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

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Preparing For Your Session

I. Preparing for Your Session

1. Booking Your Session
Once you're at the stage of mixing your music, you should call to book a mastering date. Usually, M Works books several weeks in advance. Though we do have immediate openings from time to time, it's a good idea to allow yourself as much time as possible so that you don't find yourself in a last-minute panic.

2. Background Information
When you call to book a session, be prepared to answer the following questions:

    1. How long is the program (how many songs, minutes, etc.)?
    2. What format will you be bringing/sending in (DAT, CDR, Analog1/2" or 1/4", AIFF, SDII)?
    3. What brand of machine was it recorded on?
    4. What is the final sequence?
    5. Will anyone be attending the session?
    6. If session is unattended, who will be giving final approval?

3. Reserving Time
When booking a session, you will be required to provide a P.O. or a deposit
to block-out studio time. Deposits are non-refundable on cancellations that
occur in less than a week's notice.

4. Getting Materials Ahead Of Time
You will also be asked if the materials can arrive prior to your session date. This will enable us to load your material in advance to enable maximum time efficiency on your mastering day.

II. Day of Session

All mastering sessions are not created equal; they vary depending upon each client's needs. Here's a rough outline of a typical mastering session.

1. Arrival
Sessions begin at 10:00 am unless otherwise specified. Please arrive on time.

2. Load In
Your music will be loaded into the computer (we use Sonic Solutions) if it was not sent ahead of time. During this time you will get to know your engineer and discuss ideas, goals and techniques.

3. EQ
Depending upon the length of material and number of songs, 2-5 hours will be spent EQ'ing which, some will say, is really the fine art of mastering!

4. Editing
During editing, space between songs, endings, sequencing, IDs and ISRC codes will be applied.This usually takes somewhere between a half-hour and an hour.

5. Roll Master
The final master is then created (in real time) in either of the following formats: PMCD, wav files or ddpi fileset. Please check with the record label or duplication facility as to which formats they take as well as how many masters and/or Reference CDs we'll be asked to provide.

* Please note: If session is unattended, let us know who will be giving final approval and where final master should be shipped to.

6. Optional QC
An optional service that M Works offers is QC'ing (Quality Check) your master to insure that you have a product that is 100% guaranteed by us. For this reason, we cannot use outside materials for masters since we cannot guarantee the quality or dependabilty of such products.

When you leave M Works with your master and/or reference in hand, it's strongly advised that you give it a good listen in a clean, reliable system to make sure everything sounds correct to you. If there are changes you'd like to make or if something seems wrong, please contact us immediately.