the process of taking all of the songs that were mixed down and
preparing them for digital distribution and/or CD manufacturing.
These steps are performed when we master an audio project for CD or
the songs from your medium to our computer
- If your recording project
mixed at Polkasound, then we'll need to transfer your songs to our
computer for mastering. Acceptable mediums include SATA hard
audio cassette, DAT, and 33 or 45RPM record.
beginning and end of each song
- Using our
high-end software which provides us with a detailed, graphical
representation of your recorded audio, we can "zoom in" to the
ends of the songs to find and delete unwanted noises such as
count-offs, coughs, and drum stick clicks.
These additional steps
are performed when we master an audio project for CD:
audio levels of each song
- Using multi-band digital
up the overall volume of your CD to professional levels. This
is an industry standard for radio play, because it guarantees your
sound "wimpy" when compared to any other recording played over the
radio. Because the compression is digital and multi-band, there
"pumping" effect typical of full-bandwidth, analog compression.
levels of each song for volume consistency
- With our
professional software, we will preview exactly what your CD will sound
like, from beginning to end, before we burn the CD. We'll make
sure the volumes of the songs
and the spaces between them remain consistent throughout the entire
in the proper order with blank space between them
- It doesn't
matter the order in which your songs were recorded and mixed at the
write down the order in which you'd like them on your CD, and we'll
take care of
the rest. We'll put an appropriate amount of blank space between
each song. We can also blend (crossfade) the beginnings and ends of
adjacent songs together.
a CD Master
- This is the disc your
duplicator will use to duplicate
your project. We can encode your tracks with ISRC codes as well as CD
text, if desired.
These services are
per your instructions, or at our discretion if desired. (Please
- We have a full arsenal of
paragraphic equalization software at our disposal. We also have
programs that digitally generate — not just amplify — needed
bass or treble.
- Does your recording
suffer from a
buzz, or hiss? Our high-end software samples the background
then uses the sample to digitally remove the noise from the
music. The result has to be
heard to be believed.
- If you have an older
stereo image, a little spatial enhancement might do the trick.
Combined with a light touch of reverb, it can add quite a bit of life
to an otherwise flat-sounding recording.
- Like spatial enhancement,
a touch of
add life to your music. We have every reverb you can imagine at
our fingertips, from underground sewers to gothic cathedrals, as well
as chorus, flanging, and phasing effects.
- This feature allows the
pitch of your
raised or lowered from a few cents to a full octave or more.
Typically a song will speed up with a raise in pitch and slow down with
a decrease in pitch, but our software can maintain the original speed
of the song.
- Your songs' tempos and
lengths can be
with or without affecting the pitch.
- We have a full compliment
give us detailed control over the dynamics of your music. We can
compress your music to make the overall volume smoother, and we can
zero-in on particular frequencies and bandwidths for more precise
control. For example, if the bass is too loud, we can compress
just the low-frequencies so that the rest of the music is not affected.
- Do you need an air
siren in your song? No problem! We have an extensive
A Note About What
Mastering Does NOT Do:
client will give us a recording to remaster and ask us, for example, to
make a harmony vocal
brighter or bring up the volume of a background organ. Such
requests require remixing of the project, not remastering, because the mastering process
cannot isolate and adjust the individual instruments or vocals on a
recording. Audio that has been mixed together cannot be
unmixed. The best
analogy to explain this is paint. Once you mix several colors of
together, you can't un-mix them. The same is true for
recorded audio — once you mix instruments and vocals together, you
can't un-mix them. Mastering software can
process specific frequency ranges where various instruments are found
in the audio spectrum, but where
instruments or vocals need to be individually processed or adjusted,
remixing the music
from the studio multi-track recording would be required.