Online Mastering Service

Mastered for iTunes Approved

Hybrid Studios offers online mastering services using the best analog and digital equipment in an accurate acoustic environment to bring your material to a professional and commercially competitive level. We focus on the artist experience and work hard to provide clear channels of communication and fast turn around. Typically services are performed within 72 hours.

 

Online Mastering Services Include

  • Brief Mix Overview – First impression and objective thoughts on the mix.
  • Verification of File Format – Analysis of file type, bit depth, sample rate & any possible errors.
  • Dynamic Optimization – With a focus on punch and overall energy.
  • Frequency Balancing – With a focus mix translation between different playback systems.
  • Mono Compatibility – Verifying center and mid-side elements.
  • Loudness Optimization – Multiple song projects have consistent commercially competitive LUFS levels.
  • Metadata Embedment – ISRC codes, artist, title, etc.
  • Multiple Delivery Formats – 44.1kHz/16-bit Masters for CDs & Standard Digital Distribution and High Res 24-bit Masters for MFiT (Mastered for iTunes).
  • Master Archival – 1 Year File Archive
  • Satisfaction Guarantee – Unlimited revisions (if necessary).
    Optional: DDP file for CD manufacturing – add $50
Mastering Rates

Mastering Rate

 

$50/Song

What is Mastering?
Mastering is the process of taking a final mix of music and analyzing it for any flaws or imperfections, then making the best series of compromises to make it sound as good as possible on every playback system. A Mastering Engineer also adds a fresh objective perspective that might have been lost by the producer having heard the same song and tweaked mixes over and over again. Since every speaker affects the sound of the audio being played through it, mastering allows your music to sound its best across multiple platforms.
What's the difference between Mixing & Mastering?
Mixing and mastering are often confused because of the similar methods and tools involved, but they are two separate and important steps in the song creation process. Mixing generally refers to the individual track arrangements within a multitrack recording, whereas mastering is the final polish on a mix.
What does Mastering do?
QUALITY CONTROL: This involves fixing any small errors or oversights in the original mix, such as pops and clicks, and correcting other small mistakes that jump out once a mix is amplified.

STEREO ENRICHMENT: When done correctly, this allows your audio to sound much bigger by broadening spacial balance (left to right) and also tightens the center image by focusing low-end frequencies.

EQ: This refers to correction of spectral imbalances and enhancement of any elements that might need to pop a bit more. Great mastering is balanced and proportional, so no random frequencies should be left standing out. A balanced master should sound even across every playback system.

DYNAMICS: Compression improves the dynamic range of your song. It raises the quieter frequencies in the mix while maintaining louder signals. Compression bonds the song together and gives it a stronger feeling of uniformity.

LOUDNESS: Generally the last process in a mastering chain is the use of a limiter, which affects the song’s overall amount of loudness and creates a peak ceiling. Limiting boosts the track to sound competitively loud without clipping or distorting.

SAMPLE RATE & BIT DEPTH CONVERSION: Dither is dependent on the final output medium. If you are planning to release on CD, for example, you’ll want to convert to 44.1kHz 16 bit and may have to convert and dither your file to be the correct file format.

HANDLES & SEQUENCING: Sequencing refers to putting your audio tracks in order (generally for an album), and handles refers to how much silence you put between each track in the sequence.

What about LANDR for mastering?
LANDR and other comparable online mastering services have an established linear set of processes that “master” your music. Since these services are basically computer algorithms, they work in the same way every time (ex: EQ, then Multiband Compression, then limiting). This can be problematic at times because a computer is not able to make as many analytical choices when it comes to artistic choices and personal preferences. For example, sometimes a song doesn’t artistically call for any additional compression. A mastering engineer can make this call based off past experience, but the computer will process the audio the same way it always does and likely add some compression. In the end, while the convenience factors of LANDR and other online mastering services make them appealing, you usually end up with an inferior product because the mastering process is not being adjusted specifically to the needs of the source material.
What are the “loudness wars” and loudness normalization?
Simply put, the ‘loudness wars’ refers to a philosophy amongst music creators that louder is literally better. If you can make your music louder than everyone else, people will be able to hear it from farther away and physiologically like it better. If you compare music from before loudness normalization to music of today, you’ll see that there is some logic to the argument. The human brain does perceive something louder as sounding better. Loudness normalization is the process of measuring the loudness of a piece of music, then using the reading to lower the level to a standard reference level. For example, YouTube’s reference level is -14 LUFS, so if a song is analyzed to be -10 LUFS, YouTube will lower the level by 4DBs to bring it to the reference of -14 LUFS. Loudness normalization was created to combat varying loudness when listening to multiple songs in a sequence. Before loudness normalization, one song in a playlist might be quieter than the rest, so the end listener would have to turn up a volume knob to adjust the playback volume. Then, if the next song in the playlist were super loud, the listener would have to turn the volume back down. This leads to a terrible user experience where listeners are constantly adjusting a volume knob. Because of loudness normalization, being louder is no longer the focus; dynamics are!
What is ‘Mastered for iTunes’ (MFiT)?
Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) is a procedure developed by Apple specifically for Mastering Engineers to follow. This set of tools allows Mastering Engineers to audition Apple’s proprietary encoding during the mastering process and take into account how music will eventually interact with Apple’s encoding. In addition to auditioning the encoder, there is also a tool (called afclip) that processes the audio file and creates a text file for audio clips. Because of this special encoding process, extra attention must be paid to headroom and inter-sample peaking while mastering.
Why Master?
Mastering ensures that your music sounds great across all platforms. Whether your song was recorded at home or in a professional studio, it still needs the final step of mastering to sound its best. Professional mastering allows songs and albums to sound consistently balanced across the board, while tracks that aren’t mastered may sound disjointed when played in sequence.  Mastering allows your music to sound balanced, complete, and ready for commercial distribution across any platform.
What should I send to the Mastering Engineer?
Send a stereo WAV file at the highest sample rate and bit depth at which the recording was created. The final mix should be peaking around no more than -3DBs and stereo bus compression should ideally be gentle (unless there’s an artistic reason for the contrary). Please do not use any limiting on the files you send. Lastly, if you have any reference mixes or masters, please send them along with notes on what you like and want emulated in those mixes.

