Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can you do all this for the price?
A. By keeping our overhead down. We don’t spend money on fancy brochures, tons of advertising, a client lounge or anything else unnecessary. And by having digital state-of-the-art equipment as the heart of our mastering lab we are able to maintain that state economically.

Q: My computer came with mastering software and a CD burner. Why should I pay to have my project mastered?
A. If you’re doing, say, a vanity project, maybe you shouldn’t. But if your goal is to have your music play competitively side by side with a major record label, the odds of achieving that yourself aren’t great. And it's not just the gear, it’s as much (if not more) the expertise and talent of the engineer. The mastering engineer also brings a fresh pair of ears to the project. This new perspective is often very beneficial to the outcome of the project.


Q: What about safety copies, should I have one?

A: We think you should have at least 2 safety copies. One stored safely away from the master, which obviously should also be safely stored. Things happen. Sometimes things get lost or destroyed. Send us the other safety copy, but only after you carefully listen to it. We recommend you do this with headphones in a quiet, distraction freeplace, not the car. You might notice some things you’ll want to correct before mastering!


Q: How loud can you make my CD?

A: Very loud, if that’s you want.

Q: I have compressors available; how much should I use them?
A: No easy answer here. Compression is a great tool and can be used in tracking, mixing and mastering to control dynamics or to get a certain sound. But there are good and bad compressors, and even the good ones improperly set will do things that may at first sound cool, but later you may wish you hadn't done. Beware of that and this: Once compression has been added to a mix and delivered for mastering, the mastering engineer will not be able to undo it. If you’re going for loud, you are better off letting the mastering engineer do that and leave the engineer a few db to work with.


Q: Should I normalize my mixes?
A: No, we don’t recommend that. Doing so will take away the headroom we could otherwise take advantage of in mastering. You should get you mixes up close to the digital maximum, but leave us 3 or 4 db to work with.


Q: How long can my CD be?
A: Replicators recommend 74 to 76 minutes. Beyond that they may ask you to sign a waiver that relives them of responsibility for CDs that don’t play properly. Even then they may refuse CD’s that are in excess of 78 minutes.


Q: What can you master from?

A: We prefer audio CDRs, CD-ROMs and DATs but accept others

.
Q: What is sticky shed?

A: Sticky Shed is a term used to describe what sometimes happens with old tape; most commonly reel to reel tapes. What happens is, the stuff that holds the oxide on to the base material becomes unstable due to exposure to humidity over time, and when playback is attempted, the oxide rubs off on everything it comes in contact with. In other words, self destruction. We check every tape for this condition and advise you
if we find it. As a quick check you can try un-spooling some of the tape off the reel. If it sticks to itself at all, stop! Continuing could do permanent damage. A remedy called tape baking can usually restore tapes like these.