ANALOG & DIGITAL DOMAINS

Depending on what your music really needs

MASTERED FOR STREAMING

Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Apple Music, Soundcloud.

MASTERING ONLINE

Online service to any part of the world.

Mastering is a must

Let me take your music to the next level.

It's the last stage in the process of making a record; it is not just making it loud but rather to put your mixes under the microscope to accentuate its strengths and strenghten its weaknesses, a good master will not only be loud but also deep, wide and polished, and will always sound good regardless the playback format (mp3, wav, CD, streaming) and will deliver its best performance in every playback system, from small speakers to high-end devices.

It’s not how loud you make it, it’s how you make it loud!

Bob Katz
 

Over 300 albums mastered

All musical styles from around the world

What do I do to your mixes

Each and every record is unique and as such, I will approach it when it arrives for mastering.

Getting started

Every mix is carefully listened to upon arrival before I determine what processes are needed to be done. Be aware that every mix is unique and I will do what is needed; I don't have a standard procedure, as mastering is all about polishing the sound. Navigate along the tabs to see what aspects of your sound I examine for mastering.

Check out this step by step example of the time and attention I put in your music: Read article

Frequency balance

I will ensure that there are no frequencies with too much energy that will result in ear fatigue throughout a song or the whole album, or else, that will "bury" other instruments. This is a very important matter that has to be done surgically therefore, if needed, I will work those frequencies, always in the digital domain with precise linear-phase EQ.

Dynamic range

This is, to myself, the most important part of mastering, this is where the music gets a tight and powerful sound but without squashing it, but it has to be done very carefully because one mix may need one compressor and another may need two, whereas another may ask for digital-clean compression and another will ask for an analog-tube compressor. To my style, it's very rare but sometimes I use multiband compression or even upward compression.

Harmonics & tonal response

There are mixes that sound opaque, sometimes they come to life by passing through the valves of a processor, other benefit from solid-state circuitry and other might need something more powerful like a harmonics exciter. There are other mixes that only need a push on certain frequencies, being with an EQ or a mastering tonal shaper.

Stereo image and depth

Sometimes mixes sound a little "flat" or too "narrow" to make good impact on the listener, when a record's stereo image is weak, it may be interpreted as a "small" non-professional record. When a mix needs depth I enhance it on the digital domain while the stereo image depends on the need, it could be digital or analog.

High performance

When all other aspects of sound are done, it is time to ensure that the overall loudness is enjoyable but also within the parameters of commercial playback volume. This stage I work always on the digital domain, it's just a matter of personal taste.

Mastered for iTunes

You know for sure that there is a special section in the iTunes Store for records that were mastered with the best quality. For years it was reserved only for record labeles but now it is available to anyone. My masters comply with all technical parameters needed to get featured in the Mastered for iTunes section at no extra charge.

DDP image for CD replication

If you intend to press CDs you must know that a simple CD-R is not enough since it is susceptible to data corruption. A mastering studio must be able to deliver a proper premaster CD that complies with the industry standard known as Red Book. For some years now it is more popular to use DDP image instead of the physical CD. I can deliver to you a proper DDP image for a nominal extra fee.

Mastered for Streaming

Nowadays, 90% of people will listen to your music through some streaming service, that means it will be delivered in a compressed format like mp3 or AAC and the final quality will depend on the listener's connection, for example, you may upload a lyric video using the PCM audio (.wav or .aif) to Youtube but the listener needs to play it at 1080 or at least 720p quality to get the HD sound you put on your video. That's why a good master is crucial to make the best possible impact on the listener.

Listen and judge by yourself

Here are some examples or the sound I can get to your mixes, each sample has the music before and after mastering so you can listen to the variety of mixes that arrive for mastering and the resulting master.

