Faqs

General Questions

Can I get different alternate tracks besides performance, instrumental, radio etc.?
Yes, you can exchange any alternate mix for another one of your choosing. If you have specific mixes that you need then just let us know. As long as we can run the mix through with the same mastering settings that were used on the original master then there is no extra charge if it is included in your package. If not included in your package then it is only a $5 charge.
Can I get a different format besides .Mp3?
Yes, you can get .wma, .m4u (Itunes), .aif etc.
How long will you keep my project archived?
Projects are kept on file in the studio indefinitely. Files on the server are deleted after 14 days.
Can I send in my project in parts?
Yes, we always reference your previous work (unless you specify otherwise) while working on each individual song. Even if you send in 1 song over the course of 5 years the album will sound consistent.
What types of payment do you accept?
Black Dog Mastering Studio accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Western Union, PayPal, Chase Quick Pay, Google Checkout, Check, Money Order and Bank Transfers.
What is CD-text?
CD-Text enables the display of artist, track, and release information on CD players. Red Book CDs have the ability to embed CD-Text information into your master. CD-Text and ISRC Codes are not the same as the ID3 Tag files that are used with .Mp3 files. CD-Text can only be added to a physical CD.
Can I get Mp3s of my music?
Yes, we offer Mp3s as well as any other format that you would like. This option is a $5 charge.
What do I need to send in for files that need pitch correction?
For pitch Correction – the key is not required, but highly recommended if known. It will make things easier on the engineer and help the project go a little quicker. Please be sure to remove any effects on your tracks before sending in for pitch correction. The audio needs to be pitch corrected before any other effects are applied.

Mixing Questions:

What do I need to tell my mixing engineer to send to Black Dog?

It is very important to let your mixing engineer know that once they are finished you are going to have your music mastered professionally. It is common for mixing engineers to add a limiter to the master bus (main stereo buss that all the individual tracks feed into) for you to preview and approve the final mix. This does allow you to hear the mix at a volume that you are accustomed to to hearing, but it absolutely kills the headroom that is necessary for the mastering engineer to do their job.

Once you approve the final mix you need to request another final mix to send to your mastering engineer that contains no limiters and no plugins on the master bus. This final mix for mastering should also be exported in uncompressed .wav or .aif format and at the same bit and sample rate that your mixing project was recorded in.

The image below shows two different songs. You can clearly see which version is pushed to hard with a limiter and has very little to no headroom for the mastering engineer to work with. For the best results from your music your mixes should have plenty of headroom and NOT look like the versions below with a RED X through them.

Can I send in Mp3s or other compressed formats of my mix for mixing?
We prefer that you do not send in compressed files for mixing or mastering. We can work with these files if it is a last option and you do not have access to the original .wav or .aif files. Converting Mp3 files back to .wav or .aif files will not provide a better quality file. Once the file is converted to a compressed format it loses quality that can never be regained.
How should I prepare my project files when sending in for Mixing?
Please make a note about any tracks that you have already processed, or tracks in your mix that you do not want any processing done too. Please do not send multiple takes send us only the takes that you want to use. Determining bad takes or the best take is considered production. Send clean files without background noise, hiss, coughing, breathing or popping. Removing these problems are considered editing and not part of our mixing services. We can remove background noises and most other problems for an extra fee. Be sure that track names make sense. Name the lead vocal, Lead Vocal don call the lead vocal track aBilly, or track-07.
What media formats do you accept for Mixing?
We prefer .wav or .aif formats for mixing and mastering projects. We also accept Pro Tools and Cubase/Nuendo files, OMF Files and Individual .wav or .aif files.
Can I send my Pro Tools project file in for Mixing?
Can I send my Cubase/Nuendo file in for Mixing?
What other formats can I send in?
OMF files can be created in most professional audio software from the file menu. It is usually an export function on the file menu. Indv files must be all the same length (consolidated). This is so all tracks line up in our system. All files need to be the same format, in sync and at the same bit and sample rate. All effect should be eliminated unless you are sure you want it in your track. Once an effect is wet in the mix there is no way get rid of the effect. It is common to leave in some Special effects such as delay, phasers, amp modeling, etc.
What does mixing include?
Mixing Includes: Reverb, delay, compression, eq, panning, leveling and automation. If you need special effects that are not covered in this list there could be extra charges. To avoid extra charges leave your effect on and send it to us wet. For example, if you have a phaser effect on a vocal track you want to keep; just turn off all the other effects and leave the phaser on when you send the file. If you have any special effects that are not covered in the list, please let us know before-hand so we can discuss and accurately get what you are looking for.
Can I make revisions to my mixes/final masters?
You are allotted 2 revisions after we mix your project. Please take the time to listen carefully and write down all revisions before sending back to us. Be clear and concise about your revisions. Slight volume increase may mean 2db to you and 1db to us. So it is better to say bring up 2db or down 3db rather than up a little or down a lot. If possible please send reference material in your genre. A reference can be a national artist in your genre, or it can be a mix/master of your song with explanation of what you like and don’t like about your mix/master. You can upload reference material here: Click Here

Mastering Questions:

