Your music is your story.

I'm all ears.

Audio mastering.
For anyone. Anywhere.

Scott Elson

Welcome to elson mastering!

I'm Scott Elson - an audio mastering engineer who collaborates with artists, producers and engineers from a wide range of musical genres located in all parts of the world.

My goal is to make every client’s artistic vision a sonic reality by bringing out the absolute best in musicality and sound quality.

The result is music that not only sounds exceptional, but also deepens the connection between artist and listener.

Get in touch to find out how I can help make your next record sound the best it possibly can.

Scott is my first call for mastering. For all his technical mastery, he never loses sight of the music. I can flow seamlessly with him between technical and musical issues, and never have to explain what I mean.

He adopts the project as a contributor, with an authentic interest in helping me fulfill and exceed the expectations of my artists and clients.

Scott is a powerful ally and has become a friend I count on to check my work and make it better.

Engineer Producer Ken Hutton

Ken Hutton

Engineer, Producer

Mark Knopfler, Tim McGraw, Suzy Bogguss, Sawyer Brown

services

audio mastering

Audio mastering is the art of balancing the sonic elements of your mixes, while also bringing out the best qualities of the music. It results in records that are sonically cohesive and have optimum playback across all systems and media formats.

While a lot can be accomplished in mastering, it's always best to start with a well-balanced mix. I am always happy to do mix evaluations for clients and discuss any potential improvements that could be made before mastering begins. Just securely upload a track to get the process started.

elson mastering's vinyl collection

audio production masters

Once mastering is complete, your audio will likely need further preparation for your intended distribution formats.

Physical and digital distribution formats are constantly evolving, and each format needs a properly created, error-free production master.

Here are some common distribution formats that may need their own production masters.

Streaming Services

Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal and many other streaming platforms typically want individual 44.1 kHz / 16 bit files. There are some exceptions in certain cases for accepting higher resolution audio.

Apple Digital Masters

Formerly Mastered for iTunes, Apple will accept high resolution audio up to 192 kHz which they encode into their AAC format. These must be 24 bit files created by a mastering engineer using their specific protocols.

Artist and Social Platforms

Sites like SoundCloud and Bandcamp accept higher resolution files. They will do their own encoding to lossy file formats, but will allow artists to specify what types of files fans can download.

Vinyl

Vinyl cutting houses should accept high sample rate, 24 bit audio files. There is typically a file for each side of the record to preserve the track spacing, along with a detailed timing sheet.

Cassette

Cassettes are also making a comeback and duplicators will typically want 44.1 kHz / 16 bit files formatted for each side of the tape. Some may also accept higher resolution files.

Digital Video

Most video projects will want 48 kHz / 24 bit files and sometimes higher resolution. It's common to use instrumental or "TV" (instrumentals with background vocals) versions.

Compact Disc

The preferred format for CD production masters is a DDPi (Disc Description Protocol image). It's 44.1 kHz / 16 bit audio formatted as a digital image along with any necessary metadata.

Download Cards

These promotional / marketing cards almost always point the user to high quality mp3s they can download using a special code. You'll want to make sure all your metadata and artwork are included in each mp3.

SPL Tube Vitalizer and elysia nvelope

audio restoration

Audio restoration involves removing unwanted imperfections from recordings while keeping the desired audio intact. It could be as simple as fixing a small mouth noise, or as complex as cleaning up a deteriorating record from the 1950s.

The restoration process is delicate since the ear is usually happier with hiss, pops and clicks than it is with unnatural sonic artifacts left behind if not done properly. Part of the process is using good judgment and knowing when not to go too far.

Restoration is typically a two step process.

Transfers

Physical media will deteriorate quickly. If you've got old DATs, cassettes, vinyl or even VHS tapes, their audio can be saved and brought back to life.

The first step in restoring audio usually starts with preservation - by transferring it to a digital file. From there, it's possible to begin the repair or enhancement processes.

Repair

Once your audio has been transferred to a digital file, it's ready for repair and enhancement. Modern restoration tools can do pretty amazing things.

Common annoyances like clicks, pops, hum, crackles, distortion and hiss can all be heavily mitigated or removed. Even noises like cell phone interference and rain can be cleaned up.

Scott is incredible to work with. Super nice dude and very professional. Even though the material we presented him with was recorded in a very DIY manner, he managed to pull out albums that sound like real albums.

We had no idea what we were doing, but he spoke in a language we could understand and the results were beyond what we could have hoped for.