Hard Rock

Before mastering

After mastering

Pop Rock

Before mastering

After mastering

Blues

Before mastering

After mastering

Electronic

Before mastering

After mastering

Metal

Before mastering

After mastering

Alternative

Before mastering

After mastering

Ska

Before mastering

After mastering

Latin

Before mastering

After mastering

Rap/Hip-Hop

Before mastering

After mastering

Call me or whatsapp me at +52 1 442 489 1873

Let me take your music to the next level

Contact Me

Mastering Rates

SINGLE

$ 80 USD per song

  • From 1 to 3 songs
  • Mastered for iTunes
  • 1 change
  • Files delivered in 16 bits @ 44.1 KHz .wav format
  • HD files delivered in 24 bits @ 96 KHz .wav format
  • DDP image for additional $20 USD
  •  
BUY

EP

$ 65 USD per song

  • From 4 to 7 songs
  • Mastered for iTunes
  • Up to 2 changes
  • Files delivered in 16 bits @ 44.1 KHz .wav format
  • HD files delivered in 24 bits @ 96 KHz .wav format
  • DDP image for additional $20 USD
  •  
BUY

The gear I use

Just a heads up about what tools I use to do mastering and how I use them. Keep in mind that I do not use all of it at the same time and not all of it is suitable for all kind of mixes.

Frequency Balance

I divide frequency balance into two types: subtractive and additive. I subtract whenever there is too much energy in a given frequency which can result in ear fatigue; for this I work striclty with linear-phase EQ in the box. When I do additive EQ-ing is just to give some spark and spice to the sound; this I do preferably in the analog domain although in some cases, in the box is just quite enough.

Name Type Usage  
Algorithmix - Red Plugin A linear-phase EQ, probably the cleanest of all, its precision is unmatched and is my go-to tool whenever I get very complex mixes with too much frequencies to correct or else, the original mix comes with too much distortion, pretty much everything you would expect from a 1K € plugin.
DMG - Equilibrium Plugin A very clean linear-phase EQ for subtractive eq-ing, this plugin is amazing because is very flexible in its use and very powerful; I sometimes use it for additive eq-ing.
Behringer - Ultra Q (modified) Analog tube/solid-state This unit was modified with Telefunken tubes, Nuvistor solid-state triodes and a Nickel transformer; its sound is very warm and fat, a great tool for additive EQ; however this unit is non-linear phase so I use it in a very discrete way to spice the sound a bit.
Handcrafted Labs - Dual mono Analog-tube A very fine EQ designed for mastering and hand-built in Ukrane; this unit has a very bright sound and is perfect for that slight frequency push-up. I love its character and its hand-made 'vibe'. I usually put it after the compression stage but sometimes it could be earlier in the process.

Harmonics & Saturation

All analog gear and digital emulations will colour the sound, some more than others but sometimes it is necessary to give the music a little push up for it to come to life, I work with both digital and analog processors.

Name Type Usage  
Waves - Vitamin Plugin This I use whenever the mix needs a little more clarity and 'life' in a specific frequency range, it wokrs wonders, with precise harmonic generation and very low distortion in the crossover.
Voxengo - LF Max Punch Plugin An amazing low-frequency exciter that helps a lot those mixes that lack of low-end or 'weight', it can give just enough to help the sound without hurting small consumer-level speakers.
Behringer - Ultragain (modified) Analog tube/solid-state This unit was modified with Telefunken tubes, Nuvistor solid-state triodes and a Nickel transformer; its original funtion was as preamp, I use it to level-up mixes with RMS loudness below -10 dBFS.
Behringer - Ultrafex (modified) Analog tube/ solid-state Originaly built as a harmonics exciter, this unit was modified with Telefunken tubes, Nuvistor solid-state triodes and a nickel transformer. This one is perfect when a mix needs clean harmonics but with a raw fat character.
Chandler Ltd. - TG Mastering Pack Plugin Although these two are really EQ, their fixed frequencies and tone work more as tone generators. Both plugins are meant to work together and give a great vintage vibe with much more precision and flexibility than say a Pultec. Since these plugins are discontinued as well as their hardware counterpart I jelously keep my older versions as part of my characteristic sound.

