How do you know which mastering studio is the one for you? There are an over whelming number of audio services to choose from on the internet and it’s easy to get pulled in the wrong direction, so let’s look at how to pick the best one for you. Once you have your music mixed and ready to be handed to a mastering studio, your main goal should be looking to find the company who has the highest standard of work for a price which suits your budget. This can be a little bit tricky as almost every studio will talk the talk but are they really capable of walking the walk?
First, you should look for (or ask for) samples of their work along with testimonials from previous clients. Do they have a ‘mastering before and after’ page & plenty of positive comments from previous clients? We have made it a priority to collect testimonials from many happy clients over the years and these can be found at the client reviews section.
The next thing you should look for is whether the mastering studio offers a free demo service. This means they will master your audio (free of charge) to the same standard as if you had paid for full mastering and give you back a sample so you can gauge the quality of their work. If you’re happy, they provide the full song and you have been able to, in essence, ‘try before you buy’.
At Black Dog, we have worked in this way since - 1999. With a quick check of your project, we’re more than happy to provide you with a free demo so we can show you the quality of our service and what our engineers can do for your music. Another very important factor when looking for a mastering studio is to make sure they charge per song and not by the hour. This will ensure you aren’t left with any ‘nasty surprises’ should the engineer have to work on your music for an extended period of time.
Here at Black Dog we have always charged per song and not per hour. In fact we were the first studio to start offering a per song charge for online services back in 1999. We also offer some superb deals on mastering which can be found at our rates page.
Occasionally, due to the nature of working remotely, you may wish to change a certain aspect of your mastered material so it’s a good idea to work with a mastering studio who offer a number of free revisions should you wish to change anything. We’re happy to revise your song should you wish to do so.
Does the mastering studio have an industry standard equipped studio with a combination of hardware & software? If you search around the internet you may come across mastering studios with no pictures of their workspace or a list of only a few software plugins. One indicator of a great mastering studio is that they list a combination of high end software and hardware from everything down to the computer, to speakers, to outboard equipment & effects. All of our engineers use only the best analogue and digital equipment and we know our gear inside and out. Glance at our list of mastering or mixing equipment.
Who is your engineer? Anyone can get a website made, but does your mastering engineer work out of a bedroom in their parent’s house or have a dedicated mastering studio? It’s a great idea to ask for some pictures and find out a little bit about your engineer and their studio. We have separate mastering & mixing studios which use only the best acoustic treatment and equipment. Does the mastering studio have experience in working with all genres? Some engineers only have the opportunity to work with one genre (e.g. electronic music) and find it very hard to adapt to working with something else at the other end of the scale such as punk rock or acoustic. We have been lucky enough to work with everything from classical, to dub step and literally every sub-genre in between.
If you have a genre that isn’t even technically a genre, we can almost guarantee that we will have worked on something very similar in the past. If not, our engineers will be more than happy to take direction from you and work closely to references and notes.
Another important element your mastering studio should adhere to is your deadline. At Black Dog we work with bedroom producers all the way thru to high-end musicians and movie companies & we will always work our very best to get the job done within your timeframe - we know how important deadlines are. Security is a big part of our service here at Black Dog and all of your files are protected and backed up every step of the way and can be recalled in the future from our stored hard drives should you ever lose your project. Communication is key and our engineers are always at hand. Whether it’s by email, text, phone or Skype we get back to you as fast as humanly possible should you have any concerns whatsoever which need addressing.
So, from everything mentioned above, you should be able to see that a well experienced professional mastering studio with a great price is what you need to allow your music to shine to its full potential. Go here to sign up or log in so you can send your project. If you have any questions or wish to address something we may not have covered you can speak to an engineer directly by visiting our contact page.
Click on the "Mastered Version" button below to hear before and after the track has been mastered!