3 Ellis Ave, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
02 9698 5888

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mastering?

Take a look at our What is Mastering? blog post.

How do I book a Mastering session?

You can book quickly online by going to this link where you can upload your mixes and provide payment.

How will I receive my master?

You’ll receive a mastered WAV file ready for download.

How do I prepare my tracks/files for mastering?

We prefer interleaved Stereo WAV files to work from. AIFF and/or dual mono LEFT and RIGHT files can also be accommodated.

FILE FORMAT

Bit Rate: 24Bit is preferred however 16Bit files are fine if a 24Bit source is unavailable. 32Bit Floating Point files offer no benefit but can also be used.

Sample Rate: Please submit to us in whatever sample rate your track was recorded at. Leave any downsampling to us. If you require masters outside of the standard 44.1Khz sample rate, please let us know.

AUDIO

Peak Level: There is a lot of advice around saying that -3 is a good target which is fine, however as long as the audio isn’t clipped (unless a deliberate effect), or very low level, then the mastering engineer can adjust the gain as needed.

Master Buss Processing: This is often case-by-case, as it’s easy to overdo compression/saturation/limiting on the master buss. We don’t advise removing it completely however, as it may lose the intended vibe. If you are unsure, you can provide us with both a version with master buss processing on, and a version with it off.

What is the turnaround time for mastering?

It averages 2 business days, if you have something urgent please call us and we will try to deliver more quickly.

If you upload your project via the online bookings form and your chosen engineer is unable to meet the deadline, we will get in contact to advise of their next availability, or suggest an alternative engineer.

What are your payment terms?

Strictly upfront payment. We cannot send any mastered files before payment has been processed.

What is GST?

GST stands for Goods and Services Tax, which is only charged to customers within Australia. If you are outside of Australia, GST will not be added to your mastering fees.

What is Mastered For iTunes?

Apple’s new spec for delivering higher resolution masters. See here for more info.

MFiTs are optional, iTunes and other digital distributors will accept standard 16Bit masters.

What is the difference between an unattended (charged per-song) and an attended (charged per-hour) session?

Most of our sessions are client unattended, which allows our engineers to work efficiently and to their own schedule – and we pass the saving onto you. However, we enjoy our clients attending sessions and your music has our undivided attention whilst you are here (hence the hourly rate).

Can you master instrumentals, radio versions, vocal tracks, etc?

Yes we can master alternate mixes which are charged at $50+GST each. It is best to supply these at the time of mastering the main mix so everything can be done together and more quickly.

Is my track good enough to master? Can you give me tips for improving my mix?

We are happy to listen to your song before booking in mastering, please contact us to discuss. Any way of improving the mix will enable us to improve the final master.

Can you master to/from tape?

Definitely! This is usually done on an hourly rate, please contact us to discuss.

Can you master from stems?

Currently our engineers offer only stereo mastering in an unattended session. We do have engineers available to stem mix so please get in touch to discuss.

What is a production master & why do I need it?

A production master is the “master” copy of the CD that all the manufactured versions are made from. You need a master when you want to have a run of CDs produced at a production plant.

What's the difference between PMCD and DDPi Master? Which do you recommend?

The major difference between the two formats is that a PMCD master is the physical disc, where as a DDPi master is a file, that can be burnt onto a DVD, sent via the internet, or backed up onto a hard drive. We recommend the DDPi format because a DDPi can be backed up onto multiple hard drives, so with this format you will only ever need to pay for one master. With a PMCD master, the master is a physical item and if it is lost or damaged you will need another.

What is CD-Text?

CD-Text is information such as release and song name that be encoded on a PMCD or DDP master. Some, but not all, CD players (such as DJ and car systems) can read this text.

What is the DDP player software?

The DDP player software will play a DDP master, allowing you to audition it exactly as it will be as a commercially manufactured CD, including gaps, track names and ISRC’s. You can also burn your own reference CD’s using the DDP player. This is available to all clients for free – please contact mastering@studios301.com.

How do I use the DDP player software?

  1. Please make sure you follow the instructions for installation carefully.
  2. Launch the DDP player software
  3. Drag and drop the entire (unzipped) DDP folder we have provided you into the yellow window of the DDP player software.

The DDP player is playing my DDP fast / high pitch / weird...

It is likely that the sample rate is set incorrectly. To fix this, go to the Tools Menu > Settings > Audio Settings and set the Sample Rate to 44100Hz.

I put my reference / master / manufactured CD in iTunes and it doesn't show the song or artist names.

iTunes uses an online Database called Gracenote to display the info about an audio disc, and is not relevant to CD-text encoding.

How do I make iTunes display song names of my CD?

Simply enter the name, artist, and other relevant info into iTunes and then go to the Advanced menu > “Submit CD Track Names…”. This will update the Gracenote database (see above) which all iTunes users will be able to access.

