How do I prepare my tracks / files for mastering?

Here at Studios 301, we field a lot of questions on how tracks should be prepared and submitted for mastering. Modern day digital audio workstations can throw up a dizzying array of options at the export window, thus we’ve outlined our preferences on how you can provide your mixes to our mastering engineers for optimal results.

Preparing mixes for mastering:

We prefer interleaved 24Bit Stereo WAV files to work from. AIFF and/or dual mono LEFT and RIGHT files can also be accommodated. If you only have 16Bit source files, these are still acceptable.

The sample rate of the mixdown file should be the same as what the project was recorded at. Leave any downsampling to us. If you require masters outside of the standard 44.1Khz sample rate, please let us know.

A lot of queries we get regard master buss processing, whether it should be left on or not. 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 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, or ask us for a mix evaluation.

If you have any specifics about edits, fades, crossfades, or spacing between songs, let us know upfront to minimise delays in completing the project. You can provide us with audio examples of timings and fades as it’s often easier to do this than explain over email.

If you require versions of the masters as singular tracks as well as versions with the tracks crossfaded or edited together, it’s also best to let us know this in advance.

Please feel free to email with any other questions. Otherwise, we’ll look forward to mastering your new tracks!

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Harvey O’Sullivan is an in-house mastering engineer at Studios 301.

For all recording enquiries please call  02 9698 5888 or contact