Mastering F.A.Q.

1Mastering
If you come to read this FAQ, you want to know what we do in this studio.
I would avoid bother explaining what is mastering, which among others can easily find on the internet on wikipedia or some other site.
What I want you to know is what for me is the mastering. It's my job.
It's to know what can help improve your work, your music production.
It's to advise the best procedure to get the most sound possible.
It's to choose the technology to do so.
It's to decide which equalizer is used to obtain a precise sound.
It's to give importance to details such as blurred between a song and another, or use as a dither.
It's the knowledge to know that I can not change the notes of your songs but I can enhance the feeling that they offer.
It's to know when to stop and listen.
It's finally feeling that your music is communicating something.
2Which Mastering choose
96kHz.it Mastering Studio offers you the opportunity to choose between:

  • Stereo Mastering
  • Stem Mastering

The stereo mastering is dedicated to all those who have to finalize their product and prepare a master ready for mass replication in both digital and physical formats on CD.

The stem mastering is for those who, in addition to what was said on the stereo mastering, wants to have the greatest control on the sound or the person that made the mix on which there are obvious problems in the overall sound and where only the intervention on each stem (groups) would allow the song to express its full potential.

You can find more detailed information on the pages dedicated to the audio mastering section.
3Online Mastering
If you do not have the opportunity to go into the studio and attend the mastering session, you can choose our service Online Mastering.
If you're wondering if there are differences between the mastering done in the studio or online, the answer is few.

  • Working together in the studio for example, has an immediate comparison to some choices that can radically change the workflow.
  • The communication between us during the mastering job online has a latency. It is important that you first hear a version of the mastering of a song and then resent and proceed straight or with some modifications.
  • Online mastering session might last longer than a session in the studio.
  • The cost of mastering online is more convenient. This is because we use free time of our studio.
  • A great advantage of the online mastering is to share with those who participated in the project the different versions of the mastered songs using your personal account and also to hear them in your own reference system.
4Session Start
It is very important for us to know all the technical details about your projects in order to be able to work quickly and avoid errors.

If you don't have all the information we can contact the studio where you recorded/mixed and speak directly to the engineer that worked on your project.
Furthermore, to better manage your work, it is best to tell us a possible deadline.
You are invited to visit the terms&conditions for more information.
5Session Files
Generally for mastering, the files are preferred without any processing (compressor, limiter, ...) and with a resolution of 24bit.
You can still add your own mix reference, as approved by your record label (with your chain premaster compressor / limiter / eq).

Avoid digital clipping levels due to recording mix too high (more than 0 dBFS) to preserve the integrity of the mix itself.

Avoid fades on the mix and/or stems. Rather it is better to add a mix file with fades as a reference.

In the case of stem-mastering, always add also the file of your mix as a reference.
The stems have to be registered always without any processing on your master-out and must always start from the same measure.

You may also want to add a starter to all tracks stems to verify the synchronization between them. It's important to clearly label the files (eg. version "more vox" or "no bass") and indicate any processing on the files.

It is necessary to also list the song bpm, key, meter and inform us in advance which system you have mixed / recorded on (ProTools, Logic, Nuendo, Cubase, ...), which version of software, system OS, what sample rate and bit - depth (eg. 44kHz - 24 bits).

In the case of mix or recording sessions, it is always better to contact us.
6Timing
Mastering of a stereo track takes up to 2 hours of work. The mastering of a song with stems requires up to 4 hours of work.

The mastering of an album CD stereo requires a working day. Mix usually takes 1 day and half of work.
All timing is an estimate on a job that is not particularly difficult to fine tune.

Only a pre-listening of the material can we be more precise about time and labor costs. The pre-listening is free and without obligation.

Where editing was necessary on the tracks and / or tuning of vocals, the time and cost will be changed accordingly, and the work will be re-estimated before starting the session.
7Label Copy
To finalize the work some basic information is needed that should be provided to 96khz.it Mastering Studio.
One of the primary information is the "label-copy" that is a document or text file (word, excel, txt, ...) with the tracklist of the songs and their respective codes ISRC code UPC/EAN, catalog number, name of the songs, author/artist, copyright. It is better to prepare this document before you book your mastering session to avoid having to stop work and send it back to later dates.

In this case, the timing can no longer be respected as it might overbook the studio.
Moreover, if the "label-copy" is not precise and detailed we could generate errors during compilation of PMCD or DDPi. However, we guarantee you the immediate replacement in case of errors or problems with PMCD or DDPi.
8ISRC code
ISRC means "standard code of international registration" and is a system used to uniquely identify audio recordings and videos internationally.

Its structure is thus viewable: IT-A01-09-01001.

The first two characters "IT" identify the country (IT = Italy).
The next three "A01" identify the producer code.
The characters "09" indicate the year of completion of registration.
The last five "01001" identify the song or video.

Each song (or video) will have its own unique ISRC to be assigned by the producer himself.
9UPC/EAN code
UPC stands for "Universal Product Code".
It is the code used in the United States and is fully compatible with the code EAN (European Article Number).
These codes are the barcode on any goods that are marketed.
Regarding the CD / DVD music or video, the EAN code is printed on the packaging of CDs for sale. Also, the EAN code is inserted in the metadata during the compilation of PMCD.
For more information please visit the following LINK.
10PMCD
The process that follows the creative part of mastering (EQ, compression, ...) is the compilation of PMCD (premaster CD) that is that media that will be delivered directly to the factory for replication or duplication.
In this phase, the codes are entered (PQ encoding) provided by You with the label-copy.
The process is delicate and requires special attention during the printing of PMCD in Redbook standard and during the verification and listening.
96khz.it uses the best media with Plextor burners and verification errors with PlexTools Professional.
The master can be provided DDPi 2.0 format if required by your record label or replication plant.
11DDPi
The (Disc Description Protocol immagine) is the modern industry standard for delivering audio premasters.
is a fast, convenient and secure way to immediately transfer your EP or LP from our studio to the factory CD.
The DDPi master includes audio files , codes PQ , ISRC and UPC / EAN , CD -TEXT , and additional data.
You will have the opportunity to listen to and control all codes entered in the DDPi master through our custom player.
You can also download files or print a ref CD directly from our application.
12End of work
Once we create the PMCD or DDPi and/or we upload the high resolution files on your account, the invoice is issued and work is expected to pay.
Only upon receipt of payment we send you the PMCD or DDPi and the high resolution mastered files.

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