Mastering at 4D Sounds

With over twelve years worth of experience, we provide high quality mastering at affordable rates without compromising quality. Our mastering projects include clients varying from solo artists, bands, record labels, producers to businesses. 

We are against the loudness war but can provide loud masters which retain the perception of the song’s transients and dynamics. Working within the digital and analogue realm we use ultra clean signal paths to help achieve the best possible results.

At 4D Sounds you can expect…

  • Mastering for CD/DVD, web, video and digital distribution.
  • Stem Mastering
  • A loud yet dynamic finished product (if loud is what you want!)
  • Ensuring your music is ready to be played in a variety of settings from car stereos to TV, radio and clubs etc.
  • Approval of masters online via MP3 before payment.
  • Insertion of ISRC codes.
  • Redbook standard and DDP image creation for digital distribution.
  • Compliant with Mastered for iTunes
  • Masters suitable for printing to vinyl
     
 

Equipment

Outboard

  • Manley Massive Passive EQ
  • UBK Clariphonic Parallel EQ
  • SPL Vitalizer
  • Avalon 737sp Channel Strips x2
  • API 2500 Compressor
  • Neve Master Bus Processor
  • Empirical Labs EL8-X Distressor x2
  • UBK 500 Electra EQs x2
  • SSL X Desk Summing
  • Lindell Audio PEX-500 x2
  • Lindell Audio 7X-500 x2

AD/DA

  • Prism Orpheus 
  • RME Multiface II

Plugins

  • Fab Filter
  • Waves
  • Brainworx
  • UAD 2 
  • Softube
  • Flux
  • Slate Digital
  • Many more!

Monitoring

  • PMC Two Two 
  • sE Rupert Neve Murno Eggs
  • Old beaten up M Audio BX5s for reference

Process

Helped by our acoustically treated studio, we will use a variety of techniques and tools during the process which may include…

  • Corrective EQ, dynamic/linear EQ, and tackling problematic frequencies
  • Noise reduction/restoration and click removal (if needed)
  • Stereo image correction and M/S (mid/side) adjustment
  • Harmonic enhancement/excitement
  • Tonal balance and final EQ curve check
  • Dynamic control/enhancement
  • Output optimization
  • Audio compression (MP3, WMA, FLAC if requested)

Once we have finished working on your material we will send a sample of the master for approval. Payment is accepted via Paypal (easiest and fastest) or bank transfer. Upon the payment clearing your master will be sent to you as wav 44.1 kHz 16 bit unless otherwise instructed. We are always happy to do a revision if you feel you want something changing.

Our typical turn around varies from 2 – 5 days depending on the project length and current workload.

Preparing your tracks for mastering

Formats
Ensure you send your mix at the same sample and bit rate your project was mixed in. 24/32bit is preffered and we accept sample rates from 44.1khz to 192khz. WAV & AIFF files are accepted. Please do not send MP3s.

Levels & Gain Structure
Gain structure is crucial to a good sounding mix and the same is true for mastering. While there is no right or wrong way, there is a tendancy with a lot of digitally recorded music to have all the levels at 11.This is only really benificial in the analogue realm when recording to tape for example but in the digital realm it is not necessary.

While it isn’t essential, try to ensure your mixes don’t peak above -3dbFS (-6dbFS is even better). This ensures we have ample headroom to maneuver and make necessary adjustments.

Please also make sure all EQs, compressors, limiters or any other plugins are disabled from the master buss on your mix. Unless there is something crucial on it (in which case let us know).