How To Prepare Your Record For Online Mastering



Prepping for online mastering doesn’t have to be time consuming or tedious. Just follow the following simple guidelines when sending us files:

  • File Types, Sample & Bit Rates – When sending uncompressed digital audio files (WAV, AIFF, etc.) please use the highest sample and bit rate from your mix session. 24 or 32 bit files are the preferred bit rates.
  • Headroom – Keep peaks to around -10dBFS on the master fader. The number is a guide, not a hard limit as it’s a vestige of mixing to analog tape. As long as there is headroom and no overs, we will be happy. Again, if it’s in the red in the master buss, you have overs and it’s too loud.

    Don’t Do This. Mix Peaking at 0.4dB on the output. There is NO headroom and there is digital distortion.


    Do This. Mix peaking at -6.2dB on the output. Perfect amount of headroom

  • Plugins – Please turn off all master buss plugins (EQ, limiting, compression, etc). That said, it’s not a hard rule. If you have compression on the master buss as an artistic choice, then by all means leave it on – however please leave off any brick wall peak limiters.
  • Label – Include a cue sheet designating complete song titles, song order, any crossfades, time between tracks and fade-ins and fade-outs (tops and tails) for each song.

What is mastering?
Mastering is the final step in the creative audio production process in which a fresh set of ears work with the record. This is the stage where the individual songs comprised by a project are processed together, forming a cohesive, sonically integrated album. Mobtown’s skilled mastering engineer, Mat Leffler-Schulman, will make all the audio adjustments necessary to ensure that your final project is reproduced consistently in any listening environment.

What is Mobtown’s philosophy?
At Mobtown, we let our client’s needs and the aural properties of the project dictate the mastering process. There is no “cure-all” or “magic pill” to make the project better at the push of a button or via a plugin. It is a precise process that differs completely from project to project. We recognize this and give each project the attention it requires. We’ve spent years training, developing our ears, applying mastering techniques and perfecting the art of uniting individual songs into a sonically integrated whole.

What is the process?
First we transfer the recorded audio tracks into the digital audio workstation. We print mixes through our vintage Otari ¼” analog tape machine and through our various analog EQs and compressors. Then it gets bounced back digitally and we sequence the individual tracks (and the space in between) as they will appear on the final record. We add any fade-ins or fade-outs. Then we process or “sweeten” the audio to maximize the sound quality, focusing on loudness, equalization, stereo width, phase, compression, and peak limit.

Mastering for vinyl and digital?
Mastering music for vinyl is a relatively different process than mastering music for a digital release. Content cut to vinyl demands a higher dynamic range and equalization processing specific to this format. If you’re distributing your music digitally and on vinyl, we offer the second set of masters at a reduced cost.

Finally, we transfer the audio to the final master format of your choice:

Digital Delivery / Internet / Online

44.1kHz 16bit audio files
Hi-Res 24bit audio files
MFiT [Mastered for iTunes] audio files (≥44.1 kHz/24 bit)
Upon request, high-quality MP3/AAC files (320kbps stereo) can be provided.

CD Duplication / Replication

DDP Image – This is the preferred method of delivery for a CD duplication/replication facility (includes all CD-Text data)
PQ Sheet – PDF of all CD-Text, ISRC data, UPC/EAN
Master CD (includes CD-Text and error checking – if requested)
Reference CD-R (includes CD-Text and error checking – if requested)


Data of Side A sequence and Side B sequence (24bit WAV files)
Reference CD-R (includes CD-Text and error checking – if requested)

How do I send you the files?

Zip up all the files and send away! We love WeTransfer.com and Dropbox and Google Drive.