what to do before hiring a mastering engineer

From chief mastering engineer thaddeus moore


Mixing is an incredibly complex subject

here are 5 things to check for to maximize the potential of your track:

1. Over-Compressed Mix-Downs

Dynamic is the new Loud!

Remove limiters and compressors doing too much compression.

Get the most out of your levels by:

a. Creating digital headroom, and

b. Leaving a large dynamic range

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2. Imbalanced Low-End

Inconsistencies in low end like masking can make your mix sound different across systems.

Compression and distortion can help when used correctly.

Use over-the-ear headphones to monitor low-end without a good subwoofer.

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3. Overly Bright Mixes

Mixing to mastered reference tracks can lead to mixes that are too bright 

By starting with a darker mix, a good mastering engineer can make your tracks smoothnatural and bright.

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4. Inordinate Sibilance

Only so much can be done to tame overly-sibilant mixes during the mastering stage once instruments are blended together.

Using tools such as a de-esser on bright vocals or instruments can be useful.

If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, ask your mastering engineer about stem mastering. (I specialize in stem mastering!)

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5. File Type Confusion and Resolution

When transferring files for continued work, keep your files in in .AIF and .WAV formats at the highest bit depth and sample rate you are working in.

Use lossless .Zip data compression to limit the file size when sending online.

Remember: Converting back to PCM files after a lossy conversion gains nothing. Once those file types throw away, there’s no getting it back.

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A message from Thaddeus:

I hope that you have found this overview helpful and informative. If you have any questions and especially if you need help with; Editing Vocals, Audio Sweetening/Restoration/Forensic Analysis, and of course, Mixing, Mastering, or Stem Mastering, please don’t hesitate to write or call. I love doing all of those things.