Abbey Road's Tips for Preparing a Mix for Mastering

3rd June 2019
If you're looking to release a record that you've produced at home, it's a good idea to have the product professionally mastered, but it's not always obvious if a mix is adequately finished. Abbey Road mastering engineers Frank Arkwright, Geoff Pesche and Alex Gordon, guide you through how to prepare your songs for mastering and what they can do for you.

Watch the full video below.
 
 

Preparing a Mix for Mastering Recap

Levels, Limiting & Compression

Leave at least 2 to 3 dB of headroom on the rendered file. You can mix with buss compression if you wish to hear its effects, but leave the final compression off when rendering. Distortion in the source file cannot be fixed.

Sibilance

Over-sibilance can be a problem with most recorded vocal tracks. Sibilance is the common name for some of the harsh 's' sounds in the human voice. As Abbey Road's Alex Gordon reveals: "Around 3kHz to 8kHz is normally the problematic area." If not dealt with correctly, these sounds will cut through a mix in a noticeable way and will be even more recognisable when sent to mastering.

Dont over-analyse

Make it the best you can sonically and then let it go. If you over-analyse waveforms and meters it can detract attention away from how it actually sounds. As mastering engineer Geoff Pesche explains: "This isn't about looking, this is about listening."

Preparing the files

Giving the engineers enough headroom and enough space in the music to work with is paramount. 2 to 3 dB of headroom, take off mix buss compression and any digital limiting. If your multi-track session was a 24-bit / 48 kHz or higher WAV, render your mix file in the same format and label it as such.

Find out more about our online mastering service from £90: abbeyroad.com/online-mastering