FAQ        
 

Q: WHAT EXACTLY IS MASTERING?

A: Mastering is the final stage of sonic manipulation in the process of making a good sounding recording project. Essentially the purpose of mastering is achieving volume consistency and track sequencing, as well as providing a fresh outside perspective for last minute touch ups on the overall sound of the songs, and to "liven up" the mix. There are a number of steps in the process, the degree of how each step is approached rests solely on the sound of the final mix, and varies from project to project. There are no two mastering sessions alike. Among the most common steps (but definitely not limited to) are, compression/limiting, EQ, reverb, harmonic adjustments, and so on. Mastering is NOT however a means to "fix" a mix. Remember "Crap In = Crap Out"!

Q: WHO ARE YOU AND WHY SHOULD I TRUST YOU WITH MY MUSIC?

A: I am Dan Aside from recording, mixing, and mastering bands since 2001, I have played in a bunch of Punk/Hardcore and Metal bands. I have also worked in live production here in Nashville. It's pretty safe to say, I am surrounded by music and the mechanical aspect of making music accessable and appealing nearly all day long.

Q: WHAT FORMAT/ATTRIBUTES SHOULD MY MIXES BE SENT IN?

A: Preferrably WAV files (allthough AIFF files will work as well) 24BIT 48KHZ. Higher resolution files mean there is more information to work with. These can be sent in on disk, or uploaded to a data transfer host such as Mediafire or something similar.

Q: WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE WITH MY MIXES?

A: A tracklisting of the desired order of songs, ISRC numbers and any technical numbers you wish to have encoded into your CD, and any specific instructions that you wish to include. Most specifically, make sure your files are named correctly as to ensure that the sequencing is done correctly the first time. (NOTE: ISRC numbers are used for data recognition and tracking purposes by groups like the RIAA. They are optional.)

Q: SHOULD MY MIXES BE COMPRESSED OR LIMITED BEFORE I SEND THEM IN?

A: No! Absolutely not. You should leave about 3db of headroom between the highest point of volume and 0 on the VU meter. This allows room to alter frequencies and dynamics without running the risk of making the audio clip. I promise it will be loud enough when you get the masters back.

Q: WHAT IS "RED BOOK STANDARD"? ARE YOUR MASTERS "RED BOOK STANDARD"?

A: Red book standard is the technical coding for audio CDs. All retail cds are coded to red book specifications, and most CD manufacturing plants will not accept your master unless it is red book standard. Yes, all of the mastered CDs that leave this facility are red book standard.

Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MASTERING FOR VINYL/CASSETTE AND MASTERING FOR CD/MP3?

A: Most noticably, the level of limiting and compression. CDs and MP3s tend to have a much heavier use of compression that does not transfer well to analog media. However there are certain characteristics for each format that can affect the way the media sounds. Proper attention is necessary to ensure this does not become problematic in playback.

Q: CAN I HEAR A REFERENCE OF MY MASTERS?

A: Absolutely. Approval of references is required prior to the project being considered complete.

Q: WHAT ARE LACQUERS?

A: Lacquers are the original copies of your project cut into an acetate coated disc with a stylus. This is the first step in vinyl pressing. The records you recieve from the pressing plant will be EXACT REPLICAS OF YOUR LACQUER. It is very important that you are 100% happy with your project when you get to this stage, as there is no undo button once this step is complete.

Q: CAN I GET A REFERENCE OF MY LACQUER?

A: Absolutely. Upon your request a reference lacquer can be shipped to you. Additional costs for materials and shipping will be incurred.

Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LACQUERS AND VINYL RECORDS?

A: Lacquers are aluminum discs, coated with acetate, that audio is actually cut into using a stylus/cutter head. Lacquers are then delivered to a pressing plant where metal plates are made from these lacquers (there is a separate lacquer for each side of the record.) The sonic fidelity of lacquers begins to deteriorate over time and with multiple listens, so it is incredibly important to have the plates made within approximately 48 hours of cutting. This will ensure the highest quality of audio possible.

Q:WHAT IS VINYL ETCHING?

A: Vinyl etching is the art of carving an image into your record. This is done at the same stage that your lacquers would be cut. It is obviously optional.I offer numerous types of etching, including standard B-Side full etchings, center label etchings, and even playable etchings. I am always looking to do new weird things with records. Let's brainstorm.

Q: WHO ARE SOME OF THE BANDS YOU HAVE DONE WORK FOR?

A: There is a list HERE. This is a partial list, some projects slip the mind.

Q: DO YOU ONLY DO PUNK, METAL, AND STUFF LIKE THAT?

A: No, I have done practically any style you can think of. From bluegrass to hip hop to noise to pop to experimental and indie and dance. I'm open to any style of music. Try me. I even edit audiobooks.

Q: CAN YOU RECORD MY BAND?

A: Send me an Email. Let's talk.

Q: HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?

A: There is a list of prices HERE. However, if your project requires special pricing (like your album is 1 30 minute song.) you can drop me a line with your dilemma HERE.

Q: WHAT IS THE TYPICAL TURNAROUND TIME?

A: 2 weeks is a safe estimate. If it is going to take longer I will contact you and let you know why.

Q: WHEN IS PAYMENT DUE?

A: Before work starts.

Q: WHAT KIND OF STUFF CAN YOU DO AS FAR AS ANALOG RESTORATION AND SUCH?

A: Backup your tapes/reels to disk, master it in the same ways I would a new recording, transfer vinyl to disk, essentially make a trustworthy backup of recordings that could otherwise be lost to tape degradation or scarcity of reliable playback sources. All inquiries will be handled on a case by case deal, and I will not do anything to sound of the recordings unless you ask me to. (Please note that there may be extra fees if I need to rent borrow or steal equipment that I can not readily access.)