What exactly is Mastering?
Mastering is the process whereby the mastering engineer prepares and transfers recorded audio from the original source material onto a master CD or DVD. This master is the source from which all copies are produced. It’s crucial, therefore, that the master is made properly for the best transfer to occur at the production facility. This allows mass production of your recording at the best possible level of quality.
What is High Fidelity Mastering?
High Fidelity Mastering is the high-quality reproduction of sound that improves the original recording. By using a collection of specialized mastering equipment, the mastering engineer can create the sensation of being in the presence of the actual performance. This is accomplished by a variety of means, such as eliminating noise, adding depth, widening the soundstage, and increasing dynamic range of the recording.
What does the mastering engineer do with my recording?
Your recording is improved through various means such as equalization, compression, and expansion. Additional tasks, such as editing, pre-gapping, leveling, fading in and out, noise reduction, and other signal restoration and enhancement processes, are applied as necessary during the mastering stage. Program material is then put in whatever order you request. In the end, you receive a CD or DVD master that’s ready for a production facility to produce as many copies you request.
What is it you listen for?
Essentially, everything! These are just some of the things that will improve on your original recording. We take out the bad, accentuate the good, and make your talent shine through!
Proper tonal balance, depth and width of the soundstage.
Noise, distortion, sibilance in the vocal, and out-of-phase sound caused by improper microphone placement during the original recording.
Proper imaging of the vocal and placement of instruments to recreate the feeling of being at the original performance.
All songs at the same volume level from one song to the next.
Do all professional musicians use a mastering facility?
If you look on any CD or DVD made within the last ten years, you’ll find in the list of credits two very distinct recognitions: “Recorded by…” and “Mastered by…” Yes, all professional musicians use a mastering facility.
The recording studio provided me with a master already. Why would I need another one?
Listen to your recording studio master repeatedly, over a period of time. You may find that you’d prefer that the vocals be more forward of the instruments. Or you may hear a buzz or hum you hadn’t noticed before. Or you’d like to have a wider soundstage or a greater depth to the music. Or you may like more reverberation, or perhaps more punch to the kick drum.
You could return to the recording studio, but their studio time is more expensive than our mastering time — and they may not have the equipment and skills needed to make the necessary changes. That’s when you want a specialist, High Fidelity Mastering.
Can you restore an old recording that has a lot of noise in it?
Yes, we can remove clicks, pops, buzz, hum, tape hiss, unwanted transients, and distortion. We can also remove acoustical noises from engines, ventilation, wind, water, insects, and other sources. The noise reduction process we use is NoNoise 3 by Sonic Studio. It won an Emmy Award for outstanding technical achievement. We also use the state-of-the-art iZotope Advanced RX restoration software.
Can you convert a stereo recording to 5.1-surround sound?
Yes, we use the UnWrap software by T.C. Electronic to create a 5.1-surround DVD master.
Do you work with musicians out-of-state?
Yes, we’re set up to work with anyone anywhere in the world. You can send us your audio files via the Internet in any format you have. We can convert any audio file via the multi-award winning Barbabatch software from Audio Ease. You can also send us your project via ground mail. Once we create the master, we’ll return your original, as well. You’ll be surprised by the difference. We can work in a variety of formats; CD, DVD, 33 1/3, 45, or 78 rpm Record, 1/2 track Reel-to-Reel up to up to 10 1/2 inches at 7 1/2 or 15 ips, and 1/4 track Reel-to-Reel up to 10 1/2 inches at 1 7/8, 3 3/4 and 7 1/2 ips, Audio, VHS, or Micro Cassettes, Elcaset, 8-Track Cartridge, Laser Disc, CD-Video Disc, and Capacitance Electronic Disc. We also can work with any DVD format regardless of what region in the world it was created. The DVD master we create will be in the U.S. Region 1 format.
How is High Fidelity Mastering different than other local facilities?
We’re the only facility in New Mexico that has the combination of world-class equipment with the proper education in mastering to do a truly professional mastering process. We’re the only mastering facility that utilizes the Masterpiece Analog Mastering System and the T.C. Electronic System 6000 Multichannel Processing Platform.
With the right equipment, can't anyone do a good job of mastering?
It takes more than equipment to do a good job of mastering. It takes years of experience in all forms of audio reproduction and the proper educational training in mastering. Only then, can you know what to listen for and how to improve it. You wouldn’t put yourself in the hands of an amateur surgeon, so why would you put your creative musical talent in the hands of an amateur mastering engineer?
Can I get a sample of your work?
Absolutely! In fact, we'll create a sample of mastering on your very own recording, at no cost or obligation. Hear for yourself what High Fidelity Mastering can do for your music!