What are ISRC’s?

ISRCs are a 12 digit code that identify a sound recording. iTunes and other digital distributors use them to track sales and radio stations use them to track the number of plays to calculate royalty payments.

What is a UPC?

UPC (sometimes also known as EAN) stands for Universal Product Code and is a 13 digit code that is a type of barcode. They can be encoded into CD Masters (either DDP’s or PMCD’s), although they are not required.
CD masters require the code to be 13 digits however some UPC’s are supplied as 12 digits. In that case we can ensure compliance by adding a 0 to the beginning of the code.

I have completed my mastering, now what?

Check out the following resources and services:

I have other questions, or need help using your site

We are happy to help, please contact us on +61 (0)2 9698 5888 or mastering@studios301.com

What Studio should I book?

Please contact us to discuss options and rates that suit your project

How much does a session cost?

Our Studios 301 team can put together a tailor-made quote for all of your needs. Whether you require, studio time, mixing or a specific engineer or a producer. Please contact us for a customised quote HERE or email us at hello@studios301.com.

How much to record a song?

This can vary project to project and we can help advise you on the best course to take.

Do you offer album & EP packages?

Yes we do. Contact us with the following information if you would like a quote:

  • Number of songs/days
  • Preferred engineer/producer
  • Band setup/players
  • The budget you would like to work to
  • Project timeframe

What is engineering vs producing?

When you hire one of our engineers, you can expect them to cover the technical aspects of the art of recording sound and to capture high quality recordings to your specification.

When you book a producer, they will also do that, but will contribute to the project on a musical level and guide it on a musically concise and final direction with you.

How do I choose an engineer or producer?

A great place to start is by checking out their work. Once you’ve had a look through the credits of our various engineers, pick the one whose style and discography you connect with the most and find to be most appropriate for your genre of music.

Can I talk to the engineer/producer beforehand?

Absolutely. We help you choose producers very carefully and are happy to put you in touch after initial consultation. If you are booking an engineer, we will put you in touch once the session is confirmed.

Do you offer songwriting services?

Yes! Please contact us to discuss your songwriting project.

How does payment work?

Single day sessions with us require upfront payment, and longer sessions require a 50% deposit to lock in, with the remaining balance due by the last day of your session.

We accept credit card, bank transfer, EFTPOS and cash.

How far ahead do I need to book?

With as much notice as possible. To guarantee your preferred days, please contact us as soon as you have decided on your schedule.

How do session times work?

Your session time starts from when you, or your crew, arrive and ends once the all equipment is packed down and you leave the facility. A good setup is key to a smooth session and takes time to complete. Please ensure you account for the time it takes you to setup, backup session files and pack down your equipment when planning your day.

What do I need to bring?

All your instruments … we have the rest!

What is mixing?

Mixing is a lot like cooking. If we compare recording to purchasing and preparing the ingredients, then mixing is like the method.
Mixing is where we take every instrument, part or track that has been recorded and balance, space and ride them from a multi-track session into a final 2-track stereo file.

What’s the difference between unattended and attended mixing?

An unattended mix is done without you present. The engineer will get to a point that they are happy with and then send the mix through to you for feedback and changes. We allow for any number of revisions, so long as they are completed during the same day of your session. We are happy to keep working on the song at a later date, but it will incur extra charges as the session will require recall and rescheduling.

An attended mix allows you to join the engineer during mixing and provide immediate feedback. While this is often the preferred way, it is usually a longer process. Most engineers prefer to mix unattended for the first part of the day then ask you to come in towards the end of the session to review the mix and make revisions if required.

How long does it take to mix a song?

This is dependent on musical style and approach and as such, it tends to vary project to project.
We typically recommend a day per song to allow for a professional, release ready mix, however we can mix as many songs as 2 per day provided the music is well prepared.

How do I prepare for mixing?

Confirmation of studio booking by client

A booking is considered confirmed when the Studios 301 “Booking Confirmation” is sent by Studios 301.

Full payment or a 50% deposit is required to secure the booking, and you will be notified of the charges.

Single day sessions with us require upfront payment, and longer sessions require a 50% deposit to lock in, with the remaining balance due by the last day of your session. We will retain all files and content from the session until the balance has been settled.

We accept credit card, bank transfer, EFTPOS and cash.

What is Mixing?

Audio mixing is the process of combining multi-track recordings into a single track – “the mix”. The process can include balancing the levels of the multi-tracks that have been recorded, fine-tuning the sound of each instrument or voice using equalisation (EQ), stereo panning, and/or adding effects such as reverb.

During a mixdown, we take every instrument, part, or track that has been recorded to balance and space them from a multi-track session into a final 2-track stereo file.

Mixing is a lot like cooking. If we compare recording to purchasing and preparing the ingredients, then mixing would be the method.

How do I prepare for online mixing?

Can I choose my engineer?

