Preparing a track or song for Mastering: Pre Mastering including 9 Pro Tips

A complete and informative guide to preparing your track, song or audio for Mastering. From our experience here at Zeitgeist Mastering, many people send in audio for mastering that is just not optimised for best results… This video aims to change all of that… A guide showing you how to get the best and most professional results from audio mastering in 9 essential points and tips. How to export or bounce your track with confidence so that you know that you will get the most out of it! It is really just as important as the Mastering stage itself so it is worth getting right…

For a complete guide to Audio Mastering and to learn how to go about it yourself, please check out: Mastering Now – The Complete Guide
Available at: http://www.music-courses.com/product.asp?P_ID=190

For further information or to contact us, please go to: http://www.zeitgeistmastering.com

Here is a summary of the 9 ESSENTIAL TIPS:

1. Make sure that there are no effects on your Master Bus when you Bounce or Export!!!

Sub Point: If there is something on your Master Bus that you think you cannot live without, send your Mastering Engineer 2 versions: A No FX Mix and an FX Mix and let your Mastering Engineer know what the effect is. Some prefer to Mix into a Master Bus or 2 Bus Compressor. If so, we say make sure it is a very good one! However, never never leave a limiter in place.

2. Make sure that the level of your Track Peaks somewhere between -6 and -3dB!

3. If the Peak Level of your Track is higher than -3dB, it is best to reduce each tracks level rather than to just drop the master fader.

4. Eliminate any unwanted noise within your Mix.

5. Try to keep your Mix Clean and Dynamic.

6. Leave some silence at the beginning and at the end of your Track (2 – 8 Bars).

7. Bounce your track in the Format that you worked in (24 Bit is the most common and is absolutely adequate).

8. Be sure not to Normalise or to apply any Dither when you Bounce or Export!

9. Think about realistic and relevant reference tracks that you might be able to suggest to your Mastering Engineer.

If you follow these steps, your Final Audio Master will be the best it can be so it is worth it…

Happy Producing and Premastering!
Video Rating: / 5

Jupiter Ace demonstrates how some clever use of Ableton’s stock plug-ins, can achieve great results and polish up your final mix.
Video Rating: / 5


For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

This was SUPER HELPFUL Thanks!?

Great tips man! Concise and on point. Keeping everything below -3dB is hard but necessary?

omg thank you very much, my mixes got much better now?

On your first tip, what about using a slight compression on the master bus to glue the mix. Should that be taken out??

thanks for touching on the subject of floating point i looked into it more and it made my life way easier. Keep it up!?

Im surprised he is telling you that if you peak over -3db to destroy your mix by adjusting the track volumes (which means your automations will get destroyed) instead of doing proper gain staging.?

thanks it was very helpful?

thanks for bringing out these important points. there is a lot here that i did not realize.
greetings from london?

Thank you so much, this was extremely helpful!?

Best video till now for mastering … thanks bro .. ?

I can't believe that I've never heard that mastering engineers want the master mixes to peak between -6 and -3db.  All I've ever heard is -1.  But that would sure explain that the first thing I see in a mastering tutorial is a 6db drop in initial volume.  Is the mastering world mostly resigned to that?

In any case, I'm taking that to heart, so hopefully the next mastering guy – me – will appreciate that!  ;D

Thank you very much for the advice.  You learn something new every day on the intranets.?

Just to complement point 3, I always recommend to use a "Utility" module always at the end of your channel strip, to automate the gain on the track in a channel, so you never go through this issue when it comes to reduce or increase the final gain of your channel.?

Very good video.  I agree on the clean master bus for 90% of home recording engineers. 

I typically always have a compressor on the master bus, typically a API 2500, SSL, or even Kramer Pie.  I only "kiss" the compressor with very little to no DB reduction or gain added.  The reason is I like the sound and color of the compressor, based on the type of band, Rock, Country, Ammericana, ect.  It is not to make the song sound louder.  Leave gain or loudness to the mastering engineer.  As a background I have 25 years experience as an engineer.  Cheers!?

thanks a lot it is very helpful ?

What a bunch of miserable shits some of you are, stick up some links and let us bask in your genius. Oh wait, your music probably sucks. The ones who piss and moan when someone is trying to offer assistance are usually the ones who are failing miserable to achieve much of anything.?

He sausaged the hell out of that?

Best video on mastering I've seen yet. Too bad there are so many cunts who know jack about producing and trying to look cool saying he "screws up the dynamic range", but never actually made a good track themselves. If you do, with a clean mixdown, this can be very useful.?

great vid.  that reference master is crazy loud tho lol?

The only way to get people to listen to this soul-less version of dance music that has no connection to house music is to make it …loud as hell.?

welcome to the brick factory?

This might be a stupid question, but what exactly does mastering achieve? I'm actually quite confused on the topic. Someone help!?

Hi, sorry maybe this is off the subject, but I really curious what vocal shout sample did you use one that track, because that sample is everywhere (most of edm tracks).. ?

Unsuscribe from this channel. I ve to say thanks. I feel myself much more competent and my ears doesnt betray me luckly. good night?

Unsuscribe from this channel. I ve to say thanks. I feel myself much more competent and my ears doesnt betray me luckly. good night?

Excuse me. But to my ears the reference sounds MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE BETTER and A LOT LOUDER. Seems a analog master. But the master in subject is not impressing me AT ALL?

the volume of your track didn't need to be that loud in comparison to your voice-  This made for less than pleasurable listening and viewing. The viewer doesn't want to have to turn up the volume to hear your voice only to lower the volume when your track plays and blasts the ear drums… Future Music, I hear is a good source but your YT videos are not quality if they all exhibit this sub standard trait. Word to the wise…..?

Good tips, for anyone reading these comments just remember, every song is different, and not every track needs to use the same techniques, or techniques to such a strong degree. Some people like their songs loud and clipped some do not, it's purely personal preference, DJs spin both as long as they sound good and preserved.?

Trash, Trash, Trash, Trash, Trash ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………?

The title says "DIY mastering" for a reason.  I actually think this is definitely one of the better tutorials on the topic.  I see some people out there who will heavily boost the bass and put the Waves L3 multiband on there and smash their song to a pulp.  Might work for a few songs, but a majority of them probably don't need that treatment.

This is far from messing up the waveform.  I've heard that you can completely hard clip something to raise the perceived loudness as long as the result doesn't make something less audibly desirable.  Someone once said you can hard clip ~15 samples and be okay.

If you don't have the thousands of dollars to purchase the high end equipment that's pretty much required to get the best "professional" result, this will do.  The one thing I didn't agree with was him using his own music as a reference, but they probably don't want the video flagged for copyright in the case of using other music.?

That's not mastering that's called fucking your waveform for no other reason then to perceive the track as louder. If it's not loud enough just fucking turn up your amp.
Fuck me.?