Producer Multi-Instrumentalist Tristian Gallagher

Tristan Gallagher

Multi-Instrumentalist, Producer

Covered in Bees, Man-Witch, Eggbot

VU Meters

why mastering

Mastering is a blend of musical intuition, psychoacoustics, technology, and seasoned ears. It can add depth, punch, clarity, warmth and volume to your music.

There are plenty of audio plugins with mastering presets available, and even automated audio mastering services leveraging artificial intelligence. While those tools may work in some cases, here are some reasons you should have your music mastered by an experienced human like me.

fresh ears

Artists, producers and mix engineers can lose their objectivity after working on records for a long time. They count on me to bring fresh ears and an unbiased opinion to the project, with a simple focus on what's best for the music.

Fresh ears also means that as a mastering engieer, I listen to a lot of music across many genres in short periods of time. That allows me to have a pulse on a wide range of music production styles and sonic treatments.

cohesive albums

It's common for artists to record albums over the course of many months, in many studios, and with many engineers. Because of this, each mix will naturally sound different.

It's my job to address the sonics and dynamics of each track individually, making sure they work in relation to each other, and within the context of an entire album. The result is a cohesive experience that engages the listener from start to finish.

the studio

Many records are now made in home or project studios that often have unreliable acoustics. This makes the importance of mastering even more critical.

My purpose-built studio provides an acoustically precise environment where accurate sonic decisions are made. My clean signal path and full range speakers produce incredible clarity, and often reveal issues clients may not yet have even heard.

prep for distribution

Mastering is the final step in the creative process and the first step in the manufacturing process. The goal is to not only create the best sounding music, but to also get it in the correct format for distribution.

Audio will often need conversion and further preparation for delivery. No matter where your music is headed, I can create the right file in the right. I also quality control everything that leaves the studio to make sure it's error free.

experience

I've spent decades in audio and most of that time mastering. During those years, I've heard a lot of music and amassed a lot of knowledge. I know how to get great sonic results and address various problems effectively.

I've become a trusted partner to many clients who often seek my advice before mastering even begins. They know I understand the intricacies of mastering and the ultimate distribution formats they are targeting.

collaboration

You get to participate every step of the way with any concerns about your mixes, what you're shooting for in mastering, sonic examples you want to reference or feedback for any revisions if needed.

Want to tweak your fade-ins and fade-outs? Maybe do a crossfade between tracks or tweak the spacing? Use the mastered version of your vocal up mix in the verses only? This human has got you covered.

I have worked with Scott on several occasions. He has an excellent ear for all genres of music and also the technicalities involved in getting the final product just right. I recommend him highly.

Engineer Producer John Ratcliff

John Ratcliff

Producer, Musician

a-ha, Joshua Jones

scott

I grew up with an appreciation for a wide range of music due to a family that was active in both performance and education. Early studies in piano eventually led me to the guitar, ongoing band memberships and an inclination to capture the music that surrounded me.

After completing BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Virgnia Tech, I went on to study both guitar and Music Production & Engineering at Berklee College of Music.

I then joined Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios as a staff engineer. My initial duties consisted of digital editing and creation of final production masters, but I was soon assisting in daily mastering sessions and eventually starting taking on mastering clients of my own.

I founded elson mastering with the goal of making high-quality mastering available to artists of every stature. With a foundation tailored to the needs of audio and music production, I bring a unique combination of technical expertise and creative feel to every record I am a part of.

Over the years, artists at every stage in their career have trusted me to put the finishing touches on their records. My commitment to always serve the music comes through in every project.

I am a member of both the Audio Engineering Society and The Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers Wing where I vote in the annual Grammy Awards.

Scott has done an excellent job mastering our songs. He understands the sonic challenges that electronic music can present, especially when integrated with more traditional instruments.

He is friendly, comfortable to work with and has authentic enthusiasm for the music. We couldn’t be more satisified.

Engineer, Producer, Multi-Instrumentalist Bill Machon

Bill Machon

Engineer, Producer, Multi-Instrumentalist

Echoes On Track

Manley Massive Passive Equalizer

contact

I realize every project is unique, so please don't hesitate to reach out. As a supporter of both the independent and local music communities, I will do my best to work with your budget.

Call, email or fill out my project inquiry form to get a quote and start the booking process.

I also have a large network of talented musicians and producers, so please give me a shout if I can help make a connection.

207.358.9146