Preparing Your Tracks for Mastering

Tracks must have at least -6 db of peak headroom on the master bus

This means that the loudest part of your track cannot peak above negative 6 db in volume.

We can easily increase the volume, but can only work with the headroom you give us. More headroom means the more we can fatten your mix and bring the most out of your song.

We will maximize the volume levels appropriately during mastering, so don’t worry if it seems quieter doing this. Remember, once digital audio data clips it can’t be fixed, so it’s safer to err on the quiet side.

 

Tracks must be in WAV format

We require this to ensure maximum audio quality. Please don’t send MP3s to be mastered. Please send at least 24 bit WAV files.

 

Tracks cannot have any Limiters on the final master bus.

You can have limiters on individual instruments (kick, snare, etc.) just not on the final master bus. Once you’ve done this, there’s nothing we can do in mastering to undo the compression side effects.

There’s no problem if you use a touch of mix bus compression on the master bus. Great musicians know that loud music does not necessarily equal good music. Don’t worry, Magic Ears will make sure your final volumes are at industry standard levels for your genre.

 

Don’t overdo reverb and delay

Reverb and delay can smooth out some of the rough edges in your songs or add character, but if used improperly, they can make your music sound muddy.

Mastering cannot completely undo excessive muddiness. When in doubt, lean toward cleaner and drier sounds versus more reverb or delay (if you use something, make sure it serves the song).

For the master output it’s better to keep your reverb and other effects to a minimum.

 

Reduce noise

The less hiss/hum/background noise we have to eliminate in mastering, the cleaner, fuller and brighter your songs will be. Watch open mics during recording. When you mixed, did you leave in excessive and unnecessary bleed?

Are fans running in the background? Are there fluorescent lights on? Are your amps not grounded properly? Are you using correct cables and correct gain settings?

Consider using noise gates and/or noise filtering on each track. This will limit the noise in your final mix, giving you a cleaner, stronger song for mastering.
Once you’re ready, click “Order” on the right side of the page.