GRAMMY AND ARIA AWARD WINNING MASTERING ENGINEERS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
AUSTRALIA’S LEADING ROSTER OF MASTERING ENGINEERS
The best of Australian Music
Studios 301 is Australia’s largest mastering facility, specialising in mastering music for Apple Music, Spotify, CD, Vinyl and all other streaming services and digital releases in a variety of genres. Our Award Winning Engineers are mastering the best of Australian and International music every day.
Our Mastering Service
Our premium mastering services are tailored to meet your deadlines and creative specifications. Bookings can be made quickly here on our website, over the phone +61 2 8396 7203, or via email. You can send your mixes to us for unattended mastering, or come in and attend the session.
Our award-winning engineers give your music the time and attention it deserves, ensuring every master is at its highest quality sonically, while always maintaining the mix’s original integrity.
How does it work?
Submit project details & payment
Prepare your files for upload (more info)
please have your files ready at the time of booking.
Submit your files through upload links provided
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mastering? And does my track need it?
The mastering process aims to provide the finished recordings with a “polish” so that they sound as balanced and consistent as possible when played back on any sound system. It is the last step that’s done before playback, broadcast, replication and distribution.
We provide a professional and impartial set of ears for your recording to make it sound the best it can be.
For those more familiar with film & video production, it is the audio equivalent of ‘grading’.
To find out more, take a look at our What is Mastering? blog post.
How do I prepare my tracks/files for mastering?
- Stereo WAV files pre-masters preferred. MP3 format is unacceptable for mastering
- AIFF and/or dual mono LEFT and RIGHT files can also be accommodated
- 44.1KHz 24bit or higher is preferred.
- 32Bit Floating Point files offer no benefit but can also be used.
- Supply your mix at a sensible level: try and achieve a level close to 0dB but never allow the mix to go into the red (clipping).
- provide clear notes for your booking (i.e. desired level and tonal balance)
- provide a reference song
- provide details regarding intended release platform (i.e. CD, Streaming, YouTube or Video)
- 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. We cannot UPSAMPLE. If you want 48kHz provide 48kHz.
- provide precise details of any special edits (i.e. remove count in at start of song, fade song at end or any other requirements)
- If you do not provide you specified bit and sample rate it will be mastered in native and any additional formats will be charged at the ALT mix rate.
- CD/digital standard – 44.1 kHz 16 bit
- Vinyl – 44.1 kHz
- Digital Streaming & YouTube – 48 kHz (or 44.1 kHz) 24 bit
- Apple Digital Masters (ADMs) require 44.1 kHz 24 bit or higher (this format must be specified when booking the project)
*Any sample rate @ 44.1 kHz 24 bit or higher is recommended for High Definition Digital Streaming Platforms.
*Without providing what format to master your files in, we will master in native (the format your pre-masters are delivered in) and you will be charged for any additional format requests in a different bit rate.
Masters File Formats
- The default delivery format is Standard Digital (DIG): Delivered as 16bit / 44.1kHz WAV files unless chosen otherwise.
- Suitable for radio and digital distribution such as Spotify and other streaming platforms.
- Required if you wish to have a CD Production Master made up.
- Apple Digital Masters: Delivered as 24bit WAV files. Sample rate same as supplied source file.
- If you supply mixes at any resolution between 24 bit / 44.1kHz to 24 bit / 96kHz, we’ll provide the master at the same resolution. Apple Digital Masters are optional, Apple Music and other digital distributors will accept Standard Digital Masters.
- Apple Digital Masters is an Apple initiative launched after the release of its new generation of AAC encoding tools that accept hi-resolution PCM sources. It includes a set of best practices for mastering specifically for Apple Music, and mastering houses/engineers need to be approved by Apple to provide them.
- Vinyl Masters (VYN): Delivered as 24bit WAV files. Sample rate same as supplied source file with audio optimised for the vinyl cutting process.
- CD Production Master (DDP): Delivered as a digital DDP file along with a 301 DDP Player. Created from 16bit / 44.1khz mastered WAV files.
- The CD Production Master (DDP) is the final sequenced EP or album master with gaps, fades and encoded metadata including CD text and ISRCs.
- DDP is a licensed standard for a Red Book Audio CD, and the format requested by a CD manufacturing plant.
- PreMaster CD (PMCD) available upon request.
- Custom WAV Masters: Audio can be mastered to a specified target loudness to suit your needs.
- Opt for 16bit / 24bit resolution
- Opt for 48kHz / 88.2kHz / 96kHz sample rate
- Suitable for specific hi-resolution and video sync requirements, broadcast, long-term archiving
- MP3: A file format that uses lossy file-compression. Suitable for uncritical listening and EPKs (Electronic Press Kits).
- Inferior sound quality to lossless formats (WAVS, AIFF etc) thus unsuitable for encoding into other formats.
- 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 3 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.
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.
Our Mastering Engineers
Leon Zervos is a world-renowned mastering engineer with exceptional credentials across a diverse range of genres. In a career spanning over 3 decades, Leon moved to New York City in the early 90’s to work as a senior mastering engineer at Masterdisk and Sterling Sound. Leon’s strengths lie in his fast and flexible working style, and uncanny ability to master big radio friendly anthems that frequently go on to commercial and critical acclaim.
Steve Smart is regarded as one of the most respected and prolific mastering engineers in Australia. Starting his 30+ year career as a vinyl cutting engineer at CBS Records, Steve joined Studios 301 in the early 90’s. With a love of analogue equipment and enormous collection of outboard processing, Steve’s masters achieve a depth and space unachievable in the digital domain.
Online Mastering Booking
Recently Mastered at 301
Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie & Hamish Stuart
Release Date: 08 September 2023
Steve Smart (Mastering Engineer)
Release Date: 08 September 2023
Jess Des (Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer)
Harvey O'Sullivan (Mastering Engineer)
Release Date: 30 August 2023
Steve Smart (Mastering Engineer)
Jess Des (Producer, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer)
Brad Hasiuk (Assistant)
Stewart Geddes (Assistant)