services & rates

Please find detailed descriptions of my services below along with my standard rates.

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.

Jump to a specific section using the links below, or if you'd like a quote, fill out my Project Inquiry Form to get the process started.

mastering

Mastering is the actual process of enhancing your mixes so they sound the best they possibly can.

All mastering rates include:

  • Mix Assessments
    The best masters start with the best mixes. If you are unsure about your mixes, I'm happy to give them a listen and provide feedback on potential enhancements.
  • File Transfers
    You can easily send your mixes to me by uploading them via my secure file transfer. I deliver all mastered audio the same way.
  • Session Set Up
    Before each session there is some time spent recalibrating gear, preparing source mixes for mastering and other housekeeping tasks to get everything ready to go for the session.
  • Revisions
    I'm not happy until you're happy and I will work with you on your original mixes until you are satisfied at no additional charge. While tweaks are rare, if you do want to make them, it's always free.
  • High Resolution Files
    All mastering is done at the highest resolution that makes sense. This is typically 24 bit and the same sample rate of your mixes. Any different file formats you need will be created from the high resolution masters.
  • Format Conversions
    Once masters have been approved, it's possible you'll need different file formats for various purposes. Some streaming services accept 44.1 kHz / 16 bit files - some prefer 24 bit. Audio for video is typically 48 kHz / 24 bit. I have tools for high quality conversions to any format you'll need.
  • Quality Control
    All audio that leaves the studio is quality controlled - meaning it's listened to by a human to ensure it's as intended and free of sonic anomalies. All clients are encouraged to take a careful listen as well before approving final masters.
  • Archives
    While I highly recommend making multiple copies of your mastered audio and keeping them in different places, I'll keep your audio archived for a minimum of two years.
  • Comms
    Efficient and effective communication is important to me. I am always accessible for 1 on 1 conversations with clients about mixes and masters in whatever form works best.

Unattended Mastering

Unattended mastering is billed per audio-minute, rounded (up or down) to the half-minute. There is a 3 audio-minute minimum charge.

• New Clients$17USD
• Returning Clients$15USD
• Mastering for Vinyl$6USD
   (if needed,
   details below)
• TV Tracks,$4USD
   Instrumentals,
   Radio Edits
 

For example, mastering 30 minutes of audio would be:
$17 x 30 = $510.

The same mastering charge for a returning client would be: $15 x 30 = $450.

  • TV Tracks, Instrumentals and Radio Edits are assumed to be created from their full mix counterparts and in need of the same basic mastering settings.
  • Any mix changes after mastering may incur additional charges. It will depend primarily on the sonic nature of the changes.
  • Returning client status is achieved on your next project after I've mastered 30 minutes of audio.
  • Please contact me if you are interested in Stem Mastering.

Attended Mastering

All attended mastering sessions are billed by the hour in quarter-hour increments. This also includes attended revisions.

• New Clients$225USD
• Returning Clients$200USD
 
  • A typical single takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour to complete in an attended session.
  • A typical album (40 to 60 minutes) usually takes between 5 and 7 hours to complete in an attended session depending on the material.

    Mastering for Vinyl - Details

    I always strive to create dynamic and sonically balanced tracks, so it's possible your mastered audio will work for both digital distribution and vinyl.

    However, mastering for vinyl does require special consideration in order to bring out the full warmth and sonic range of the format.

    At the end of the day, listening to records is a mechanical process, so there are many variables at play.

    If you do need separate mastering for vinyl, it's typically a variation on the settings that were used for digital distribution, so there is already a sonic starting point.

    While many of the issues noted here are addressed during the normal mastering process, some of them are also stylistic elements found in certain musical genres. They could be reasons you may need separate masters for vinyl.

    Also check out the Vinyl Production Masters section below for more information.

    • Excessive limiting and compression to achieve high levels can end up distorting on vinyl. It will ultimately have the opposite effect since the engineer will be forced to cut at a lower volume which will also increase the perceived noise floor.
    • Sudden and drastic panning, or extreme sweeps between left and right channels could be problematic.
    • Excessive low frequencies may need taming to help with groove tracking and create a cleaner cut. Low frequencies should also be all or mostly centered in the mix.
    • Excessive high frequencies may need taming since they could distort on vinyl and could possibly even damage the head on the cutting lathe.
    • Excessive sibilance, like the "ssssss" sound, can cause distortion when cutting vinyl. Sometimes the letters "t" and "z" can cause sibilance as well.

    production masters

    Once mastering is complete and all your mastered audio has been approved, it may need further preparation depending on your specific distribution targets.

