Frequently Asked Questions

PAYMENT

I do not have PayPal account. How can I pay?


You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay for Lugove Mastering services. You can pay using a valid credit or debit card. All payments are secure and protected by PayPal. We also accept bank transfers.




Can you do a free mastering sample for me?


We do not offer a free mastering service.




When do I pay?


We expect payment once the master has been signed off.





MASTERING

What musical styles do you cover?


We are pretty confident we can handle anything you want to throw at us - from folk, through pop, metal, jazz to avant-garde experimental music. We are thrilled to help musicians of all kinds of genres to make the most of the audio delivery process.




How can I order a service from you?


Every mastering project is different. The best way is to contact us directly, so we could discuss your requirements and expectations and find the best solution. You can send us an email (mastering@lugoveaudio.co.uk) or use a chat widget on our website. You can also submit an online request form ( UPLOAD TRACK page). The form lets you upload your files to us, but if you want to use an alternative method for a file transfer, you can submit the form and send us the files later using the data transfer service of your choice.




How long will it take to master my files?


Usually, we aim to have your master files ready and returned to you within 2-3 working days. This can vary depending on how busy we are at the time. If your job is urgent, please contact us to discuss your requirements.




How should I prepare my mix for mastering?


1. BIT DEPTH - at least 24-bit, 32-bit preferred.

Your mix should be exported to LPCM audio format (WAV or AIFF) with at least 24-bit resolution and Triangular (TPDF) dithering if possible. TPDF dithering eliminates non-linear distortion during re-quantization (converting 32-bit or 64-bit floating point samples in the DAW to 24-bit or 16-bit format) and has no signal modulation artifacts. We strongly recommend not using coloured, noise-shaping dithers, especially if the target delivery format is for streaming. It is our responsibility to use them during the last stage of mastering pipeline, if required. We also accept 32-bit floating point audio files. It is always best to render the entire mix at 32-bit resolution and avoid dithering altogether even if you have recorded at 16-bit or used 16-bit sample loops.

2. SAMPLE RATE - same as in your original project in DAW.

We don't recommend performing sample rate conversions during bouncing your mix to a file. Your audio file should be created in the same sample rate your project has been mixed. If you have mixed in 48kHz or 96kHz sample rate, do not convert to 44.1kHz. At the same time, do not convert 44.1 kHz up to any higher resolution. There are number of benefits to using higher sample rates in mastering, but our tools will do it for you so as to ensure the highest quality of mastered material.
3. MASTER BUS EFFECTS - remove a limiter if enabled.
Do not use any effects, such as limiting, clipping, etc. on your stereo output track (remove or bypass them before bouncing your project in DAW). If you really like the sound of your mix with them on, please send two files - processed and unprocessed. Everything else can stay (including a compressor in a non-limiting mode).
4. MAXIMUM PEAKS - ideally, between 3 to 5 dB below 0 dBFS. Do not use NORMALIZE function during mixdown. Make sure that there is no digital clipping at 0 dBFS on the final mixdown.
5. STEREO FILE FORMAT - always interleaved.
Please send one stereo file rather than two mono tracks (L, R) per song. 6. FADES/TRIMMING - leave the trimming and fading for the mastering session. The mastering engineer uses the noise before and after the track to capture and analyse the noise profile. That can be used later on to remove noisy content from the track, if necessary.
7. FILE SIZE COMPRESSION - zip/rar
Use file compression with automatic checksum file verification to pack your files before uploading to our server. This will ensure that the tracks we receive are not corrupted during the internet transfer. You can use popular zip or rar utilities for that purpose. If you are using Apple computer with OSX, right click on the files you want to send and select "Compress ...". This will create a zip file.




What if I don't like the results?


You can ask for a revision, and we will be happy to discuss the details with you. We work on the project until you are fully satisfied with the results.




What formats can you provide my final master in?


Once your mastering has been completed, we can supply you with a combination of: - WAV/AIFF master files - DDP Image for CD replication if you need that A DDP (Disc Description Protcol) is an image of your CD master. No CD is burnt during this process, thus eliminating potential errors. It can also be downloaded/uploaded, saving on time and postage costs. Please check with your replicator that they can accept this format, but any reputable company will. We also provide a PC/Mac player which allows you to play, burn a reference copy and extract WAV files. More information on the DDP format can be found here.




What is Mastered for iTunes?


"Mastered for iTunes" is an alternate version of your master created to the specifications of Apple's "mastered for iTunes" guidelines. This includes leaving sufficient headroom so as to avoid inter-sample peaks (clipping distortion) from occurring after your master gets encoded to Apple's AAC format. It also enables you to provide Apple with high resolution masters, with sample rates up to 192kHz at 24 bits. This is a great solution with significant benefits if you plan to sell your release in the iTunes store.




How loud can you make my track?


We can make your track sound very loud. We can employ various techniques to make that happen. Unfortunately, as with everything in mastering, there will be a sonic price to pay. If you are ready for this, that is fine. It is important that you have a basic understanding of the implications of that move. When loud transients like kick and snare hits are pushed further into peak limiting and clipping, the audio information tends to suffer more because the waveform is being chopped off and smeared the louder the overall level of the song becomes. Therefore, a really loud master usually loses a lot of transient punch and detail. A more dynamic and less compressed/limited master will sound much better over extended listening periods without leading to listening fatigue. Just saying. Of course, it is your choice.




