Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should I know which delivery format to choose for mastering and does it really matter? Should I pay extra for additional masters?

Mastering is equally an art and technical work. It is quite easy to get lost when you get deeper into all specifications like Integrated Loudness, True Peaks etc. This is why it is so important for you to know where you are going to release your music. Streaming services has some requirements like True Peaks not to exceed -1dBTP or Loudness to be maximum at -14 LUFS. It is still not standardised and that is why many streaming services have their own rules how they playback your tracks. On the other hand, CD releases could be mastered, for example, to be much louder with peaks pushed even to clipping. Vinyl releases, on the other hand require different treatment in low and high frequencies, as well as sequencing may be impacted in some cases.

So, to answer the question, it all depends on where you will release your music. If you plan to release only to streaming services, but would like to have a CD version as well, just for yourself or to burn CD at home for small batch release, then go for streaming option as main delivery format. I will also include your masters technically prepared for CD release. If you plan to release only CD (quite rare nowadays) then choice is easy - go for CD release as main delivery format. If you plan to release Vinyl then go for Vinyl as main delivery format and you will receive CD optimised version as well. If you plan to release CD and Vinyl for sale, in larger batches, then it is recommended to get 2 delivery formats as separate master for CD will make your songs sound better and more competitive when played after/before other CD releases. The same is about if you plan to commercially release your music for streamings and CD/Vinyl for sale, in larger scale, you should consider taking, respectively, 2 or 3 delivery formats as this is the only way to get your tracks to sound the best across all platforms.

If you want to play safe and keep the best compatibility without spending more money, please choose Default as your main delivery. This way, I will master your tracks to be the best cross compatible for any digital release - either streaming or CD release. It is still advised to get a separate master for Vinyl release.

2. If I choose main delivery to be for streaming, then can I burn it on CD or send for Vinyl production?

In short - yes you can, but it won't be sounding the best it could. It does not really matter that much for CD releases, unless you specifically have some requirements. If you decide to release Vinyl record with songs mastered for streaming or CD release, then I will not take any responsibility for the outcome as records can skip, distort or in the worst case scenario, don't even sound good.

3. What should I know before mastering for Vinyl?

Mastering for vinyl release is slightly different than for CD and digital releases. Before you submit your files please be aware of limits which this medium has and consider all points below.

  • Sequencing - due to limited physical space of the Vinyl disc, it is recommended that 12" record played at 33rpm has a material of maximum 22 minutes per side to preserve the best quality. If you want to record more songs into one side it is feasible but will be at the cost of quality and level we could achieve.

  • Low end and high frequencies need to be managed differently. If your production requires really wide stereo bass be aware that this will be changed during mastering to avoid playback issues on Vinyl record.

  • Sound degrades the closer it gets to the centre of the platter. If you want to squeeze more songs into one side of the pressing it would be wise to sequence songs in the way, that less impactful and less transient heavy songs are located at the end of the side. It shouldn't matter that much if you make a standard around 20 minutes long side.

  • 45rpm usually sounds better due to broader dynamic range but at the cost of playback time, so it is not a common choice. 12" can store up to 15 minutes of music at the cost of quality, and rather sticking to around 12 minutes would be more beneficial to your music quality.