cd mastering

Mastering is the last process before making a CD. It adjusts the tracks for best results, adds metadata and the finished album is saved as a DDP, the industry standard delivery format.

30 years experience of mastering for Scotland's major labels including Greentrax Recordings, Linn and Whirlie.

Learn More

tape spliceblock
images © pierhouse

Introduction

Mastering is the critical final opportunity for CD track enhancement and adjustment before manufacture. Regardless of the type of programme a successful CD must have a dynamic range and tone balance appropriate to the expected playback conditions.

This requires reference loudspeakers and an acoustically treated listening environment.

What we need

Your master files should be just as they were mixed and free from any overall limiting, compression and equalisation. If this is applied it means that we are seriously constrained in what we can achieve. Dynamics are a vital part of music and final adjustment should be at the mastering stage, particularly where album listening is concerned.

Tone Balance

Reference monitors like our Bowers and Wilkins 801s are essential to check and correct tone balance to prevent unpleasant surprises later. Often recordings are made in acoustically untreated rooms with strong tonal colourations and sound harsh or boomy. These problems emerge later when the recordings are played elsewhere and customers complain.

Dynamics

Dynamics, that is the volume range of the CD, are adjusted to be neither too loud nor too quiet. Skillful compression and limiting are part of good recording and mixing but overall compression and limiting is best applied at mastering to the assembled album using accurate monitoring.

DDP Masters and Metadata

The final stage of creating a master is to embed ISRCs, CD-Text and barcode into the CD data stream.

A professional master is delivered as a DDP fileset over ftp, or on CD / DVD-ROMs, accompanied by error-checked listening CDs.

Testing

Error checking and media testing service available for CDs. If you have customer returns and want to know why this is for you, likewise if you are responsible for monitoring stability of archive discs.

CD error check graph
images © pierhouse