New Book about Audio...


Audio Mastering: Essential Pracitces by Jonathan Wyner is now available through Hal Leonard, Amazon and all the usual places.

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Q. Should I bring the project in already in sequence?
A. If you are mixing in a workstation environment and it is easy to re-order the songs then by all means. While it certainly is convenient to have the material in sequence it usually does not save much time in the mastering studio given the speed and ease of editing and sequencing. If you do mix to a digital workstation or other devices such as an Alesis Masterlink great care should be taken to avoid any gain changing including 'normalizing' or other filtering of the programme going from the computer to the output media

Q. Should I do the fades at the end of pieces and clean up the beginnings before coming in to master?
A. Almost never. If there is a tricky fade that you want to do at a beginning or end then feel free, but in general you should leave the trimming and fading for the mastering session.  

Q. Sampling rate should I use to bring my mixes in?
A. This is a tricky question. Usually the higher the sampling rate, the better the sound will be. There are instances where 44.1 will sound at least as good as 48. If possible, recording your mixes at 88.2 or 96 will yield better results.  

Q. What bit resolution (aka bit depth) should I use to bring my mixes in?
A. If possible always mix to a 24-bit medium.  

Q. What is the best format to bring my mixes in to mastering?
A. Always bring the master, first generation mixes when possible. 24-bit aiff or wav files, or analog tape are best and preferred over 16-bit 'red-book' CD. We accept interleaved or split mono files.  

Q. Should I 'normalize' the tracks before coming in?
A. NO, NO and NO. This will only have a negative effect on the fidelity of the project and will not help us in mastering in ANY way.  

Q. Can I make an enhanced CD master at M Works?
A. Yes. You need to make sure you bring in ALL the elements you wish to use on the disc, including CD-ROM and video files, and verify that they will work on a wide variety of machines before coming in. You should call in advance to discuss file formats and your 'bit-budget' to be certain that you will be able to fit everything on the disc.  

Q. Is analog better than digital?
A. It's kind of like saying, do you like ketchup or mustard on your hot dog (or both!). They each have strengths and weaknesses and depending on where you end up, we can handle both. To find out more, Click Here to read our article, Analog vs. Digital: Battle of the Two Formats.  

Q. What if the mastering engineer doesn't like my music?
A. We consider our job a that of a picture framer, we need to choose the right frame for your picture. It is our job to assist you by enhancing your project and fostering the communication from you to your audience. Having said that, we always admire the dedication, inspiration, and craft of artists from all corners of the musical universe!  

Q. What are ISRC codes and do I need them?
A. Go here for a comprehensive answer.  We can provide them

Q. What are your specs for on disc printing?
A. M-WORKS CD PRINTING SPECS: M-Works can print in black on silver CDs using .tiff files. Here are the specs: DPI: The M-Works CD printer will support up to 300 dpi printing. They recommend using 300 dpi, even though as low as 72 dpi might be usable, especially if the type is large or if you actually want a pixilated effect. How to know whether you can "get away" with a lower dpi? Print out a copy of the tiff at 100% and look at it yourself. What you see is what you'll get on the CD face FILE FORMAT: tiff OTHER SPECS: center the CD on the "canvas". COLOR: M-Works processing only support black-and-white.

Files over 2mg:  If the tiff is very large (i.e. more than 1 or 2 mg) you can upload it to the M-Works FTP site or burn it onto a CD and provide that CD to M-Works.  FTP : For M-Works' current ftp URL, username and password, call (617) 577-0089. 
Files 2 mgs or under:  Email: If the tiff is 2mg or less, you can email it as an attachment to In the subject header, include "Attn: Studio Mngr / CD Replication Artwork." In the body of the email include your name, the name of the project and any other details or questions.