5 things to avoid when mastering

There’s an old saying that never goes away – you only get one chance to make a first impression – and it never goes away because it’s true.

When your tracks are ready for global distribution through Spinnup you want to make sure they’re going to sound as completely amazing as possible. For that you need to think about how you’re going to master your recordings.

Friends of Spinnup Metropolis are one of Europe’s best professional recording studios and have some of the top mastering engineers in the world. We asked their advice on what NOT to do when using an online mastering service.

1. Do not “master” your tracks yourself before sending them for mastering
If you have been giving people reference files of your mixes with digital limiting to make them louder, remember to supply both your original mixes without limiting as well as your mixes with limiting to your mastering engineer. That way he or she will have an idea of how loud people have been hearing your tracks and it will be a useful guide for where to aim for with respect to loudness with the finished master.

2. Always export your master files at 24bit resolution
Never 16bit.

3. Send all files to your engineer in one batch
If you’re planning to release multiple tracks, for example a four track EP or a 12 track album, it is much easier to ensure track-to-track consistency if you make sure the mastering engineer has everything at the same time. If you send your files for mastering in separate batches it’s impossible to predict track-to-track juxtapositions and can lead to earlier tracks having to be remastered to match later mixes. Make sure they can be done all together.

4. Leave approximately 1/2 to 1db headroom in your files when you mix
Do not go “into the red”. When it comes to mastering that is a bad bad place.

5. Always be wary of over compression
Over compression is the one thing that cannot successfully be undone when you reach the mastering stage. Nobody wants that!