What format should I submit my tracks in?
I can work with almost any format and sample rate out there. Having said that, there are certain best practices that may help us avoid unnecessary conversion steps and yield better results. A 24-bit (or 32-bit-float) bit-depth, and the samplerate you wish your final master should be delivered at, are ideal (eg. 44.1k, or 48k for music-for-picture respectively). It may be best to refrain from upsampling your final mix as there is no extra fidelity to be gained. Likewise, any aggressive limiting is best avoided or bypassed. However, I can fully understand the motivation behind leaving master bus compression on if you deem it an important factor contributing to the overall sound. I don't subscribe to the purist imperative of erasing all master bus processing prior to sending off your tracks to me. Similarly, I understand how limiting on the master bus can contribute to the overall sound aesthetic of your track, especially when 'mixing into a limiter'; in this case, it may be best to submit both the limited version alongside a version with the limiter bypassed. Alternatively, a version with the limiter engaged, but with less gain reduction happening, could work. Perhaps most importantly, please ensure no clipping is happening. Technically, this is a non-issue for 32-bit-float bit-depths, but it is still probably a better practice to keep the peak levels below 0dBFS. Ultimately, it is a case-by-case basis scenario where the end game is working together to find ways towards making your songs sound the best they possibly can.
How quickly can I receive my mastered tracks?
Snapmastering. is an entirely human-operated venture: no automated processes are used to engineer your mastered tracks. :-) For one-offs, the standard turnaround time is 2 working days from the day following the order date. I do however understand how deadline-sensitive projects often get, so should you require a quicker delivery, please let me know in the order form, and I shall get back to you in order to work out a way to make our schedules meet.
Do you offer a free preview?
Due to the volume of work, I currently do not offer free previews.
Having said that, I very much value longer-term cooperation, which not only builds trust but also mitigates the amount of agenda. If you are a label looking to get music mastered regularly, I would be happy to provide a sample of a master, discuss budgets, turnaround times, and whatever else you may be interested in. Just drop me a line.
Can you perform vinyl mastering? How about a DDP image, ISRC codes, or 'Mastered For iTunes' versions?
Yes to all of the above. While both vinyl and CD / digital masters could (and often are) the same, some physical differences between these media affect the way the material can (and should not) be mastered, mainly having to do with RMS, de-essing and stereo-information. (In a simplified way, one could produce a louder CD master, while the wall-of-sound material would have to be substantially reduced in volume before being pressed to vinyl, so a more dynamic vinyl master will yield a louder pressing.)
As regards the DDP image or ISRC codes: If you are sending off a CD master to a pressing plant, you may probably want to go the DDP-image way as it represents a bulletproof method of ensuring the other party receives a 1:1 copy of your music. ISRC codes are important metadata used to identify your music, eg. to correctly assign royalties for broadcasted songs.
Simply get in touch with your respective inquiries.
What is stem mastering? Can you perform it, and why is there no set price for this service?
Stem mastering is a modality at the crossroads of mixing and mastering. It typically involves mastering from groups of instruments (often refered to as ‘stems’), offering the mastering engineer greater flexibility at influencing different elements of the mix. Typically these could comprise of eg. a separate kick drum track, the rest of drums, bass, vocals, synths & fx. Stem mastering is often ideal for scenarios where the producer is not entirely certain of certain instrument balance levels, possibly due to non-ideal listening environment. Because of the wide range of scenarios that could be grouped under the term stem mastering, and by extension the wide range of necessary studio time needed to complete them, I found, through experience, to assess each stem master project beforehand in order to set a fair price for both parties. Please feel free to get in touch regarding your stem mastering inquiry.