Considering working with an audio mastering engineer for your next project?
A great mastering engineer will bring out the very best in your music, so that all of the time, effort and enthusiasm that you put into creating it will be heard and felt by your listeners. But how do you go about finding a great engineer in the first place?
Things to look for:
- Clear communication
- High customer focus (responding quickly and completely to your questions)
- Knowledge sharing in all aspects of recording, mixing and mastering
- A "rates" or "services" page that clearly lists all services offered
- Happy customers - Look for a clients list, with quotes, and website/contact info in case you want to follow up directly with them
A finished master will sound as good or better than your original mix, from a musical perspective, but, the process to get there can vary depending on your situation. When you hire a mastering engineer, you are paying that person for their experienced ears. They will listen to your work objectively, and will make sonic adjustments to help it translate to the largest variety of sound systems. Before making any mastering adjustments, they may suggest that you revisit your recordings or mixes for various reasons. A mastering engineer adds value not just by enhancing the musicality of your recordings, they can also help you create better sounding recordings and mixes.
It is important to note that a mastering engineer cannot add fidelity that is not already there. Even with the very best equipment, if your recording or mix has serious quality issues, there is little that can be done other than compensate for it. Mastering will make your mixes more of what they already are. If your mixes are already clear, dynamic and exciting to listen to, then quality audio mastering will make them even more dynamic and exciting, helping to enhance their best qualities.
Service is also key, because music mastering is a partnership between the Mastering engineer, and the music producer. It is an important relationship because great mastering engineers will care about the quality of your finished product every bit as much as you do. Great mastering engineers are perfectionists, and will stop at nothing to "get it right". They are honest with you, and will educate you about the mastering process, too. Bearing that in mind, it's important to find a mastering engineer that can accept your feedback and creative input. After all, why pay for music mastering services if you are unhappy or unsettled about the finished result?
The "secret" to finding a great mastering engineer is to look for someone who you can trust, and who you can work with! It can be a challenge to know who to trust these days, but the best way to start is to make contact. Email the engineer, and ask them any questions you have. People who are service minded will respond to you quickly, and will answer all of your questions. The easiest way to shorten the list of potential engineers is to remove any that don't respond to you, or fail to answer your questions completely.
Please feel free to read about my mastering philosophy and what my clients are saying about me. Whether you choose to do business with me or go elsewhere, I sincerely hope that that this information is helpful to you in finding the right audio mastering engineer to work on your projects.