John Spence offers a unique On-Line Mastering Service.
If you want a sample of what your recordings could sound like after being professionally mastered by John Spence then you can upload one of your recordings. John will master the track and send you back a sample. If you’re happy with that result then you can go ahead with the full session. You will get a Production Master CD complete with CD text and ISRC codes (if you have them). You can also get uploaded mastered files in any format you require.
Here are some observations designed to help you get the best from the Mastering process.
Be happy with your final mix. This means the balance of all the component parts…rhythms/instruments/vocals etc and add in any effects you wish to use such as delays, reverbs or modulation.
Leave some headroom in the dynamic range to allow the mastering process to bring the content up to full digital level.
Relative volume levels across songs on an album will be set in the Production Master.
Use your normal compression on individual tracks or groups as usual.
Create a good stereo image by careful placement of the components. Panning instruments away from the centre leaves more space for vocals and solo passages
Ideally you will supply Wav files recorded at 44.1Khz, 24 bit and send them to me on a data CDR, memory stick or digital upload using Dropbox or WeTransfer or similar FTP site. I can also accept your files as 16 Bit 44.1kHz Audio on a CD, CD-R, CD-RW or DAT, 16 or 24 Bit Wav files using 44.1 to 96kHz sampling rate on a Data CDR and 16 or 24 Bit Wav Files using 44.1 to 96kHz sampling rate on USB or Compact Flash Drives. Files supplied in any other formats may incur an extra charge for transferring to a usable format for mastering. Please check with me before sending.
I use Genelec 1031A monitors for recording and mastering. I also use the JBL 2350 3 way Main studio monitoring system for increased accuracy in the extreme low and high frequencies. I can also route out to a pair af Auratones if I really want to annoy myself! I may occasionally have a listen through headphones but this isn’t too important to me…most headphones are quite flattering sonically and it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that everything’s fine.
Once I’ve had a good listen to the mixes as supplied by a client I can make judgements on how best to approach the mastering process. Sometimes I work solely in the digital environment using one or two selected programs. On other occasions I may feel the need to incorporate some analogue equipment into the equation. Working in a studio with comprehensive analogue and digital patch bays makes this vey simple and easy to achieve. I have valve and solid state outboard eq and compressors which are generally not well emulated by digital plug-ins in my opinion.
Once I’ve routed the material through the necessary outboard equipment I can monitor the signal through the main console channels and add any number of processes.When I’m happy with the results I import the signal back into the digital domain where I can assemble CD Masters or other required format….even converting to mp3 if you really want!