    Physical and digital distribution formats are constantly evolving, so it's entirely possible you may need your masters optimized and delivered in multiple formats.

    Digital Distribution

    Almost all clients will target some form of digital distribution where fans can either download or stream their music. If this is the case for you, you're all set!

    Included in your mastering are any format and sample rate conversions you may need from your high resolution mastered audio. The only exception is Mastered for iTunes production masters.

    Most clients work with a distribution company that will take your mastered audio and then push it to many (sometimes hundreds) streaming platforms and online music stores. Many also offer royalty collection and licensing services. Some now also have their own labels.

    Streaming and Download Services:

    • Bandcamp
    • Spotify
    • Apple Music
    • Tidal
    • Google Play

    Digital Distribution Companies:

    • amuse
    • CD Baby
    • Tunecore
    • Distrokid

    Mastered for iTunes

    I am an Apple approved Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) engineer.

    For a release to be officially badged as "Mastered for iTunes", the masters delivered to iTunes must be created by an engineer on their official MFiT Provider List.

    You do not need MFiT files to release your music on iTunes - only if you want your release to have the official "Mastered for iTunes" badge.

    I follow Apple's required protocols for mastering engineers by encoding all tracks using Apple's AAC iTunes+ Codec to ensure they are free of clipping. The encoded files are then auditioned to make sure there are no audible distortions.

    Your mixes must be delivered to mastering at a minimum of 44.1 kHz / 24 bit. Mastered audio will be returned at 24 bit for delivery to iTunes who will then encode them.

    Rate:

    • $15 + $1 USD per audio-minute

    Delivery Format:

    • Individual 24 bit WAV files at the sample rate of the original mixes

    Includes:

    • Encoding all tracks using Apple's AAC iTunes+ Codec to ensure they are free of clipping
    • Quality control of encoded files to ensure no unwanted sonic artifacts or distortion
    • Upload of both high resolution 24 bit files and AAC encodes for client audition and approval
    • Delivery of final approved high resolution 24 bit files to you or your digital distributor

    Vinyl Production Masters

    Vinyl Production Masters are typically a single high resolution digital audio file for each side of the record. It's sent to your vinyl cutting house along with a track list containing detailed timing information.

    Due to physical differences between the outer and inner parts of the disc, the order of your tracks is an important consideration with vinyl.

    A great rule of thumb is to put your loudest, heaviest tracks with more frequency information at the beginning of each side, and put your less dynamic tracks with less frequency information at the end of each side.

    Also in play is how much audio can fit on a side. That can vary depending on the record size (12", 10", 7"), record speed (33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm, 78 rpm) and desired loudness.

    It's not uncommon for the vinyl release of an album to have a slightly different track order vs the digital release.

    In some cases, tracks may be edited or even left off the vinyl release to achieve a shorter playing time, or to get each side equal in length.

    With a little forward planning and some consultation with the cutting house, we can maximize the potential of your vinyl and produce the best release possible.

    Rate:

    • $30 + $1 per audio-minute USD, per record

    Delivery Format:

    • One 24 bit WAV file per side at the sample rate of the original mixes

    Includes:

    • Any discussions with you and your vinyl cutting house that may be needed
    • Sequencing each side using your high resolution tracks with your preferred order and spacing
    • Fade-ins, fade-outs and any cross-fades for each track
    • Creation of a track list with detailed timing information for the cutting house
    • Upload of high resolution files and timing sheet for client approval
    • Quality control of the final approved files before delivery to the cutting house to ensure no unwanted sonic artifacts
    • Delivery of final approved high resolution files and timing sheets to you or your vinyl cutting house

    DDPi Masters

    For clients making Compact Discs, I create a DDPi (Disc Description Protocol image) for delivery to a replication facility.

    It's the ideal format for an absolutely error-free master, creating a superior sounding CD which is also more reliable across a wide range of players.

