Answers to your Audio Mastering Questions

What is mastering?

Mastering is the final step in producing radio and CD-ready music. A good mastering engineer optimizes the overall level or volume; he’ll uses processors such as equalizers and compressors to make sure your mix has the most punch, clarity, and energy as possible. And professional mastering ensures your mix will sound its best on everything from stereos to iPods to car speakers.

When mastering an entire CD, the mastering engineer makes sure there’s uniformity throughout the project – that sonically, the album or CD is a cohesive “whole”, not just a bunch of songs.

How should I prepare my tracks for mastering?

This is it, you’ve labored over your magnum opus for eons, meticulously carving out your mix from the seclusion of your secret studio lair. You’ve tested it in your car stereo and hi-fi system. You’ve gone to war with guitar players and singers, who can’t ever seem to get enough of themselves [both figuratively and literally!]… But in the end, you feel this mix is solid and ready for mastering.

What’s next?

For each song, send us your final mix, printed as a full-bandwidth WAV or AIFF file. 24-bit/44.1kHz WAV is the preferred format, but higher resolutions [48kHz, 88.2kHz, and 96kHz] will fly, too. While 24-bit files are preferable for greater dynamic translation, 16-bit files are also acceptable.
Make sure your mix isn’t already slammed, or over-compressed. It’s a good idea to back off on any master-buss compression/limiting you may be using to pump your mix. If your mix is too hot for mastering, we’ll let you know and give you instructions for how to resubmit it at the optimal level.
To submit tracks, EPs or entire CD projects, visit the Get Started page. For single track mastering, make sure that the name of the track is the same as the track name you enter on the payment page. For EP or Album projects, make sure you use the same project name (such as the album title) when you submit and upload your files.

Will you make my tracks sound like a platinum radio hit?

That depends – is your mix great? Are your instruments recorded properly? Is it a great song with killer performances? We’ll make the most of your mix. If you need mixing help, read our mixing services page.

How do I submit my songs?

Just hit the Get Started page; the process is simple. You make your payment through paypal, and you’ll be taken to an upload screen. Upload your file, and we’ll email you with a confirmation. Your song will be ready in under a week.

What gear do you use?

We monitor on the best including Genelec, Yamaha and Grado but we’re not going to beat around the bush. David Castell Mastering is 100% digital. We use the best mastering plug-ins money can buy which:

1. Sound amazing;

2. Are very time effective;

3. Allow us to recall all the parameters of your session – even years down the road;

4. Cost a fraction of their analog counterparts – which is how we are able to give you this service at this price point;

FYI: 26 of the 28 songs on the Spotify playlist were mastered by David and Derek using 100% plug-ins!

Why are you guys doing this?

Because this is where so much of the excitement is these days. Radio and record labels are struggling to find their place in the age of iPods and downloads. But meanwhile, you guys – the musicians across the globe – aren’t struggling to say something. You’re doing it, often without labels, without support, without million-dollar studios. We’re hearing simply amazing, jaw-dropping stuff, every day. You deserve the best shot – and we have the ears and the gear, and we love using them. We want to be part of this amazing transition in the industry.