Can you provide ISRC codes? Do I need them to sell my music?


ISRC codes (International Standard Recording Code) are identification codes for each song on your recording. They make sales of your music trackable so that you can get paid when people buy your music through digital retailers like iTunes. Some digital distribution services will take care of this step for you, so it depends on the circumstances of your release. In order to obtain a unique prefix for your ISRC codes, you must register via this website: www.usisrc.org or http://ppluk.com.




How do I get my CD info to display in iTunes?


Media players like iTunes refer to the Gracenote Database to identify album information such as artist and song titles. The Gracenote database provides album information to the following media players: iTunes, WinAmp, Quintessential Media Player, and Finder (Mac OS). Meanwhile, the AllMusic database provides album information to the following media players: Windows Media Player, Rhapsody, and Real Music Player. AllMusic registration can be completed by following the steps outlined on their website at: http://www.allmusic.com/product-submissions. Instructions for registering with Gracenote through iTunes:

1. Open the iTunes store application on your computer.
2. Insert your CD, but don't import it to your computer.
3. If you haven't already, fill out all album information (album name, artist name, album genre, track names, etc.).
4. When all that is done, highlight all tracks. Then go to the "advanced" drop down menu and select "submit CD track names." This will send your data to Gracenote.
5. Within 24-48 hours, your track names should load when you put your CD into any computer.




Do I need a dedicated master for vinyl?


In our opinion, yes. An alternate master prepared with little to no digital peak limiting, and a little more headroom in the analog domain will sound better on vinyl. A peak limited master intended for digital formats will only sound worse. A loud record will force the cutting engineer to turn things down significantly; in many cases, they'll be forced to cut an even quieter record than they would have with a more dynamic master. You'll retain more transient impact (punchier drums), smoother highs and tighter lows, and just a more natural and musical sounding record. The cost is minimal, and the benefits are significantly more. Your master for vinyl doesn't need to be as loud as the CD master because the volume of your vinyl will be determined by the length of the sides, and the integrity of the sonics. Having said all of this, you can still cut your CD/digital masters to vinyl if you don't have the budget for these alternate versions.




What is Hi-Resolution Audio (HRA)?


Hi-Res Audio (HRA) is a term generally used to describe both audio equipment and digital music files that deliver the best possible sound quality from studio master recordings. Hi-Res Audio is defined by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® as “lossless audio capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better-than-CD-quality music sources.”
Hi-res music may also sometimes refer to “remastered” files, taken from analog or lower-resolution digital master files - a process that may improve the overall listening experience as well.
For more information on how to prepare your mix for HRA, please read recommendations from The Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing https://www.grammy.com/sites/com/files/pages/recommendations_for_hi_resolution_music_production_05_10_17.pdf




What is DDP / DDPi?


DDP is the best way to deliver your master to your replication plant for pressing. DDPi is a disc image of your final CD master in which you can set all of the parameters for the CD, such as the exact gap between each song, the cross fades and other information. The image format is based on Disc Description Protocol. If you decided on releasing CD album, we can provide a complete DDP image.




What are the pros/cons of analog and digital mastering ?





Is steam mastering same as mixing?


Stem mastering is different from mixing. Stem mastering uses groups of instrumentation and allows additional sonic tweaks and targeted adjustment in addition to global stereo processing. On the other hand, mixing uses heavy fader and sends automation, effects, tuning etc. Stem mastering tends to use only occasional automation, but does allow the mastering engineer to target the use of eq, dynamic adjustment, and other forms of processing to the individual stems often producing an improved master.




How to prepare my mix for stem mastering ?


We usually want to hear a complete mix before we send you detailed recommendations on how to prepare your session for stem mastering.




Why do I need to master my mix / album ?


Most commonly, the term mastering refers to the process of taking an audio mix and preparing it for distribution. There are several considerations in this process:

  • Unifying or adjusting the sound of a record to correct any mix balance issues, or enhancing a particular sonic characteristic.
  • Maintaining consistency across an album so that each track sits comfortably within the overall aesthetic of the playlist.
  • Preparation for distribution, which could mean traditional duplication, replication onto CD/ vinyl, or preparing for digital download, depending on the intended delivery format.





OTHER


FILE TRANSFER

How can I send you my tracks?


We can provide access to our Dropbox share (we will send you all the details via email). Please use ZIP or RAR utility to pack the audio files. If you have trouble with upload, please send your files via wetransfer.com or any suitable online file transfer service. Make sure you quote your name if you do so. All links to files or Dropbox invitiations should be directed to mastering@lugoveaudio.co.uk .




How can I get my mastered tracks ?


We will send you an email with the details.





© 2017 Lugove Technologies Limited

Suite 2, Kd Tower, Cotterells

Hemel Hempstead

HP1 1FW

United Kingdom

If you have any questions, just give us a shout and we’ll be glad to help.

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