• mastering

  • duplication and distribution

  • Talk about things that matter to DMH (that they should know)

The Final Mix (some questions)

  • What sample/bit rate?

  • Compression or EQ on the master buss?

    • Allow the mastering engineer to keep an open mind, by giving him/her choices

  • Have you done the best mix that you can?

    • Can you afford to take you time to be sure?

  • Story of the producer who would be gone most of the time, then walk in and say "Change this and this and this" and then leave.

  • My monitor situation


  • I personally know and have spent time with many of the world's top mastering engineers

  • One of the top things that they will tell you is "It's all about the details"

The Details (mrt9 p 535)

  • To help a song and/or project to "sound right" ... be the best that it can be

  • help match the song and overall levels within a project

  • help match the song levels within a project

  • help match the timbre (overall sonic character) between songs if it was recorded/mixed at different places and/or by different people

  • Help with song ordering

    • usually the artist and/or producer's job ... but the mastering engineer might offer his/her opinion

  • Help with timings between songs

    • usually the artist and/or producer's job ... but the mastering engineer might offer his/her opinion

  • help with overall master preparation levels

To Master or not to Master

  • Objectivity (my personal story on that matter as an artist)

  • Does the budget allow for it to be professionally mastered?

  • Basically, are you up for the job?

    • Is your equipment up to the task?

  • In my opinion. leaning how to master your own work can take months, if not years.

  • self-mastering plugins


  • final master delivery rate should be the session's native rate (do not down-sample)

  • master delivery levels should be -7 to -12dB of full scale (allowing the mastering engineer to do the final levels.

  • Master buss compression and EQ should be turned off

    • You could always provide the tracks with compression/EQ turned on, so as to clue the mastering engineer as to your intentions.

  • You might ask if there are any special requirements the he/she might want or need


  • Some mastering engineers prefer that you provide stems (isolated groupings), so that they can have better control over dynamics, etc.

  • This might include the instruments with separate vocal tracks or might even go further (separate drums)

  • Other mastering engineers don't choose to accept stems, as they believe that it allows for the original intention and balance to be changed.

To be there or not to be there

  • Some do ... many or most don't anymore

  • Virtual attendance

  • Tell the story of a prominent LA mastering Engineer

  • Dwindling budgets

To master a project yourself

  • Tell my story

  • The personal mastering chain

  • mastering plugins

  • automated mastering services


  • Be careful of over-compression and/or over-limiting

  • Heavy dynamics can take the life out of a mix

multiband dynamics


  • Bandcamp (artist gets 85% of purchases, 90% of merch)

  • Distrikid (aggregator that charges 19.95/yr. Artist keeps 100% of Spotify's $0.0035 per stream)

Let's have a discussion about the popularity of LPs

Ownership of masters

Ownership of masters

  • Form SR

  • Form PA

  • Creative Commons

  • What are the two countries in the world that don't pay artists for radio play?

  • royalty payouts

  • Perr-to-peer $ was originally created on the behalf artists

    • Gets around delays in payment (direct payment to artist for purchases, streams, everything)

    • explain my bandcamp payments (this happened today)

things to talk about

  • Professionalism (adelle)

  • Humanism (Adelle, Eddie, Al)

  • Don't forget - "Showing up is Huge!"

  • Putting in the time for that last 5%

    • Preparation

    • Going the extra mile/km