Facebook Twitter Google Plus LinkedIn  

What is Mastering?
Why use Ed Littman Mastering?

How to be prepared for the mastering process?

What should you send?
What should you expect from your finished master?

What is Mastering?

It's common to think that once you have finished Recording and Mixing your project, the job is finally done. WRONG! That's not quite the end…………

There are three stages of producing a record.† CD Mastering is the 3rd & last creative stage before your baby goes to the replication plant. Most artists even today are still mystified and unsure of what the mastering process is. At Ed Littman Mastering we will guide you through this last important step and answer any question you may have on this process. Even though quality analog mastering usually costs more then one wants to spend, (cause you didnít plan for it and now you're broke! :) It usually is the least expensive, but one of the most critical stages of the production process.

When assembling a CD for replication/duplication further details need to be addressed. Songs need to be sequenced in the right order, with the appropriate spaces between them, with natural sounding fade-ins and outs or cross fades and with a consistent output level. To save studio time, it is recommended that you put some thought into this before the session starts.

We know that all albums are different and all work is customized to the clients needs. Ed looks at this process as if he is composing the album – as if it were his own music that needs to flow smoothly so the listener is subconsciously engaged all the way to the end (of course your music will get the listeners attention anyway right?).
 
These critical judgment calls are rarely made with any degree of accuracy with an artist or engineer that is too close to the project, from a home recording setup, or the same studio/speakers that have just finished mixing your project!

Why use Ed Littman Mastering?

With an extensive knowledge of producing, performing, composing and teaching, Ed Littman has the ears, the gear, and the commitment to satisfy even the most critical clients. Of course he’s a critical client too! Mastering engineer and Guitarist/Composer Ed Littman has been involved with making and processing music for more than 25 years. As a Guitarist and Composer he has released several albums under his name that have received critical acclaim, and has done hundreds of performances throughout the New York area. As a Mastering engineer Ed has been recognized by some of the music industries most talented people as someone who brings a total commitment and artistry, along with an impeccable sense of detail to assembling and mastering an album.

At Ed Littman Mastering we have the experience you can trust. With Ed’s varied musical performance background and diversified Mastering credits, he knows what most styles of music and instruments should sound like. He’s a trained musician, not just an engineer that truly enjoys creating a better sound for his clients and has the knowledge & equipment to do so.  Our facility is specifically designed for CD Mastering, DVD-A authoring, and post production by the legendary George Augspurger. The equipment used is the best analog & digital gear made and the list keeps growing. Analog mastering is our main approach to our process, simply because we feel it sounds better, and at Ed Littman Mastering although we offer other specialized services such as Vocal, Guitar, Bass recording our main focus is Mastering.

How to be prepared for the mastering process?

Avoid over compressing /limiting to get your mix louder. At Ed Littman Mastering we strive for an audiophile result. Most clients don’t realize that in making the master louder, there will be less punch and dynamics and that there will be an  introduction to degradation and distortion(artifacts). There are a variety of techniques for us to employ to get your master at a competitive volume level (even extreme) in the market place, with minimum distortion. The quality and style of your mix can be a pivotal attribute to getting a loud and clean master. We do not make extreme loudness a priority unless (you) the client requests it.

It is recommended to only use a compressor on your 2bus mix down only if it creates the sound that you are looking for not for loudness. One of the best methods for retaining the punch and dynamics of your original mix, and minimizing distortion are to make sure all transients (snare, cymbal crashes) are no louder than -3dbfs (this means without compression or limiting nothing should hit the digital zero). 

What should you send?

We accept all file types. We prefer stereo interleaved wave files. It is recommended that your mix file(bounce/rendering process) retains the same bit/sample rate as your multi track mix session. It is preferred that you upload your files to our FTP server a few days ahead of any scheduled session. This allows time to remedy any issues that may arise with your mixes or the audio files.In addition to uploading use of any storage device is also recommended, such as, hard drive, usb flash cards, & data disc. All mix files should be well documented. Please make note of the file type, bit depth and sample rate. It is recommended to name your files the same as will be used on the CD cover.

For Non attended/Emastering sessions, if there are any details, issues, or concerns about any of the mixes feel free to email that information along with the final song order & desired spacing times between songs. You can always leave the song spacing up to us, just let us know. Call Us.... It's always a pleasure to speak to our clients on the phone at any stage of the process.

We also have professional tape machines that play 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch tape formats at tape speeds of 1.7/8, 3.3/4, 7.1/2, 15, and 30 IPS. If you are sending mixes on Tape, please include the test tones of 50hz, 100Hz, 1khz, 10khz, 15khz, from the same machine you are mixing from.
 
When shipping vinyl, please make sure you properly insure and pack your records. The sender is 100% responsible for a safe delivery.
What should you expect from your finished master?

Traditionally the mastering engineer’s responsibility was to take the final mixed tape & transfer it to the lacquer master disc without any changes. Sometimes changes were necessary due to limitations on what can be transferred on this type of system.  Essentially these changes were strictly for technical reasons and not creative ones.
 
Today the mastering engineer has much more room for a creative role in the final sound of a master. At Ed Littman Mastering we feel that our responsibility is to make sure that the client's mix will translate well to all playback systems and to create a finished sound. Unless discussed with the client, our goal will never be to change the final mix, but only to enhance it if needed. The effects of mastering differ from mix to mix -   it can be a huge WOW! improvement that is instantly obvious, or there may be subtle enhancements that standardize the mix over different speaker systems. It all depends on the quality of your mix and your goals. If you are not happy with your mix before the mastering stage it is advised do a remix with some one who knows what they're doing. If a remix is not possible we can then use surgical methods to address challenging problems.

With Analog Mastering your mix will sound warmer and more dimensional. Our analog Equalizers can create shimmering highs without being harsh, and lows that are round and punchy without being muddy. Our high end analog compressors can add the mid range punch and thickness that may be missing in a digital recording.  We can make your bad mix sound better and we can make your good mix sound great! It is also important to realize that mastering is not just using equalizers, compressors, and getting your master loud, but it is the process of making critical judgment calls about your mix with a fresh perspective in an acoustically accurate environment. Mastering is the art of using restraint and subtlety while possibly making a huge difference to your music.