DOLBY ATMOS MASTERING FAQ

Dolby Atmos mastering is a process that takes your stereo mixed stems and positions them into a 3D space. Your song does not have to have been mixed in atmos, the beauty of Dolby Atmos mastering is the ability to transform a stereo mix into an immersive masterpiece. Dolby Atmos mastering is an advanced audio technology and production process that revolutionises the way sound is created, mixed, and experienced in various media formats such as movies, music, and games. Unlike traditional audio setups that use channels, Dolby Atmos introduces an object-based approach to sound design and playback.

What Studio Should I Select – Studio A or Studio B?

Whilst both Dolby Atmos mastering studios will produce an exceptional master. Studio B is thought of as our primary Dolby Atmos studio that is equipped with a state of the art Dolby Atmos 9.1.4 PMC System. One of the best sounding Dolby Atmos rooms the music industry has to offer.

Nick Burchall is the mastering engineer for Studio A which is equipped with a 7.1.4 Ex Machina Dolby Atmos system. This studio has one of the world’s best stereo mastering chains installed, costing upwards of £130,000. A truly unique mastering chain with some highly sought after mastering equipment.

Paul Ashmore is the mastering engineer for Studio B which is equipped with a PMC Ci Series 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos system. The stereo mastering chain installed in Studio B costs upwards of £70,000 and has been carefully selected to gain the best possible results from each unit in the chain.

What Is The Turnaround?

All orders will be turned around within the time frame selected when placing your order. Turnaround time is based on days the selected engineer works between Monday to Friday. If you have a specific day you need your master back for, please let us know when placing your order.

  • 1 Working Day (mix 1 returned next working day)
  • 2-5 Working Days (mix 1 returned within 2-5 working days)
  • 5+ Working Days (returned after 5 working days)
What Is Dolby Atmos Mastering?

Dolby Atmos mastering is a process that allows us to take your songs mixed stems and transform it into a Dolby Atmos master. Working in our Dolby Atmos mastering studios we are able to position and pan your song in a 3D space. Creating a fully immersive and spatial master that can then be released on streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Amazon and Tidal. The difference this service makes is outstanding and quite honestly takes your music to an unimaginable level.

What Is Stereo Mastering?

Mastering is an essential process that finalises your song ready for distribution. Processing is applied to the master bus in order to achieve a sound that is glued together and sounding the best it possibly can. Processing includes EQ, compression, limiting, saturation, stereo widening, de-essing and other processing. Mastering in the hands of a professional engineer will achieve a wider, more detailed and controlled sound. Mastering ensures playback of your song is correct across all devices.

Can You Dolby Atmos Master A Stereo Mix Or Do I need Stems?

We can perform a Dolby Atmos master from a stereo mix that is certified as a Dolby Atmos master. However the results will be far better if we use your mixed stems. A more immersive and true to life sound can be created. A stereo mix limits us to using unique techniques to up-mix the stereo file into Dolby Atmos.

Can You Master My Dolby Atmos ADM Mix?

Yes, a Dolby Atmos mix can be delivered as an ADM File for mastering. We will then take your ADM mix and perform the mastering to the strict guidelines in place for Dolby Atmos delivery.

Can You Turn My Mixed Song Stems Into A Dolby Atmos Master?

Yes, this is a very common practice of Dolby Atmos mastering. We can take your stereo mixed stems and position them into a 3D space. Creating a fully immersive and inspiring Dolby Atmos master. It doesn’t matter if your song is already released in stereo. You can submit your songs mixed stems and stereo master to be matched and delivered back to you ready to release as a Dolby Atmos ADM on streaming platforms.

Does My Song Have To Be Mixed In Dolby Atmos To Be Mastered In Dolby Atmos?

No, your song can be mixed in stereo and then positioned in Dolby Atmos. Your mix balance and processing is kept the same but with the added benefit of positioning each stem into a 3D space in Dolby Atmos.

What Are The Benefits Of Releasing A Dolby Atmos ADM Master?

There are a few major benefits of releasing a Dolby Atmos master.

  • Superior Sound when compared to a standard stereo master. A Dolby Atmos master can achieve a sound that has more space, depth and is overall more true to life and pleasing to the ear.
  • More Royalties from streaming platforms. You will earn a better percentage of royalties from streaming platforms when release a Dolby Atmos master.
  • Online Algorithms will favour songs that are released in Dolby Atmos as well as stereo, especially Apple Music that say that the preferred format is Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio.
  • Future Proofed with Dolby Atmos. Dolby Atmos is going to eventually replace stereo on all streaming platforms. By releasing your music now in Dolby Atmos ensures you are future proofed and ready for the inevitable switch.
  • Better Chance Of Being Playlisted. By releasing a Dolby Atmos master you will have a far better chance of being playlisted on certain platforms. Being playlisted can make or break a release.
What Is The Difference Between Apple Spatial And Dolby Atmos?

There is technically no difference. Apple Spatial is what Apple call it and Dolby Atmos is what everyone else calls it. Apple spatial is played back through Apple’s own codec. All other streaming platforms playback using the Dolby Atmos codec.

What Is An Additional Dolby Atoms Master?

By adding + Additional Dolby Atmos Master to your order, you will receive back any of the following mixes mastered in Dolby Atmos.

  • Instrumental
  • Radio Edit (additional stems must be supplied)
  • Extended Edit (additional stems must be supplied)
What Is An Additional Stereo Master?

By adding + Additional Stereo Master to your order, you will receive back all additional mixes provided mastered through the same mastering chain as the original mix.