Dynamic Range

As I stated before, dynamic range, to me is by far the most important part of mastering but also, less is more, that's why I only use 5 types of compressor.

Name Type Usage  
Weiss - DS1 Digital The best mastering compresor ever made, plain and simple! It has everything, knee, attack, separate release times for RMS and transients, MS, dual-mono and stereo processing; side-chain, everything; plus, being digital and with no emulation algorithms it keeps sound uncoloured which leaves plenty of room for a saturation device.
Tegeler Audio - Creme Analog tube One of the best analog compressors specially designed for mastering, pretty straight forward -yet powerful, no fancy stuff; it just does an amazing job on the whole mix without crushing the transients. It also incorprates a 2-band EQ stage that gives an extra special tone.
Behringer - Composer (modified) Analog tube/solid-state It has the same tube/solid-state mods of all the other Behringer processors I have however, this one goes further, it incorporates a nickel and steel transformer selectable by switch, it also has 2 fixed knees (3 dB and 9 dB), attack times are fixed as well (10, 12, 20, 25 and 32 ms) with a manual release. The original drive controls are separated to control solid-state and tube drive. If I turn all the way up the tube drive it sounds much like a pentode-mode compressor.
Algorithmix - SplitComp Plugin It's very rare that I resort to multiband compression, it's just not my style. However if I ever do that, the Algorithmix SplitComp is as precise as it gets and also crystal clear. No wonder why a plugin costs more than 1K €, but it is worth it.
Waves - API 2500 Plugin I once had the analog unit but it was stolen some time ago along with several other processors; I use it in mastering for a very specific technique where this one gives it a slight compresson and then other compressor does the heavy lifting. That's why I kept it in my chain but only as plugin, its sound is warm and with a lot of character. It also has a stepped link control to work in dual-mono or stereo which makes it more precise for mastering.

Depth & Stereo Imaging

Another very important part of mastering, this I rather do in the digital domain for it needs a lot of precision, but sometimes you can go analog.

Name Type Usage  
Algorithmix - K-Stereo Plugin To my taste, this is the most advanced processor since it is completely transparent non-intrusive and specially designed by the legendary Bob Katz. This plugin recovers the original sense of depth and space of the mix without the need of reverbs or delays. I personally use the Algorithmix version instead of the UAD version because of its more precise calculations.
DMG - Dualism Plugin Whenever a mix only needs to be widened or narrowed, Dualism is a very precise processor in the box that was designed for mastering and does not introduce phase shift or distortion. This one is crucial to have it because not all mixes can be processed in the analog domain when it comes to stereo imaging.
Behringer - Ultrafex (modified) Analog-tube/solid state The same unit I use as an exciter I use for stereo imaging; the original processor had a surround funtion controlled by a separate tube but this function has no place in mastering since it would introduce a lot of phase shift so, when it was modified, that circuit was replaced with a stereo imager controlled by a solid-state diode in 10 bi-directional 5%-steps. An amazing tool when the mix needs plain straight-forward imaging.

High performance

The last stage in mastering I like to do it in the box so the following are only plugins.

Name Type Usage  
Softube - Weiss MM1 Plugin The cleanest of all maximizers and my go-to tool for mixes that already have enough harmonics. The controls only affect the aggressiveness of the knee. One of the finest audio plugins that delivers hardware-quality to the sound.
Waves - L3 Plugin Some mixes need a multiband limiter and L3 is a very precise plugin, with linear phase crossover and separated release, gain and priority controls; it also has automatic release algorithms but I rarely use that feature since manual control is much more interesting.
PSP - Vintage Warmer Plugin This one reminds me of the Manley Slam! It works wonders when a mix needs pure raw power at its final stage, the drive control is just beautiful and it also incorporates a long release that makes up for a tape saturaton feel.