What Is Mastering?

What is Mastering?
In short mastering is the final preparation of a song or group of songs before they are released to the public. Making them ready for either physical release or online digital release.

What Will My Songs Sound Like After They Are Mastered?
Every artist's songs will sound different, but check out my music samples in the top bar to hear some of my work.

What Is Stem Mastering?
Stem mastering is the process of level balancing and editing multiple consolidated groups of instruments during the mastering process. It allows the engineer to get much deeper into a mix, and has the possibility to allow for more control over the final master.

How Should I Prepare My Mix Before Mastering?
When preparing you mix for mastering you'll want to do a few things. First-off you want to make sure the highest peak-level is -3dB or less before exporting (bouncing) your mix; this ensures no transients are clipped and will give us some headroom to sculpt the master. Secondly you'll want to remove any pre-mastering processing from the master-bus, such as a limiter or stereo enhancer. The over-all volume should sound low; I will raise it during the mastering process. Third you’ll want to make sure that you submit a high resolution .wav or .aif file. I can master mp3's, however you will get a better final product when mastering from a high resolution file.

Do You Offer Discounts For Full Albums or EPs?
Yes. I offer discounted rates depending on the number of songs that are submitted. Please contact to discuss pricing.

Can You Master An MP3 or Video File?
Yes. I can master from an mp3 or video file, however I recommend using .wav or .aif files as the resolution is usually much better. If you only have access to mp3 or video versions we can still often achieve good results, but you will get a better final master using high quality .wav or .aif files.

How Long Will It Take Before My Song(s) Are Finished?
My standard turnaround time is based on studio workload, but generally speaking you can expect to have your songs back within 3-4 days. Express Services are available for projects under a strict deadline.

Can You Master For Vinyl?
Yes, be sure to let me know you plan on putting your record on vinyl as there are changes that need to be made in order to get the best quality.

Can You Master For iTunes/Spotify/Youtube?
Yes, be sure to let me know where exactly you planning on releaseing your songs so I will prepare a special version for online play.

ISRC Codes

What are ISRCs?
The International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) is an identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings that is recognised internationally. The code was developed by the recording industry in conjunction with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Each ISRC uniquely and permanently identifies one specific recording. For example, a 10-song album would have 10 unique ISRC's. Similarly, different recordings or remixes of the same song would be identified by different ISRC's. For digital recordings, ISRC's are encoded directly into the recordings in the mastering stage.

Heres an example of an ISRC:

ISRC AU-Z03-98-00212

Each ISRC is made up of 4 segments:

Country Code identifies the country of residence of the registrant.
Registrant Code identifies the entity assigning the Designation Code in an ISRC.
Year of Reference is the 2-digit year in which the ISRC was assigned to the recording.
Designation Code is the code assigned to the sound recording by the registrant. This code may not be repeated within the same calendar year (5 digits).

Do I really need ISRC's?
If your music will be distributed digitally then yes, you need ISRC's as they are required by most digital distribution companies like Tunecore and CD Baby. This provides the means to identify your recordings for royalty payments.

It is now possible to embed ISRC's into uncompressed WAVE and AIFF file formats; this is becoming increasingly popular with our clients.

If you are releasing only on CD and/or vinyl then ISRC's are not mandatory. Regardless, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) recommends that all music producers use ISRC.

How do I get ISRC's?
This process can take up to 1 week, so factor this in when you are preparing for mastering.

Email the National ISRC Agency at http://isrc.ifpi.org/en/  They will respond with an automatically-generated email that will explain the next steps, which includes providing some specific information. Once you have sent the information they require, they will provide you with a registrant code and a booklet outlining how to use it to create your own codes as you produce recordings on an ongoing basis. There is no fee for this service.

If you are in US/CA, get in contact with your National ISRC Agency at: https://www.usisrc.org/ 
If you are in Australia, get in contact with your National ISRC Agency at: isrc@aria.com.au

© 2021 Ohad Nissim. Mastering All rights reserved.