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!

neumann vms70, lathe, cutting lathe, vinyl lathe, mastering lathe, vinyl mastering

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.

digital mastering

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

MY APPROACH & ABOUT ME

The mastering engineers “back in the day” were transfer engineers whose main task was to transfer the analog tape used as a record format 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.  

My goal as a mastering engineer 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 I make 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 I take!

My educational background is a conservatory style music degree combined with a masters degree in music technology.  While most of my recording experience is in classical/acoustic music, I love all styles of music and approach all genres with the same care and dedication as recording a string quartet.

 

Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions.

Head mastering engineer: 

Margaret Luthar - mastering@welcometo1979.com

Margaret Luthar

BIO

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. Then was 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 music (mostly acoustic/classical) and the occasional location sound for film. 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 training for a marathon.