixes, specific requests about loudness, dynamics, frequency
image or sound reference titles, then please send them along with your
mix. Please send me your “reference mix/master”, on the basis of
which the mix has been approved by all parties.

With albums and EPs, please specify the track order, as far as it has been decided.

How should I label and structure the files?

Please name the containing folder: “TempoBPM_Artist – Title”

when sorted by name this folder should contain a folder at the top named: 00_References
within this folder you can provide me with Tracks guiding as a Reference for this particular release as most importantly your Reference Mix/Master named: 00_Artist – Titel_REF
You can also drop a text file providing additional notes here if you wish.

Besides the reference folder all tracks should remain ready to drag and drop into the DAW within the “TempoBPM_Artist – Title” folder.
If you’re not having only one stereo mix being mastered, you’re delivering multiple files for stem mastering or mixing. Please make sure that they’re exactly reproducing your reference mix including panning but without further bus processing, when drag & dropped into the DAW.

Please use short names to label your multitracks, so it’s possible to read them when imported in the DAW:
HHD closed

main vox
background vox01 L
background vox01 R

If you’d like to send me dry vocals in case you’re unsure about your premixing, please place them within a separate folder, within the “TempoBPM_Artist – Title” folder.

example For (stem) mastering:
Artist – Titel_DRMS
Artist – Titel_BASS
Artist- Titel_HARMONICS
Artist – Titel_VOX

What level should the mix be at and what about master bus compression?

With a 24 bit mix it makes no difference whether the mixes have a level of -0.1 dbFS or -10dbFS. I recommend a level of approx – 3dbFS . This, however, should only be taken as a guide. As long as the level remains below 0dBFS everything is ok.

All master bus effects that are there to purely to increase loudness should be removed before the mix down. This applies to all types of limiters, enhancers, exciters, clippers, etc. In contrast, a moderate amount of compression on the master bus can be part of the mix and, indeed, should remain in the mix if it is being used to create a particular sound feel.
Also, if, you have used a master bus compressor or a certain effects chain that has shaped the sound considerably from the very start of creating your track, it often makes no sense to completely disable them for mastering. This is because the track will probably sound quite different without them. With tracks like these the final limiter should not be used or at least reduced, so that the mix still has headroom.
If in doubt, please give me two versions – one with master bus processing and one without. We can discuss and decide which the best version to use is after checking the material.

How are revisions dealt with?

Revisions are usually included, free of charge. However, if new mixes of tracks that have already been mastered are delivered after mastering, my charge is dependent on the amount of time required and the scope of the change.

Where can I upload my files?

You can send me your files via Wetransfer, Dropbox or other file sharing services of your choice.

How and in what format will I receive the masters?

You will be sent a download link to the mastered WAV files.

Further more a so-called master DDP image (Disc Description Protocol) can be created. The DDP will then digitally beeing sent to the pressing plant. The pressing plant then uses the DDP to create the CDs. Please let me know if you need a DDP when calculating financials.

With vinyl, some pressing plants also use the DDP as a template, but 24bit WAV files (one file per side) are more commonly used. This should be discussed with the vinyl pressing plant of your choice.

Can I get acapella, instrumental and live versions of the mastered track?

Yes, of course you can. If there’s a need for acapella-, instrumental- or live versions of the mastered track, a stem mastering is necessary.

How do I pay?

Payment can be made by bank transfer or Paypal. The relevant information is on the final invoice.

What if I want to mention the mixing / mastering in my credits?

If you would like to mention me in your credits (thank you!) then please use this wording:
Mixed & Mastered by Jannik Theiss (Instagram: @jannik_theiss)