MASTERING

 Our goal is to offer digital and vinyl mastering services to artists and labels with the highest level of quality and craftsmanship at a price that is affordable and competitive. Our studio is equipped to work from digital files as well as tape!

Mastering, in its essence, is a quality control process that bridges the artistic world and the manufacturing world.  A mastering engineer combines aesthetics with a knowledge of deliverable formats (such as CD, streaming services, and vinyl, for example).  Communication, efficiency, and artistic nuance are perhaps the most important tools a mastering engineer has - besides his or her own ears!  

We deliver digital masters destined for:

  • CD 
  • Streaming/digital distribution
  • Cassette

And of course, we also provide vinyl mastering.

Send us your Files!

Upload your files to us and we can get started on mastering!

RATES

BY SONG

  • Single Song:

    • • $125/song
    • • Ready for Streaming
  • Multiple Songs:

    • • $85/song
    • • Ready for Streaming

ADD-ONS

  • $25/song per Item:

    • • Record your mixes to tape
    • • Instrumental Mixes Mastered (Great for TV/Film Placement)
    • • Prep for CD Manufacturing
    • • Prep for Vinyl (Free if we cut your lacquers)

DELIVERABLES

  • Digital:

    • • Digital Distribution and Streaming Master: $75
    • • CD Master (DDP): $75
  • Vinyl Services:

    • • Reference Lacquers
      • • 12” = $100/side
      • • 7”/10” = $62.50/side
    • • Master Lacquers
      • • 12” = $200/side
      • • 7”/10” = $125/side

GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW

For whatever format(s) you are releasing your music on, there are some general guidelines on the information we need before we start working:

  • Track titles, order of tracks, artist name and album name
  • What deliverables (masters for CD duplication, streaming services, etc.) you are planning to release  
  • ISRCs (see more information here)  
  • While we can work with pretty much any sample rate or bit-depth, 24 bit is preferred over 16-bit if possible (native rate, not converted to 24-bit)
  • When delivering tape, please include alignment tones on the tape
  • Side breaks if destined for vinyl
  • If you have Instrumentals or alternative versions please deliver them with the original mixes if possible.  It allows us to process all the songs in the same session. For Instrumental versions, we will also deliver a 24 48kHz set appropriate for film/licensing
  • If you're ready to send us files to begin the mastering process, please do so at this link!

Vinyl Mastering Cutting Lathe

When mastering for vinyl, we take into consideration the unique properties of the medium and provide the most accurate transfer to disc from whatever format we are provided with.  In a historical context, “mastering” describes the various tweaks needed to provide the highest quality level of deliverable.

If we are lucky enough to master your files before we cut them, this often provides the best transfer.  Working with the audio from stage one of the mastering process allows us to be familiar with your music and optimize the audio for the medium.  That being said, if you choose to have your work mastered elsewhere we are more than capable of providing an accurate transfer to our lacquer masters (this is a called a “flat cut”). 

Thinking about a vinyl release?

Learn more about the process!

For unattended mastering, we will start with providing you with two “reference” tracks out of all the songs you need mastered.  If you have a preference for which two we start with, let us know. We’ll work with those two songs and get them how you like them before working on the rest of the album - we can use them as a rough “guide” for the rest of the tracks.  

For attended mastering, we’ll work through the whole album with you and then you can evaluate the masters in listening environments you are familiar with.

The “full reference” will be an encrypted DDP (Disc Description Protocol, the Redbook CD audio format) player which allows you to see track titles, names, etc. as well as hear spacings and transitions between songs.

When you approve the digital mastering, we’ll provide you with appropriate deliverables for each format.  The next step, if needed, will be preparation for vinyl.

Manley Stereo Compressor

Don’t hesitate to provide us with more information about the sound you’re looking for  - mastering engineers have to get to know your music intimately in a short period of time, so the more relevant background we get, the better.