    Tracks are sequenced in your desired order with the appropriate gaps, fades and crossfades. Any optional metadata such as ISRC codes and CD-Text information can also be added.

    This is all combined into a digital image of the Compact Disc. Also included is a track list containing detailed timing information.

    Clients can download the exact same image and listen to it with my included software player, which also allows them to burn their own reference discs.

    Rate:

    • $30 + $1 per audio-minute USD

    Delivery Format:

    • 44.1 kHz / 16 bit audio as a Digital Image

    Includes:

    • Sequencing of your tracks with your preferred order and spacing
    • Fade-ins, fade-outs and any cross-fades for each track
    • Placement of Start, Track Index and End markers (PQ Editing)
    • Addition of any optional metadata such as ISRC codes and CD-Text information
    • Creation of a track list with detailed timing information for the replicator
    • Upload of a software DDPi player with CD Reference burning capability for client review
    • Quality control of the final approved image before delivery to the replicator ensuring no unwanted sonic artifacts

    PreMaster CDs

    A PreMaster CD (PMCD) is a specially formatted, recordable Compact Disc designed to be sent to a CD pressing plant for replication.

    I do not recommend using this format for making Compact Discs, but in some cases it may be necessary.

    If your manufacturer cannot accept a DDPi, it is still possible to create a PMCD using high quality drives and CD-R media.

    The PreMaster is quality controlled by both listening to it and running a check on the physical layer of the disc. Once that's done, it shouldn't be played or handled to prevent any scratching, fingerprints or other damage.

    I can also create CD References which are burned on the same quality media, but are not quality controlled. Clients can burn CD References themselves using my software CD image player. These should only be used for listening and not as production masters.

    Making a PMCD is a little more expensive due to the extra time taken for quality control and shipping. A DDPi is highly recommended instead.

    Rate:

    • $60 + $1 per audio-minute USD
    • CD References - $10 USD each
    • Shipping costs

    Delivery Format:

    • 44.1 kHz / 16 bit audio as a CD-R

    Includes:

    • Sequencing of your tracks with your preferred order and spacing
    • Fade-ins, fade-outs and any cross-fades for each track
    • Placement of Start, Track Index and End markers (PQ Editing)
    • Addition of any optional metadata such as ISRC codes and CD-Text information
    • Burning the PreMaster CD on high quality CD-R media
    • Error check of the CD-R physical layer to ensure a quality disc
    • Creation of a track list with detailed timing information for the replicator
    • Upload of a software CD image player with CD Reference burning capability for client review
    • Quality control of the final PMCD before delivery to the replicator ensuring no unwanted sonic artifacts

    restoration

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

    The first step to restoring audio is preserving it by transferring to digital. From there, it's possible to enhance the audio in many ways.

    Restoration projects are not only music focused, but have also included forensic applications for law enforcement and private investigation.

    I have training in proper evidence handling, enhancement, analysis and interpretation from the National Center for Media Forensics.

    Restoration projects can vary greatly in scope and are quoted per project. Please get in touch to discuss your specific needs.

    Rate:

    • Quoted per project.

    Restoration can fix many things including:

    • Distortion and clipping
    • Pops, clicks and crackles
    • Continuous broadband noise like tape hiss, recorder noise and HVAC systems
    • Periodic tones like hum, RF / mobile phone interference, appliance and engine noise
    • Variable broadband noise like wind, rain, other conversations, vehicles, aircraft
    • Convolved noise like excessive reverberation

    digital audio editing

    Basic digital audio editing is included in both the mastering process and creation of production masters. Sometimes more involved editing is requested for a variety of reasons.

    In a mastering context, clients often ask for new or different versions of their mastered audio. Common requests are to create shorter and also "clean" versions of songs for radio play.

    Sometimes clients send a number of different mixes of the same song to be mastered - vocal up mix, instrumental mix, snare up mix or more. After mastering all versions, they may want to edit together sections from each to create a new version.

    In all cases, audio editing needs to be seamless and totally transparent to the listener.

    Rate:

    • $60 USD per hour
    • Billed in quarter-hour increments

    Other digital audio editing applications:

    • Editing down raw recordings for audio books or podcasts
    • Redaction to remove sensitive information for legal or regulatory purposes
    • Editing audio to fit timed radio or video broadcasts