IMPACTFUL. CAPTIVATING. WARM. ENGAGING. LIVELY. POLISHED. MOVING. POWERFUL. MEMORABLE. SOOTHING. BRIGHT. FULL. RICH. EXCITING. MESMERIZING. UNIQUE. MUSICAL. NATURAL. BRILLIANT. SMOOTH. BOLD. TIMELESS. DYNAMIC. LOUD. PROUD.
ALL MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH PROFESSIONAL
MIXING VS MASTERING
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Mixing involves blending together all individual instruments, vocal tracks, and sound effects to achieve a sense of depth, width, and cohesion. A mix engineer uses a variety of audio processors like equalization, compression, reverbs, delays and many other effects on the individual elements within a song to achieve balance. Truly an art form all its own.
Mastering is focused on treating the song as a whole, not the individual elements within. It's ensuring that a song is played at the highest quality possible on all playback devices. Attentiveness and highly detailed listening paired with advanced processing techniques turn a great mix into an incredible listening experience through mastering.
Listen to the below examples to hear the differences between a mixed song and a mastered song.
DAY TWO | CHURCH EDITION
Loud but no compression. That was Josh's main ask when he asked me to master his latest album. A difficult task, but not impossible. Luckily for me, he did a great job mixing the album, which definitely makes for easier mastering.
Another requirement for this project was seamless transitions between songs. Most of the 16 songs featured on this album flow directly from one to another without a break or fade. These precise song cuts were made toward the end of the mastering process. I've included three songs in the mastering sample provided, can you hear the song changes? Here's a hint, the third song fades out after a piano intro.
Josh and I have partnered on many projects now. Not only is he a talented drummer, he's also a great music producer. I highly recommend listening to this entire album and the rest of his catalog, featured appearances, and productions.
Here's the mastering chain I created for this album for those curious: starting with iZotope RX, I used clip gain to tame some of the loudest peaks. Also in RX, I performed adaptive phase rotation to center the waveforms before transferring to Pro Tools. Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 was added first to clean up some of the low rumbling on the sides. This was followed by two more EQs, the Dangerous Music BAX EQ to open up the top-end and a Manley Massive Passive for some low-mid control. I added width using the Ozone 10 Imager. Then for some saturation and thickness, I inserted the Ampex ATR-102 tape emulation by UAD. To achieve the desired loudness without compressing the mix, I used a Fabfilter Pro-L 2 limiter for the initial level boost. Next came Ozone for the Impact Module to get back some of the punch taken away by the limiter, a Dynamic EQ Module to control the mids, and the Maximizer Module for loudness and soft clipping. Lastly, another Pro-L 2 limiter to achieve final loudness and true peak limiting.
There is no other engineer I would trust more with my music or my brand. Sterling shows that he truly cares about your project by providing exceptional service that goes above and beyond. This guy lives and breathes audio. If you are looking for an engineer, STOP LOOKING and hit up Sterling Skye TODAY!!!
I Was Born To Love You: original song written by Ray LaMontagne
Co-Produced by One World Studios & Sterling Skye Sound
Recorded, Edited, Mixed & Mastered by Sterling Skye
Steve Kallenbach - Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Organ, Synth Strings
Sterling Skye - Acoustic Guitars
Alex Price - Bass, Lead Guitar
I WAS BORN TO LOVE YOU
Steve and I's unique rendition of Ray LaMontagne's I Was Born To Love You brings an energetic and uplifting spirit to this already incredible song.
The mastering process began during mixing. When I know that I'll be mastering my own mix I try to plan ahead. For this particular song, I mixed into a "glue" compressor and a limiter so I could hear and manage how the dynamics of the song would be affected before I got to mastering. I also performed some additional top-down mixing techniques that would be commonly found at the mastering stage such as broad EQ adjustments on the mix bus.
My mastering chain for this song started with some light mid/side compression with an Elysia Alpha Compressor. A Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 was used to reduce some of the mids before heading into the Oxford Inflator by Sonnox for some overall thickness. I used the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor for some color and level boost. Next was iZotope Ozone for some additional mid-frequency control with the Dynamic EQ Module. I also used the Maximizer Module in Ozone for a significant boost in loudness before hitting the last plugin, a Fabfilter Pro-L 2 for final levels and true peak limiting.