Mastering Equipment

Equipment

Monitoring

PMC twotwo.8s
PMC twotwo.sub2
Yamaha NS10s

Analog Processing

API 550A (2)
Crane Song HEDD
Manley Massive Passive EQ*
Manley SLAM!*
Manley Variable Mu
Prism Sound Maselec MLA-2
Pultec EQP-500A (2)
Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph
Stam Audio SSL Compressor
SPL De-Esser
Waves L2 Hardware Processor

*Mastering Version

Digital Recording

Apple Mac Pro “Late 2013”
(2.7GHz 12-Core with 128GB DDR3)
Avid HDX Native
Avid HD I/O 16×16
Avid ProTools 12 HD

Digital Processing

Izotope Music Production Bundle
Nugen Audio Master Pack Bundle
PSP Xenon
Slate Digital Everything Bundle
Sonnox Oxford Inflator
Soundtoys Effects V5 Bundle
SPL Transient Designer
Waves Mercury Bundle

 

Mastering Engineers

Billy Klein graduated with honors as a Recording Arts major from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. After starting his career at a major label A&R department he transitioned into the studio and worked daily with a talented roster of artists, engineers, and producers. In 2013, Klein co-founded Hybrid Studios and his engineering focus shifted to Mastering. Over the last twelve years he has contributed to the recording, mixing and editing of talents like Shakira, Keith Urban, Adele, Matisyahu, Augustana, Leona Lewis, The Bravery, and Michael Grimm.

What is my mastering philosophy? My goal is always to create well-balanced and competitively loud mixes. I want to always improve every song that I receive. In today’s market of music streaming and loudness normalization, dynamics have become increasingly important, and I create masters with encoding and streaming in mind from the start. As far as balance, I want everything to sound just as great on your smart phone as it does in your car. The trick is creating masters that still have bass information on a smart phone, without making your ears bleed from bright cymbals or guitars, but also won’t sound muddy from too much bass when you listen in the car. I tend to dislike bright mixes and masters because today’s listening environment is lacking in playback systems capable of even playing back bass information.

Hear the Difference

Cigar Box by Andrew Fosheim:

Before:

After:

I’ll Wait by Will Anderson

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After:

Brian Frederick graduated from Long Beach City College with an Associates Degree in Audio Engineering. He began his career working with the local music scene in Long Beach, before obtaining a studio position at Serenity West Recording, in Los Angeles. Frederick worked his way up from intern to staff engineer, and honed his craft working with some of the biggest names in Pop and Hip Hop. He has contributed to the recording, mixing and editing of talents like Wiz Khalifa, DJ Mustard, Snoop Dogg, Kaskade, DJ Quik, and Isabella “Machine” Summers (Florence and the Machine).

What is my mastering philosophy? My approach is simple: serve the song and album, stay out of the way of the song as much as possible, and try to bring out the best aspects of the mix while minimizing the worst.  An artist spends countless hours making the best version of the song(s) possible, and I really take that to heart. I’m not going to put my “stamp” on the song, per say. Every song is different, and every Mastering session is crafted according to what is brought to the table. The end goal is to create highly enjoyable Masters that sound incredible across all playback platforms. It should always sound the best it possibly can, from the phone to the club, to the backpack with speakers, to the Main Stage at the festival.

Hear the Difference

Who Let Me In Master by Bundy

Before:

After:

Trigger Finger by Electric Machines

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After:

Slow by The Playground

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After:

Still have questions? Please don’t hesitate to use our contact page.