  • Instrumental
  • Acapella (vocal bus only)
  • Performance Mix (version with lead vocal removed)
  • Radio Edit (additional stems must be supplied)
  • Extended Edit (additional stems must be supplied)
When Do I Pay For Mastering?

Orders / payment must be made before work on your song begins. This ensures our engineers, take the necessary time and care required to return you the very best master.

How Many Revisions Can I Make?

Dolby Atmos Mastering includes 2 revisions. Mastering revisions give you the peace of mind that the end result is going to be exactly as you want it. On the rare occasion you exceed 2 revisions, you can always purchase more via our revisions and re-runs page.

If you need to change the mix in any way after mastering there is a master re-run fee of £20. This small charge covers the engineers time to reprint the Dolby Atmos master.

What If I Have Accidentally Sent The Wrong Stems For Mastering?

If work has not yet begun on your song, you can simply get in touch with us and replace the files.

If work has already begun on your song and you need to replace the stems. Two outcomes will occur.

If the mix is technically the same song and same mix but there is a change resulting in the song needing to be re-run. There is a small charge of £20 to cover the time the engineer must take to re-run your song.

If the mix is completely different or a different song altogether, a new order for mastering will need to be placed. The reason for this is because mastering will need to be started from scratch and the previous master scrapped.

Before sending your song always make sure that the stems play back correctly and the files you are sending is the mix you intend to be mastered.

How Should I Send Stems For Dolby Atmos Mastering?

Your stems can be uploaded safely and securely via our upload form in your account here. Bypass all processing you may have on your master bus. For Dolby Atmos mastering it is very important that the stems playback 100% identical to the finished stereo mix. Please bear in mind that no mixing or volume adjustments are made to each individual stem. All sound design processing must be left active on each stem. Do not normalize stems or change their volume. Playback of your stems should be exactly as your finished stereo mix plays back. We recommend loading your stems into a new DAW session and referencing against your finished stereo mix to ensure playback of your stems is correct.

  • File Type: Wav
  • Bitrate: 16/24/32bit
  • Sample Rate: 44,1kHz – 96kHz
  • Headroom: -3db / -6db
Should I Send My Finished Stereo Mix Or Master?

If you are only ordering Dolby Atmos mastering you will need to supply your stereo master. It is important that we sync the timeline of the Dolby Atmos master to the stereo master. This ensures playback on streaming platforms can switch between stereo and Dolby Atmos seamlessly.

How Do I Distribute A Dolby Atmos ADM?

The Dolby Atmos ADM and stereo master can be given to your desired distributor to release on platforms such as Apple Music, Tidal and Amazon Music. The Dolby Atmos and stereo masters sit alongside each other and depending on which format the listener has their device set to will determine which version they will hear. It is highly important that the Dolby Atmos and stereo versions perfectly sync with each other. If they do not sync perfectly your masters will be rejected.

Do I Need Both A Stereo And Dolby Atmos Master?

Yes, if you are distributing Dolby Atmos you will also need to distribute a stereo master. The two files play alongside each other and need to play in sync with each other too. The reason for this is that on streaming platforms you will be able to switch between the two formats on the fly and by doing so switches from stereo to Dolby Atmos instantly. If in sync your files simply switch from one to the other seamlessly.

What Happens If I Accidentally Send The Wrong Stems?

Get in contact with us via email and we can simply replace the files. Please be sure to get in contact with us ASAP to ensure we have the correct files to work with before work commences. If work has already started on your Dolby Atmos mastering and the entire song requires new stems, charges will apply.

What Genres Of Music Can You Work With In Dolby Atmos?

A good Dolby Atmos engineer will be able to work with all genres of music not just one. At Audio Animals we pride ourselves on the fact that we work with all genres of music from every corner of the globe. Being an online Dolby Atmos mixing and mastering studio working worldwide there is not a genre of music we have not worked with.

All music works well mastered in Dolby Atmos. Some better than others. The more stems you are able to provide the more immersive and spacious your Dolby Atmos master will sound.

What Will I Receive Back?

Stereo masters are returned in the following formats, if you require any others, please let us know: 

  • 96kHz 24bit wav
  • 48kHz 24bit wav
  • 44.kHz 24bit wav
  • 44.1kHz 16bit wav

Dolby Atmos masters are returned in the following formats:

  • 48kHz 24bit wav ADM
  • 96kHz 24bit wav ADM
  • 96kHz 24bit wav binaural mix
  • 96kHz 24bit wav re-renders
  • 768kbs mp4
Should I Leave My Plugins Active?

Yes for Dolby Atmos mastering all plugins must be left active. The playback of stems should be identical to the finished stereo mix and include all plugins and automation. We recommend loading your stems into a new DAW session and referencing against your finished stereo mix to ensure playback of your stems is correct.

Should I Leave Panning Active?

For Dolby Atmos mastering all panning must be active and playback of your stems must playback identically to the finished stereo mix. We recommend loading your stems into a new DAW session and referencing against your finished stereo mix to ensure playback of your stems is correct.

Should I Leave Automation Active?

100% yes, automation should always be active. Automation is part of your mix and if removed results in an unfinished mix. All automation including volume, modulation, EQ, reverb or delay automation must be kept active. We recommend loading your stems into a new DAW session and referencing against your finished stereo mix to ensure playback of your stems is correct.

Should I Leave Reverb Active?

For Dolby Atmos mastering reverb must be printed to the stems or delivered as a 100% wet stem. It is important that playback of the stems plays back 100% identically to the finished stereo mix.

Should I Leave Delay Active?

For Dolby Atmos mastering delay must be printed to the stems or delivered as a 100% wet stem. It is important that playback of the stems plays back 100% identically to the finished stereo mix.