PEAK INTO THE PROCESS
- MASTERING AN ALBUM? -
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HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED EDITING? WHAT'S INCLUDED?Editing is an extremely important process performed prior to beginning a mix. It's the cleanup phase. Editing tasks include: Vocal Tuning Breath Reduction/Removal Vocal Alignment Alignment of vocal doubles, harmonies, and backgrounds Plosive or Sibilance Control Click/Pop Removal Drum Replacement Drum Sample Layering Drum Phase Alignment Guitar/Bass Digital Reamping Instrument Alignment Background Noise Removal Still need help determining what your song needs? Fill out the form on my contact page and receive a free consultation and song review.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE MY MIX?It typically takes just 1 or 2 days to complete a mix. Projects with a high track count or projects that require extensive editing take up to 3 days to complete. This doesn't mean you'll receive your music within a day or two, but it's possible. The exact project turnaround time varies based on current availability.
WHAT FILES WILL I RECEIVE AFTER APPROVING THE MIX?The Premium Mixing Package delivery includes: (1) Stereo uncompressed WAV file: 24-bit, 48 kHz (if applicable) (1) Stereo uncompressed WAV file: 16-bit, 44.1 kHz TV/Performance Mix (mix minus lead vocal) Instrumental Mix Acapella Mix Mixed stems are available for an additional fee. The Standard Mixing Package delivery includes: (1) Stereo uncompressed WAV file: 16-bit, 44.1 kHz (1) Stereo 192kbps MP3 file Mixed stems, instrumentals, and other mix versions are available for an additional fee.
HOW DO I EXPORT INDIVIDUAL TRACKS FROM MY DAW?Most DAWs come equipped with track export functions. A quick YouTube search would be the most beneficial here. I created step-by-step guides a few years ago to export all tracks as individual audio files. These guides haven't been updated recently, so I can't guarantee that they still hold up after the latest software updates. Click on your DAW below to view or download a PDF to guide you through the exporting process. PRO TOOLS | LOGIC PRO X | GARAGEBAND | ABLETON LIVE | STUDIO ONE | REAPER | FL STUDIO
WHAT FILES SHOULD I SEND FOR MIXING?Audio Files Individual WAV or AIFF files for each track See the question HOW DO I EXPORT INDIVIDUAL TRACKS FROM MY DAW? Stereo bounce of your rough mix Song Details Please include as many of the below details as possible: Artist/Band Name Song Name Album Name Album Artwork Lyrics Genre BPM/Tempo Time Signature Key Signature Copyright and Licensing Info Reference Tracks 1 to 3 tracks of a similar genre Could be any released song from another artist/band that you like the sound of Could be a previous release of yours that you'd like to match the sound of Could be a song that inspired you to create this current song Could be a particular sound you like in a song e.g. "Can you make my kick drum sound like this one?" You can send a link to the song(s) if you can't send the song itself
HOW SHOULD I SEND YOU MY FILES?I use Google Drive and Dropbox for file management. Upload your project to the service you're familiar with and send me the shareable link via email. If you're using a free Google Drive or Dropbox account and don't have the space to upload your project, you can use a transfer service such as WeTransfer, or I can send a link to a private folder on one of my accounts for you to upload your project.
CAN I SEND YOU MY SESSION?Pro Tools users can send a copy of your session for mixing. Make sure all audio files are included before sending (perform a "save copy in" with copy audio files checked).
DO YOU OFFER FREE REVISIONS?Yes. Depending upon the service, I offer either a limit of (2) revisions or unlimited revisions. I always strive to be flexible and encourage creativity when possible. However, working without limitations and deadlines can lead to a never-ending cycle of "let's try this" or "maybe it would sound better if..."
HOW DO I REQUEST A REVISION?All revision requests need to be sent via email. Please include detailed information such as the timestamp of where the issue(s) occurs when possible. Below is a list of common requests that would be covered with the included revisions and a few requests that would not be covered. These lists are not all-encompassing nor exclusive. I have the final decision about whether or not a requested revision will be performed without additional fees. Revision requests covered: Removal of noise problems. Volume adjustments of an individual track/sound or group of tracks (e.g., can you make the drums louder?) Basic creative decisions such as muting an instrument in a particular section of a song. Adjustments or additions of time-based effects like reverb and delay. Revision request that would not be covered: Adding tracks or audio clips not included in the original project submission. Major changes in the arrangement of a song not previously discussed. After receiving your written approval for a review file, the process to finalize your project will begin. Any revisions requested after will incur a fee. The fee will be determined based on the extent of the requested revision.
HOW LONG WILL MY FINALIZED FILES BE AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD?You'll have (14) days to download your finalized files. After this period, I may remove your files from my servers if needed. You may request to have your finalized files reuploaded at any time during your backup retention period.
HOW LONG DO YOU KEEP A BACKUP OF MY PROJECT?I agree to maintain a backup of all working sessions and media files associated with your project for a minimum of (1) year or (5) years for clients who book my premium mixing service. Read more about Backups on the Terms and Conditions page.