Manley Rack
  • For Best Mastering Results

    When mixing, your focus should be on the musicality of the track rather than on the overall loudness.  Your goal in mixing is not to be as loud as mastered CD’s, but rather to give your music a feel and movement in the stereo field with dynamics revealing those particular sounds which need to stand out.  You should have a left, center, right, front, and back for placements of your sounds.  Balance is key. There should also be a balance of low, mid, and high frequencies appropriate for the style of music.  Mix the track to sound great and not for loudness.  Remember when comparing to mastered CD’s, ignore the overall level, as the mastered CD will generally be much louder.  Do not add limiting or normalization on the 2-buss.

    Compression across the 2-buss can be used to give the mix some glue, color, tightness, or purposeful effect, but you should not compress to make it louder, as this introduces distortion and artifacts that may not be apparent on your monitoring system and will be amplified during the mastering process.  Do not over compress, as this cannot be undone.   You can provide both a compressed and uncompressed version for reference for the mastering session.  Again, do not add any limiting or normalization on the 2-buss.

    Digital Levels
    Mixes should have levels from –10dbfs to –3dbfs as your hottest peak.  Avoid the digital ceiling of 0dbfs.  The technical explanation is too in-depth for this writing, but the short answer is that the actual signal level may over-shoot digital 0 (in your AD/DA converters or software) and be clipped, which becomes a square wave, and has detrimental effects that we hear as clipped digital distortion.  This cannot be fixed, as there is no room above 0 to complete the clipped peaks.  

    Acceptable Formats
    Any 44.1, 48k, 88.2k, 96k, 176.4k, 192k digital formats on CD-r or DVD-r or via FTP WAV & AIFF preferred, SDII, BWF, MP3, AAC, Quicktime and WindowsMedia

    MP3 / AAC
    MP3 is a perceptual audio coding algorithm. Perceptual encoding is a lossy compression technique, i.e. the decoded data is not an exact replica of the original digital audio data.  Lower encoding bit rates should be avoided, as this will cause audible artifacts and unwanted noise.   MP3’s should be at least 192kpbs and above for best results and 320kbps is the preferred encoding rate for this format.  Apple’s AAC, although superior to MP3, is also in the same ballpark and should be at least 192kpbs, but 320kpbs is also the preferred encoding rate for the AAC format.  Use the highest possible sampling rate during the encoding process, usually 44.1k or 48k.



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