Curious about how mastering can help your project?
Analog & Digital Mastering
Mastering is the least-understood part of the recording process. While integral to the final sound of your recordings, it isn’t the dark art you might have heard about. We can help demystify the process and get your album out the door and into your fans’ hands.
Mastering typically involves three steps: compression, equalization, and limiting. We tailor every single mastering session to the music provided, regardless of how it was recorded — no presets here! We look to present the music with the utmost care, from slick clarity to blown-out insanity.
WARM IT UP
Whether destined for turntable, digital download, or the tape deck in an '87 Toyota, your final mixes may benefit from the warmth, fatness, and punch of analog tape. We have four machines, each with different flavors, to accomplish what you need:
- Ampex ATR-102 1/4" - The classic. Proud, strong, excellent bandwidth, likes to be pushed.
- Fostex E2 1/2" - Clean pro deck with good dynamics and that bottom end that only 1/2" provides.
- Studer A810 1/4" - Super thick with a nice sheen, this deck has the quintessential "analog sound."
- Nakamichi MR-1 - The highest fidelity cassette mastering unit available. Go Chrome or go home.
the digital advantage
Digital mastering provides instantaneous recall and flexibility, and its advantages outweigh analog evangelism around the mastering process. If your mixes come in with background hiss, oddball EQ, or significant peaks and valleys that need automated smoothing, we'll make fixes before initial compression — and no one will ever know. Many mastering projects, some with very high quality source material, begin and end in the box.
ALL formats welcome
We use different mastering techniques for different release formats. Vinyl pressings mean making balanced vinyl pre-masters that fall significantly below the loudness of tracks destined for digital release; your cutting engineer will bump that up to maximum as the diamond hits the lacquer. If you're going straight to digital download, we pump up the volume while still maintaining a wide apparent dynamic range. And if the plan is to walk away with a cassette to duplicate locally, our masters on your choice of tape will be EQ'd specifically for that short-run.