Services

Audio Mastering


Definition of Mastering

Firstly, let's clarify what exactly is meant when we talk about "mastering", because the term is often misunderstood and misused. Mastering, in the music production sense, is optimising all the separate elements of a music track and mixing them all together into the final version of the recording.

You can't "master" a DJ mix in the same way; there's no way to take all the separate parts of a CD, MP3 or vinyl audio track to pieces and put them back together again.

However, from the source recording you provide, we can work on it to produce an optimised piece of audio with certain improvements made to the sound. This is recorded to a master CD which can then be duplicated from.


What can we do for you?

As stated above, the mastering service involves making certain improvements to the sound of your audio recording, and then creating a master CD. Parts of the recording are tweaked to normalise the levels, and a crisper, fuller sound is achieved overall. Adjusting the EQ is possible on some tracks but this can be very tricky on live DJ mixes, due to the overlapping sections.

It's entirely optional of course, but with many mixes we often trim a few areas of tracks out for the sake of continuity, to condense big chunks of repetitive areas and keep the energy of the mix flowing. Many DJs are happy for this to be done, however some like it to be exactly the way they recorded it - either way round is fine, it's your choice.


What can't we do?

Working from your live recording, what can't be done is correct a really wonky mix, compensate for mismatched levels mid-mix, or alter your track selection to ensure the mix is programmed in a way that flows. Those are your skills!


What do we need from you?

You'll need to supply a tracklist, making sure you include artist, title and remixer if applicable.

If the mix is recorded live and supplied as one continuous piece of audio, we'll be able to insert track IDs at logical points which divide the tracks. You may wish to supply a set time codes for track ID's - minutes:seconds is enough, for example:

06:23
10:22
14:53 etc etc

You may also outline any special requests such as a fade on the end, or to alter the tempo (BPM) of the recording.

You may send us your audio on one or more CDs or alternatively, if you have the facility to use a transfer service to send the file in one or more sections, that's no problem. The recording must be in either WAV format or recorded directly to the disc; the bit depth must be at least 16 and sampling rate at least 44,100Hz (this is standard CD quality).

We don't accept mp3s to master from, due to sound quality issues.


General advice

Live recordings - If you make a mistake in a mix just keep recording, go back and do the mix again. We'll be able to pick out the correct take, junk the unnecessary and stitch it all back together again. Supply the recording spread over several CDs if you like, just as long as you get the mixes right.

If you're happy for the mix to be cut down a little, you should record a little more than the final desired length of time. For example, if you want a 60 minute mix provide 64 or more. You'll be provided with a test version in MP3 before duplication, so if you're not happy about any major changes they can be amended to suit your needs.

After your approval of the finished version, the master CD will be sent for duplication. You'll also be given a professional quality MP3 version which you can upload to a hosting server (please bear in mind that this will not contain track IDs).


Lead time

From receiving your source audio, we can normally turn round the complete mastering, printing and duplication service and have your CDs delivered to you within 10 working days. Sometimes we're asked to do rush-jobs, which can be done, but please bear in mind that the best work is done when we aren't working to urgent deadlines!


Pricing

Please contact us for a specific quote for your requirements.


What else can we do?

As an alternative to working on your live recordings, we can construct a mix for you completely digitally, but it's a lot more work than our standard mastering service. Pricing for this is on a bespoke basis, depending on the amount of work needed.

If you'd like a few examples of such a mix constructed completely digitally, check out the following mixes on the DJ Egoiste website:

Egoiste presents...
Spring / Summer 2007


Egoiste presents...
The Bar
Autumn / Winter 2006


Egoiste presents...
The Club
Autumn / Winter 2006


(right click > save as)

In making these mixes, the audio never once went through a CDJ or a mixer; They are built purely from the source material, produced 100% on the computer. Sound good don't they?! These recordings usually entail about 20 hours' production time each, give or take, and are subject to a slightly longer lead time than our standard mastering service.