Tom B. Cooper Mastering

Whilst you’re having a read, why not check out my portfolio below, which features a handful of songs from various styles and genres that I’ve had the pleasure of mastering, mixing and producing.

 

I’ve got a little FAQ section below this page for those of you ready (or nearly ready (or just strangely curious!)) about mastering, but I just want to spend a couple of paragraphs just talking about my experience as a mastering-engineer.

My job in mastering YOUR tracks is to get them to translate and sound as AMAZING as they possibly can across various devices, platforms and everything else in-between.

I’ve had masters from artists such as yourself all over the radio, TV, film and more all over the world.

I love mastering. Being the guy to put the cherry on top of the song and production you’ve worked so hard on is a hell of privilege and something I take great care in.

Anyway, have a read below and let me know when you’re ready for the final stage of making YOUR song sound incredible.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand some of the terminology used here, or even if you don’t know what mastering really is… there’s a contact form at the bottom, just pop me an email with any questions and I’ll answer them 🙂

 

How to prepare your tracks for mastering…

I’m often asked the best way to prepare songs for mastering. Mastering seems like a bit of a murky world and a deep dark secret, but it’s not all that difficult really. That being said, there are a few good practices that will ensure a great sounding master.

 

Can I add processing to my master bus?

Light EQ and compression is fine on the master bus. I’m talking REALLY light here. Cuts and boosts on the EQ of no more than 2db and the compressor never hitting any more than 1-2db of gain reduction. Any very deliberate stylistic mix choices on the master bus are good, but make sure that if you take all the processing off the master bus, the difference is very subtle.

What I won’t work with is something that’s been heavily compressed or limited. Just remember I’m here to ensure THE BEST out of your track on all systems and environments and if it’s being absolutely slammed on the master bus, or the dynamics are being squashed, I have very little to work with

 

How loud should my pre-master be?

The loudest section of your song shouldn’t peak ABOVE -3db or BELOW -6db (and that’s probably pushing it a bit!) THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! Giving me enough headroom to work with WILL GIVE YOU A BETTER MASTER. I’ll be using various EQ’s and compressors alongside other analogue and digital tools which boost the level of the song.

Let’s just say you send a song that’s peaking at 0db, my processing will cause the audio to peak above 0db and that results in distortion… and not the good kind! If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, use a peak meter to measure the output on your master channel. Just remember, the master fader MUST remain at 0db at all times, with the audio peaking at NO MORE THAN -3db and NO LESS THAN -6db.

Your DAW should tell you pretty clearly what level your pre-master is peaking at (again, remember to keep that master fader at 0db) but if you’re still unsure, a quick Google or YouTube (or grab me on a social media platform and ask!) and you’ll understand in no time.

 

Tom B. Cooper In The Studio

 

My song is peaking at more than -3db, should I just turn up the master fader?

NO! Put the master fader down… well, don’t touch it at all. ALWAYS keep it at 0db.

What you’ll want to do is lower or raise all your channel tracks together in your mix until the overall level is peaking at NO MORE THAN -3db and NO LESS THAN -6db.

 

What file format should I send?

44100hz or 48000 hz, 24bit or 16bit. I won’t master an mp3… ever.

 

Do I need to bounce out my pre-master with dithering?

No. Please also take off ‘normalisation.’

 

Can I make changes to the pre-master once you’ve already mastered the song?

No. You need to make 100% sure that your mix is ready for mastering. As the mastering engineer it’s my job to ensure the mix translates as best as it possibly can across all systems. It’s not my job to fix a mix or really to make any (or many) stylistic choices at all.

I’ll always send you 2 different masters using 2 different types of processing and equipment. That way you’ll have 2 good choices and it’s completely up to you which one you use.

I’ll always allow a revision too if needs be… nobody ever goes for a revision though.

 

And how much is it?

Well, usually it’s £20 per song and a discount for multiple songs sent at the same time.

 

All that sounds great. How do I get you to master my song?

Grab me on a social media (links at the bottom of the page) or email me (contact form at the bottom of the page) and we can talk about you and your song/s. Easy peazy!

 

I haven’t understood a word you said…

Well, the good news is, I have! So just grab me on a social media or email me via the contact form below and I’ll be able to answer any of your questions.