MASTERING CLIENTS

Recent Mastering Clients:

Campbell Harrison
Dirt Reynolds - Scalawag
Harold
Grain Thief - Gasoline
Wife Patrol - Too Prickly For This World
Bobby Rush - Rawer Than Raw
Brad Lee Curtis
Russell de Moose - Drum and a Tantrum
Raibard - Dark Realm of the Daylight - Bright Kingdom of the Night
Muscadine Bloodline - Dispatch to 16th Ave
Vegabonds - Live at West End Sound
Renee Goust - Resister
Tim Corpus - MMXX
Friend of a Friend

Lacquers Cut:

Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett Love For Sale
Beck Night Running 7"
Molly Tuttle - …But I’d Rather Be With You
Anberlin -
More to Living Than Being Alive, Tear Us Apart, Paper Tigers
Nashville Ambient Ensemble - Cerulean
Joshua Ray Walker - Glad You Made It
Oliver Wood - Always Smilin'
The Wood Brothers-The Muse
Netflix - Standup Specials
Guardian Singles - S/T
Chris Knight- A Pretty Good Guy
Pixel Grip - Arena
Lambchop - Showtunes
The California Honeydrops
Clem Snide - Forever Just Beyond
Armand Hammer - Haram
Colin Hay - I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
Billy Woods - Dour Candy, BRASS
The Grand Ole Opry - Unbroken | Empty Room, Full Circle

OUR TEAM

The mastering engineers “back in the day” were transfer engineers whose main task was to transfer the analog tape used as a recording medium onto the lacquer masters used for vinyl record pressing.  While mastering has developed an artistic process all its own, the goal of staying true to the original music while being aware of the benefits/limitations/etc. for various formats still holds accurate.  

Our goal as mastering engineers is to make a collection of songs sound whole, as consistent as possible, across all mediums.  This includes dynamic range adjustments, coloration from various analog gear and plugin emulation (transformers, tubes, etc.), as well as level matching, EQ, and noise removal.

Any adjustments made should enhance, not detract from, the final product.  That being said, just like any creative process, input and feedback from the client ultimately determines the direction we take!

Click on photos below or keep scrolling for bios.

Bobbi Giel

Staff Mastering Engineer
bobbi@welcometo1979.com 

Anna Clark

Vinyl Mastering Engineer

BIOS

Margaret Luthar is the head mastering engineer at Welcome to 1979.  She joined the team in September 2019 after spending a little over 2 years as a mastering engineer at Chicago Mastering Service.

After studying music industry at Syracuse University, she went to NYU for her master’s degree in Music Technology. This led to a string of music festival/institution jobs (Aspen, Banff) and  Margaret moved abroad to Norway in 2010 to study for a year at the University of Stavanger, where she started interning at a mastering studio in town. In 2011 she moved back to Norway and ended up staying there for 5 years. In Norway, she was working predominantly as a mastering engineer as well as recording engineer (mostly acoustic/classical) as well as the occasional location sound (for film) project. When she returned to the USA in 2016, Margaret wanted to focus on building her mastering career, which led to the years in Chicago, and now, Nashville.

She’s active in the Recording Academy, Audio Engineering Society, and loves teaching students about audio. If she’s not doing any of those things - she’s probably running.

Bobbi Giel is a mastering engineer based out of Nashville, TN. She made the move to Nashville in October 2017 and spent four years at Georgetown Masters under the direction of Chief Mastering Engineer Andrew Mendelson before joining the team at Welcome to 1979.

Bobbi began her career at University of Hartford's The Hartt School where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Production and Technology with a concentration in Classical Piano and minor in Business Administration. Following graduation in 2015 she spent two years working at various recording and post-production studios in New York City including MSR Studios (now Sound on Sound Studios in Montclair, New Jersey), the new Atlantic Studios and Atlantic Records, and LVLY.

In addition to mastering, Bobbi became a voting member of the Recording Academy in 2020 and is a contributor to Gender Amplified, a non-profit organization that aims to celebrate and provide a platform for the promotion and advancement of women in music production.

Anna Clark is a vinyl mastering engineer at Welcome to 1979, where she has been able to cut lacquers for over 200 projects for bands such as Beck, Dualtone Records, Iggy Azalea and Lisa Loeb. She started this position in August of 2018. In 2016, Anna got a Certificate in Music Business from Berklee College of Music and is currently continuing her education with plans to graduate from Belmont University in 2022. When not working on one of her music projects, Anna loves to spend time with her dogs or attend concerts with her friends and family.