Why does my audio need Mastering?
Mastering is the final step before Duplication or Radio Play. It is important to ensure that your music will be competitive and consistent throughout the entire album. It is also important to get a new prospective on your project.
Do you have samples to compare before and after mastering?
http://blackdogmastering.com/Mastering_Samples.html
Can I send in Mp3s or other compressed formats of my mix for mastering?
We prefer that you do not send in compressed files for mixing or mastering. We can work with these files if it is a last option and you do not have access to the original .wav or .aif files. Converting Mp3 files back to .wav or .aif files will not provide a better quality file. Once the file is converted to a compressed format it loses quality that can never be regained.
What media formats do you accept for Mastering and/or Mixing?
We prefer .wav or .aif formats for mixing and mastering projects. We do accept other formats such as .Mp3, but only if that is your only option.
How do I prepare my audio tracks for Mastering?
For Mastering projects we need the stereo file of your mix for each song. Be sure the Master bus does not contain a limiter and your audio does not peak above 0db. For the best possible results your audio files should be in .WAV or .AIF file format and exported directly from your mix, not converted to a .WAV or .AIF file from MP3 or another compressed file format. Most engineers would suggest that you mix your tracks to a -3db output if they are going to be professionally mastered. This allows headroom and preserves the dynamic range of your music. Without a dynamic range the final track will sound thin and weak.
Can Mastering fix musical mistakes or remove distortion?
We do have the ability to fix Mixing mistakes such as level adjustment and eq, but it is recommended to fix these problems during Mixing if at all possible. We offer mixing services as well if you need a professional Mixing engineer. Distortion cannot be fixed during Mastering or Mixing.
What is your turnaround time?
Our turnaround time is usually in the range of 3 to 10 days. It varies depending on when we receive your project. We can almost always meet deadlines.
Should I put a compressor or limiter on the Master output/Master bus?
Do not use any effects on the Master bus. You can however use the necessary effects on the individual tracks while mixing.
Should I normalize the stereo track before sending to be Mastered?
No, you should never normalize your files before mastering.
Can I have a single song Mastered?
Yes, we have no limit on the number of songs for mixing or mastering projects.
Can I add more stems than just 3 to Stem Mastering?
Yes, any extra stems over 3 for mastering is a $5 charge per stem.
Do I need to fill out the form and questions on the uploader pages?
No, it is not required. However, it is very important that you are as thorough as possible when filling out the forms to upload your project to us. We use all this information to build direction for your project. The more details you can give us the less we have to guess what you need. More details will result in better, and more accurate results.
Can I make revisions to my masters?
Yes, we are more than happy to make revisions to the mastering until you are happy with the results as long as it is within reason. We also offer you the opportunity to make revisions to your mixes and resend for mastering. Either way we want you to be happy with your final masters and do not mind working with you.
Do you offer a Red Book Final CD to be mailed to me?
Yes, we offer Red Book Final CD for a $15 charge. http://blackdogmastering.com/Rates.htm
Do you offer DDP Files instead of a Final Red Book CD?
Yes, we offer DDP files for a $15 charge. http://blackdogmastering.com/Rates.htm
What do I do if I am having problems uploading files using your mixing/mastering uploader?
Be sure that your computer is not set to sleep or disconnect from the internet in any way. This is sometimes overlooked when uploading large files and worth mentioning. If you have large files that are not uploading correctly try breaking the upload into smaller sizes. Upload half of the files, and then upload the other half.
Do I have to use the Mixing/Mastering Uploaders on your site?
We highly recommend you use our uploading links on the site. If you use another method of uploading please use http://wetransfer.com. Also be sure to use the email address that we have on file for you when using WeTransfer.com.
Do I have to send fades and/or spacing between songs to Black Dog?
No. We offer this option if you want us to add fades and/or spacing, but it is not required for mastering.
How do I prepare my alternate mixes (performance, Instrumental, Radio etc. for the mastering engineer?
Alt versions need to be the exact same mix as your original mix. If it is louder/lower in volume or a different mix that needs to be re-mastered additional charges will apply.
Can I send a reference track of a band/artist that I like in my genre?
Absolutely, we prefer that you send us a reference song. Especially if it is your first time working with us. Please use our reference uploader to send reference files. http://blackdogmastering.com/cgi-bin/Direct_Uploader.cgi
Can I send a reference track of a rough mix that I have?
Absolutely, we prefer that you send us a reference song. Especially if it is your first time working with us. Please use our reference uploader to send reference files. http://blackdogmastering.com/cgi-bin/Direct_Uploader.cgi
How do I send in my ISRC Codes?
Submit your CD text and/or ISRC codes here: http://blackdogmastering.com/other-services/cd-and-ddp-files/request-cd-ddp-form/ (you must login first). We require you use this form so we can accurately get all your information. On this page you also have the option to attach your own file containing your CD text and/or ISRC Information.
How do I send in my CD Text?
Submit your CD text and/or ISRC codes here: http://blackdogmastering.com/other-services/cd-and-ddp-files/request-cd-ddp-form/ (you must login first). We require you use this form so we can accurately get all your information. On this page you also have the option to attach your own file containing your CD text and/or ISRC Information.
How can I credit Black Dog Mastering Studio on my album?
We always appreciate credit on your album, as well as a copy of the final album if you have them replicated, or duplicated. We prefer credit to the studio to be in the following format: “Mastered at Black Dog Mastering Studio, LLC” or “Mixed and Mastered at Black Dog Mastering Studio, LLC”. You may also use our logo if you prefer. Here is a link to download a zip file with our logo and logo with no background. http://blackdogmastering.com/logodownload/BlackDogLogos.zip
How long does my audio stay in my Audio Files folder on the server?
You have 14 days to download your final masters from your Audio Files Folder once your project is completed. http://blackdogmastering.com/clientupload.php?action=listfiles After 14 days files will be deleted from the server. We will always keep backup files at the studio.