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General Sound Quality
One of the most important considerations is the overall sound of your mix. The purpose of mastering is to enhance your music by bringining out the best elements that are in it, rather than changing it. There is a common misunderstanding that a poor sounding mix can be fixed in mastering. Really, only a good mix can be made to sound great in mastering.

EQ'g Your Mix
If you are sending your mix to us to be mastered, then before doing so make sure that you are happy with the equalization balance. If you are unsure, you can always make comparisons to other commercially released music that is similar in style. This can be useful to determine whether your mix has the right amount of bass, mid-range, or treble. If you do use another production as reference, we would like to know about it so that we can use the sme reference. We may request that you provide it to us. Please know that using small speakers for your monitoring may not accurately reproduce the bass signals and it can be easy to over do it as the area below 50-60Hz is not within the speakers dynamic capability. You may want to use a sub-woofer if you have one.

Vocals and Sibilance
If vocal sibilance is present, it will probably be enhanced or exaggerated in mastering. It is possible that we could apply de-essing, however, keep in mind that if we do this in mastering it will be applied to the entire song and not just the vocal track. De-essing in mastering is not optimal and should really be done in the mix.

Compression benefits the song in that it sort of glues the mix all together. Compression can be applied to the individual channels as well as the entire mix.  Overusing compression will crush the dynamics of your song and make it sound flat and boring. This absolutely cannot be undone or restored in mastering. If you are unsure, it is better to use less rather than more compression in the individual tracks, and should never be applied to the master channel of the mix. We will address compression of the entire song while mastering. 

It is very important to remember that you should NEVER apply limiting to the entire mix prior to mastering. As with compression, it will crush the dynamics. While still working on your mix, it is a good idea to use compression and limiting for reference purposes only. This way you will have an idea about how your song may change  and what it might sound like after mastering. Just make sure to remove it prior to mastering. 

Never allow the individual channels or the master channel to exceed 0dB as it will probably cause audible distortion that will be a problem during mastering. It is possible for these artifacts to be somewhat addressed with our fnacy software via post production repair, however, that type of editing is applied the the entire frequency range and will affect your sound quality. 

Loudness level
Mastering engineers have varying opinions about this. Given the fairly recent application of BS.1770-3 technical specification for broadcast limitations on loudness allowances, Eleven 11 studio prefers to keep the loudness of a mix on the safe side and keep the mix relatively quite. Depending on your intended use of your music, it may require more than one master. For CD, MP3 play and most websites, the mix should be kept at -6dB peak level. Please do not add effects to your mix that are intended to make it louder and instead, focus on good sound leveling.  We will be sure to get the loudness to commercial specs. Our high quality mastering software and our techniques will get you a cleaner sound than your plug-in anyway.  
If your intention is to use your music for either radio/TV broadcast or a loundness limiting music website like iTunes and Spotify, your volume levels are required to be much less. In these cases, your peak channel and master levels should be at -15 to -12dB (preferable -15dB). We realize that this is not loud enough for most of you, but that's just the way it is if you want your music to be accepted through those media. Either way, your finished master will sound great and you will be safe to use it where ever you intend to without a problem.

Track length and fades
It is a common mixing mistake to not leave enough quite space either before the song starts or after it ends. Make sure to leave a few seconds of silence both at the beginning and at the end of the song to make sure that no material is cut off and lost. If you want you song to fade in or out you are somewhat nervous about doing it yourself, we would be happy to handle that and make sure the song starts and stops at exactly the right time. 

File Formats
If you are sending us a mix that is to be mastered, it needs to be in .WAV or .AIFF format. We prefer a bit rate of 24 bit or highr as the sound quality is better, however we can work with 16 bit. The sample rate can be 44.1kHz or higher. It is recommended that the mix be submitted using the sam sample and bit rates as the original recording. Compressed file formats such as MP3, MP4 and WMA files should be avoided for mastering purposes as the compression reduces sound quality. 

Data and Coding
During mastering, we will insert the imbedded coding and text data as well as any artwork like pictures or album covers. We will provide you with a data sheet so that you can provide all the necessary information to us prior to mastering your music. We will want to know such things as song and album title, song order of the album, names of artists in the band, composers, arrangers, dates of recordings & lyricist etc. We will also want your UPC and ISRC codes if you have them. Things such as track length are calculated automatically.

Production Master
If you intend your final production to be used by a CD manufacturing facility, we can provide you with a Redbook standard audio CD. You should call the CD printer ahead of time just to be sure about what typ format will be acceptable to them. If you intend to submit your music for radio play, or to one of the websites who have loudness limitation requirements, we can provide you with a complete written audio analysis for every one second of the song as well as graphical representation of the loudness throughout the entire song history. We must be notified of this need in advance. If you ask after the mastering has already been conpleted, the song will need to be remastered and there will be another mastering charge.


Please observe these guidelines when submitting your music for mastering. It will help us both to maintain a better sound quality

Eleven ll Studio


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