STEREO MASTERING FAQ

Online mastering is a process that allows you the client, to experience high quality professional mastering from the comfort of your own studio. We take your stereo mix and transform it into a beautiful piece of music that will translate well across all listening devices and streaming platforms. With the aid of knowledge and the industries best analogue mastering equipment we are able to achieve a master that is sonically superior to anything you will have heard before. Catering for musicians and producers from every corner of the globe. No matter where you live, online mastering has never been easier to outsource to a professional engineer.

Whilst both mastering studios will produce an exceptional master. Studio A is thought of as our primary stereo mastering studio and Studio B is thought of as our primary mixing and mastering (Dolby Atmos) studio. We recommend selecting the studio based on your experience working with the mastering engineer. If you are new to working with the engineers we recommend selecting Studio A (Nick Burchall).

Studio A (Nick Burchall) is the Audio Animals primary mastering studio and is the studio we always recommend selecting. This studio has one of the world’s best mastering chains installed, costing upwards of £130,000. A truly unique mastering chain with some highly sought after mastering equipment.

Studio B (Paul Ashmore) is the Audio Animals primary mixing and mastering / Dolby Atmos studio. This state of the art studio has a 9.1.4 Dolby Atmos PMC system installed. The 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.

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 (returned next working day)
  • 2-5 Working Days (returned within 2-5 working days)
  • 5+ Working Days (returned after 5 working days)

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.

Stem mastering is the process of summing up to 25 stems together and mastering the summed stems across the master bus. The benefit of working in this way is that the engineer has control over each individual stem that is summing to the master bus. Resulting in being able to process and balance each individual stem correctly to get the very best from the song.

The main benefit of stem mastering is that the engineer has full control over each stem when mastering. For instance if the vocals are too loud we are able to decrease the volume without affecting any other stem. As well if the bass is too quiet, instead of using EQ to bring the bass volume up, which in tern brings up the frequency of other sounds in the frequency range, we are able to use gain to increase the bass stem independently of all other sounds in that frequency range.

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.

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.

By adding + Apple Digital Master to your order, you will receive back both the stereo master as well as the Apple Digital Master. This master can then be released on Apple Music as an official Apple Digital Master that is optimised specifically for Apple Music. All Apple Digital Masters are rendered at 96k giving them Hi Res Apple Digital Master badge on Apple Music.

By adding + Vinyl Master to your order, you will receive back an additional version of your master optimised ready to be pressed to vinyl. This master will be ready to send to your cutting house of choice. It is very important that a master optimised to be pressed to vinyl is used and not a master that is designed for digital distribution.

By adding + Additional Stereo Master to your order, you will receive back all additional mixes 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)

By adding + Stereo Mastered Stems to your order, you will receive back all stems provided mastered through the exact same mastering chain as the stereo mix. Mastered stems can be used for film and TV licensing as well as remix purposes and further production.

+ 60 Minute Duration Master is a service designed for clients who require to have their live show, DJ mix, theatre show or concert mastered. By adding this service you can send up to an hour long stereo mix to be mastered instead of the standard up to 15 minute song 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.

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 £10. This small charge covers the engineers time to recall the mastering chain and re-record the updated master.

It is advised to remove all plugins from your master bus that effect dynamic range. This includes plugins such as compression or limiting. It is best to remove all plugins but we understand that some clients want to leave EQ or saturation active as it is part of their sound. The reason we suggest removing master bus processing is so that we have a mix that has full dynamic range and we are able to compress and limit at the correct stage of the mastering chain.

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

If work has already begun on your song and you need to replace the mix for a new one. 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 £10 for a master re-run 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 mix is correct and the file you are sending is the mix you intend to be mastered.

Mastering is one of the most important parts of the engineering process of a song. Mastering can make or break a song. Too many artists fall at the final hurdle with poor quality mastering using either digital plugins or guesswork using AI mastering. A professional mastering engineer will ensure your music plays back correctly across all devices. Nothing comes close to a skilled engineer in a 100% accurate room using high quality analogue mastering equipment.

Your mix can be uploaded safely and securely via our upload form in your account here. Bypass any compression / limiting you may have on your master bus before printing your mix ready for mastering.

  • File Type: Wav
  • Bitrate: 16/24/32bit
  • Sample Rate: 44,1kHz – 96kHz
  • Headroom: -3db / -6db

It is not ideal but yes we can work with a limited or clipped mix. The approach to mastering a limited mix is similar but requires a very precise approach in order to ensure the song is not over compressed or distorted.

If a mp3 is the highest quality file you have and you are unable to obtain a high quality wav file, we will be able to work with this.

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

Yes, if you would like to credit Audio Animals for the mastering of your music you can do so. Please credit Audio Animals Ltd and either Paul Ashmore or Nick Burchall as the mastering engineer. This is not required but is greatly appreciated.