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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.