Yes. For our online mixing service we have two options.

  1. “Team engineer” For this option it is not possible to pre-book a particular engineer. Please be assured that your song will be mixed by one of our highly skilled and experienced Studios 301 engineers.
  2. You can book any of our mix engineers directly via our online mixing service for an unattended mix at each engineer’s specific mix rate.

For attended mixing, EP or Album mixing we are more than happy to put together a customised quote. Enquire here.

If I pay more can I choose my engineer or studio?

Yes, if you would like to book a specific studio and engineer for attended mixing please contact bookings@studios301.com, or make an enquiry here, for a customised quote.

Is there a limit on the number of tracks I can send?

Through option 1 Yes. There is a 45 multi-track limit. If you have more than 45 tracks please contact us for a customised quote here.

I can’t upload my tracks, how can I get help?

This may be due to the size of your files, the files being in the wrong format, or using special characters in the file name. Please ensure you only use letters and numbers. Your track should be no longer than 10 minutes and be in the format specified here. Please contact us for any additional help at bookings@studios301.com

Can I post my tracks to you?

If you wish to post your tracks please send a Hard Drive, Memory Stick, DVD-R or CD-R to: Studios 301, 3B Ellis Avenue, Alexandria NSW 2015. Please make sure you clearly label the artist and song.

What is the difference between online mixing and the attended/customised mixing?

Our Studios 301 online mixing service (including team engineer and specific engineer options) is a unique opportunity to have your song mixed by one of our highly skilled and experienced engineers. We have launched the online service to be accessible to artists all over the world, especially for those who are unable to visit the studios in person.

For ‘Team Engineer” online mixing:

  • All sessions are unattended.
  • A specialist Studios 301 engineer will be allocated to your project. You will be unable to pre-book a specific engineer.
  • There is a 45 multi-track limit. If you have more than 45 tracks please contact us for a custom quote.
  • This is a fixed price service
  • You will need to provide multi-tracks that are consolidated or bounced from the start point of the song (bar 1 beat 1 or start time code). Please make sure these are in a high resolution format (wav or aiff).
  • The engineer will bring the mix to a point they are happy with, then send it through for your feedback and revisions if required.
  • The fixed price includes one round of revisions. Any additional revisions will be charged at $75ph + GST

For our engineer specific online mixing option:

  • You can select the specialist mixing engineer of your choice.
  • All sessions are still unattended.
  • Please try and limit your multi-tracks to 65
  • You will need to provide multi-tracks that are consolidated or bounced from the start point of the song (bar 1 beat 1 or start time code). Please make sure these are in a high resolution format (wav or aiff).
  • The option includes 3 sets of revisions. Any additional revisions will be charged at $75ph + GST

For our custom mixing, album/ Ep or attended mixing service:

  • You can choose an attended or unattended session for your project.
  • You can select the specialist mixing engineer of your choice.
  • There is no limit to the number of multi tracks.
  • We allow for any number of revisions, so long as they are completed during the same day of your session. We are happy to keep working on the song at a later date, but it will incur extra fees as the session will require recall and rescheduling.

What is Digitisation?

Digitisation is the process of playing back an analogue source material, such as a tape or cassette, whilst capturing it as a .wav (or similar) digital file. The methods for digitising each of the analogue formats we work with are finely tuned, involving meticulous alignment of our playback machines, high quality analogue to digital convertors, and the highly refined skills of our digitisation engineers and technicians (as per the IASA TC 04 guidelines). As a result, this process is reliable and efficient in providing the highest quality digitisation possible.

What are digital transfers?

A Digital Transfer refers to the process of moving digitally recorded material from one format to another, usually without undergoing a digitisation process (because the material is already in a digital form). Now that digital recording methods have been in place for over 20 years, there are many older formats that are no longer practical to run, or on tape mediums that are deteriorating, so we undertake a Digital Transfer for both safekeeping and possible future use of the material.

What is our process?

In order to achieve the most successful results, we tailor our digitisation or transfer process to each project that we undertake. Considerations that are factored into the process planning include the age of the original material, file requirements, turnaround time, confidentiality and any special client requests. The process usually includes:

  • Materials logging and secure, climate controlled storage
  • Assessment of material. Due to age or damage, the materials may require extra treatment or unusual transfer methods to ensure a safe and high quality capture.
  • Precision playback of the material and capture to our DAW’s
  • Editing
  • File export
  • Daily backup of all captured material

What is tape baking?

Many tapes suffer from “Sticky Shed Syndrome”, where a tape attracts moisture from the air and as a result starts to become sticky and fall apart – rendering the tape destroyed when played back on a tape machine. Tape baking draws out the moisture in the tape, allowing it to be safely played back. We have this process applied to most of the analogue audio tapes we digitise.

For all enquiries, please contact: Lynley White-Smith on ron@studios301.com or 02 9698 5888