What are the benefits of having a recording mastered by a professional and dedicated mastering engineer,  rather than the person who mixed it?

First off, it's your recording, and the choice regarding mastering is yours alone to make. That being said, the philosophy here is that mastering is a craft to which Audiosiege is fully dedicated, with an approach tuned and honed solely for that purpose. While mixing engineers often master their own mixes, it can be risky when the monitoring environment, equipment, and personnel involved with the process have not changed. Whether the mix was completed on monitors that are imbalanced by design (Yamaha NS-10s, for example), or perspective is easily lost from being so deep into the recording, the mixing engineer, no matter how talented, usually cannot start the mastering phase with fresh, unbiased ears. Because the monitoring chain and listening environment are tuned differently, a professional mastering engineer can identify and correct problem areas in a mix that previously went unnoticed, or take an already perfect mix and augment it with additional talent-even if it means a transparent approach.

Do you only master heavy music like punk and metal?

Absolutely not. While the studio’s background is certainly in underground and extreme music, we welcome the opportunity to work with musicians of all genres, and have records of many different styles in our discography.

How far out are you booked and how long long does mastering take?

For mastering, booking about 3-4 weeks in advance is recommended, but usually not required. After the first pass is printed and uploaded on the first day, average turnaround time, allowing for the revision, approval, and final printing process, averages about 5-7 business days.

How do we book mastering?

You can schedule mastering, complete the project form, and pay the deposit by visiting our scheduling page here.

How do we get our mixes to you?

The easiest way is to put everything into a zip archive and upload it to our Wetransfer page here.

What kind of files and formats do you accept for mastering?

Stereo interleaved or dual mono WAV or AIF files, at whatever bit depth and sample rate they were recorded and mixed. We ask that you do not convert them to a lower bit depth or lossy format, and do not resample. We have a great sample rate converter, and can accept anything up to 192 kHz. Alternatively, you can mail us mixes on a data CD or DVD (please do not send an audio CD unless there is no other option), 1/4" two track tape reels, or DAT. Please do not send lossy files like mp3, etc.

What can be adjusted in mastering?

Mastering is all about efficiency and getting mixed instruments to work together to ensure proper translation and listener enjoyment. Rather than adjusting levels and equalization of individual instruments, in mastering, an already mixed stereo source usually gets treated with equalization, compression, saturation, limiting, and other processes. While frequency ranges can be adjusted and certain compression techniques used to add clarity and focus to the area of some instruments, the volume levels of these instruments can rarely be adjusted in mastering, and hardly ever without compromising another aspect of the mix. If you are unsure about the ability of certain instruments to hold up in mastering, feel free to send a sample mix before mastering or provide instrumental stems.

Our record is intended to be sequenced a certain way, so the gaps and fades need to be adjusted to match what we have in mind. What is the best way to achieve this?

There are several options here, and, really, any of them will work fine. The most basic way is to communicate your instructions in an email or text file. Another option, if you have access to a DAW, is to create a "mock-up" of the sequence, which can then be matched when it comes time to master the record. As always, email us if you have any questions.

Do you allow revisions?

Absolutely. Unlimited revisions are included in the mastering price.

Do you offer free samples?

In most cases, we do not, and you can read our views on free samples on the rates page. However, we do offer samples at a charge of $90 per single song, which can be applied toward the mastering invoice if you choose to proceed.

Is it possible to hear clips of previous work before and after mastering?

No. We firmly believe that mastering is a custom service and not a master in/master out process, so value doesn't lie in the obvious sonic differences of the mix versus the master as much as it does in the approach that was taken, and the communication that was made to realize a vision. It's easy to make a volume-boosted master sound better than a mix in headphones, but we have no interest in doing that, and honestly feel like it's misleading and slightly disrespectful to the band or recording engineer.

When is payment due?

A 50% deposit is requested to book a mastering session, then an invoice for the balance is sent at the start of the job. Payment in full is requested either at that point or before the second or final print. If you'd like to book mastering without a deposit (if a label is paying, etc.), that can be arranged, so get in touch.

What kind of payments are accepted?

PayPal, debit/credit card, check, Venmo, and cash. Sorry, but we cannot do international bank transfers at this time (but Zelle works!)

Can we attend the session?

Of course. The majority of our sessions are unattended and done over the internet, and we work with bands and musicians from all over the world, but attended sessions are welcomed with advance notice.

Can we hear the masters before they’re done?

Our philosophy is that mastering is a custom-based service, so we wouldn’t want to have it any other way.