What are your rates?
There are always plenty of variables with each project, so all projects are custom-quoted. Please contact me and tell me about your project in as much detail as you please, and I will get back to you with more information. I may have questions for you, but I will be prompt in giving you answers and laying out your options. I'm excited to work with you!
How do you determine your rates?
For mastering, rates depend on the total length of your project, the number of songs, the intended publishing formats, and a few other aspects. The same rate is charged for all projects up to 30 minutes, but there are special discounted rates for singles. After 30 minutes, the rate incrementally increases with duration.
For mixing, rates depend on a combination of the number of multi-tracks in your songs, how many songs there are, how long they are, and if you have any special requests as far as vocal tuning, drum editing, audio repair, aditional production, deadline, etc.
For original musical productions or music videos, rates are typically according to the projected amount of work involved based on your requests and ideas. (Duh.)
For audio and/or video post-production projects, sometimes the rate is hourly, and at other times it is based on the length of your desired final product, depending on the nature of your production and the tasks at hand.
Can I use the same files for multiple media formats, therefore saving some cash?
In many cases, the answer is no. But there are exceptions.
For instance, you can use digital masters as CD WAVs, but only if your mixes were 16-bit, and only if your manufacturer doesn't require DDP files.
Do you offer free test masters?
Most of the time, I can't provide free test mixes. Even a 10 second test mix could take 4 or 5 hours to set up and produce, depending on the complexity of your production. But if you are working on something in which there are 5 multi-tracks or less, go ahead and drop me a line and I will see if I can help you.
What is mixing and mastering?
Mixing is an incredibly nuanced, multi-dimensional process in which two or more (usually more) audio sources are layered together, adjusted in an endless amount of possible ways, so that the full experience is cohesive and emotionally resonant, with each element occupying an ideal space in the stereo field, frequency spectrum, and volume.
Mastering is the very last process in the post-production phase before the audio is published or put onto physical formats (besides the final mastering that a vinyl cutting engineer will do). Mastering optimizes, refines, and sometimes vastly enhances or improves the audio. It not only dials in the most effective overall parameters for the entire recording, but it also focuses in on individual events if anything special is needed. Even the best-mixed records in the world are still mastered with great care, and the worst-mixed records are still improved with a great mastering job.
Mixing and mastering are both about achieving balance, consistency, clarity in different ways. But the audible characteristics are just one side of the job. The other side is getting your project up to par with the required industry standards for file format, bit rate, sample rate, embedded text, and other under-the-hood specs.
What is stem mastering? Can you do it?
Stem mastering is a little bit like mixing, but in a much simpler form, combined with the mastering process. Sometimes artists want to give the mastering engineer just a little bit more control over the music, rather than just having a left and right channel at their disposal. In stem mastering, often the engineer will be able to adjust the level or EQ curve of the drums, guitars, synths, vocals, or other generalized groups of elements, entirely separate from the rest.
I do offer stem mastering. Please get in touch for a quote.
Can you edit my podcast?
Absolutely! I regularly edit discussions, interviews, and other audio and video recordings meant for podcast distributors, YouTube, audiobooks, etc. I can also apply titles, transitions, and other basic elements to your footage if you have a video podcast. I'm also able to clean up your picture, as well as filter out various types of artifacts and noise.
How do I pay you?
I will send you an invoice via email reflecting the project you and I will have discussed. It will be a Paypal invoice, but you can use a credit or debit card if you do not want to use a Paypal account.
To start any project you must pay at least 50% of the total as a deposit. You will receive the final product once the total has been fully paid. All deposits are non-refundable.
How do I prepare my files? What kind of files do you require?
For all projects, send the highest quality and resolution version of whatever you're working with. Preferably 24-bit WAV files. 32-bit is okay too, but they will be converted (safely) in the end. Try to avoid lossy formats. If another band member or your engineer has higher quality files, please seek them out before beginning your project with me.
Please make sure there is little to no processing on your master buss, especially heavy compression or any limiting whatsoever. If you insist on sending compressed pre-masters to maintain an ideal sound, please consider sending a raw version as well. Too much processing on the master buss will limit what I can do for you, and may greatly hinder my ability to give you the best master possible. There is no need to worry that I won't compress your production as much as you want it compressed. Just communicate, and you will not be stuck with something you don't love.
Please make sure your audio files have headroom and do not clip. Do not normalize them. At least 3db of headroom is preferred, but even 0.1db will do.
Any file sharing service is OK. You can also ship a USB drive or data CD.
How will you deliver the final product?
I will send you high quality files that pertain to your intended formats using a free file sharing service. With most jobs, I work with WAV files, and use WeTransfer. (Their art exhibits on the download and upload pages are usually really cool.)
For files over 2GB, I will use Google Drive. If you'd like me to send USB Drives or data CDs in the mail, I can do that for a fee.
Can you produce original music for me, or help me produce my own?
I absolutely can!
I play guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and synthesizers, and I also experiment with altered and repurposed electronics of various kinds. I'm an electronic music producer, and have produced, mixed, and often mastered lengthy, dense compositions in which I've performed or programmed every element.
I have experience in a multitude of genres and musical communities. I've produced pop, R&B, hip hop, industrial, new age, jazz fusion, vaporwave, emo/screamo, black and death metal, noise, grind, folk, drone and ambient, hardcore and post-hardcore, rock and post-rock, punk and post-punk, and even a few country numbers! My strength is in music that is off the path a bit... experimental, progressive, etc.
I've produced jingles for podcasts and advertisements, instrumentals for rappers and singers, and have contributed production to other artist's unfinished albums.
Please get in touch with your story, and I will give you the full spiel on how I can help you.
Do you master for vinyl?
Mastering for vinyl is quite different from mastering for other formats. There are certain key factors involved, and masters for other formats will likely not properly translate to vinyl without introducing the risk of distortion, needle tracking problems, or other issues.
I lost the files you sent me months ago. Can you resend them?
After 30-60 days I transfer all projects to a secure cloud server with monetized download bandwidth. If you need to access your project after then, I charge an hourly rate to download it, extract what you need, and upload it for you.
Will my music be ready for publishing after mixing or mastering?
Your mixed music should, 100% of the time, be mastered in some capacity. Even if you are just producing a demo entirely on your own, with an intention of only showing your friends, a minimum number of mastering-related tasks should be performed for the sake of eliminating problems from the playback and monitoring experience.
Your mastered music will always be ready for release, but the overall sound quality does depend on the quality of the mixes.
What gear and software do you use?
As much as I love talking gear and plug-ins, I don't list any of it on my website. The sound quality of my work speaks for itself. I do not want to be identified with gear rather than results. I do not keep what I use a secret, as you'll see a bunch of gear and plug-ins in the website photos, and I occasionally bring up gear in interviews and articles. However I don't name-drop brands and models as a means for advertising my services. I can assure you that among what I use you'll find high-quality resources, revered in the industry, and more than sufficient for the job. What truly matters is how one uses such resources- always.
Can I request revisions? How many will you honor?
I will honor without protest around 3 rounds of revisions. Every project is a little different, but this the general rule. By the time you get to rounds 4 and 5 in almost any project, it's usually an indication of an issue outside of the mastering process.
Do you offer classes, tutorials, or mentoring?
I do offer hour blocks of video chat lessons to help you with your mastering, mixing, or original compositions when my schedule is open. Please get in touch to discuss.
Can you produce DDP files, PMCDs, or MFiT masters?
Yes, I can provide DDP files for your CD master.
Do I need DDP files or just 16-bit WAVs for my CD master?
That question is for your intended manufacturer. Some services will accept CD WAVs, and others require DDP files. If you are just burning CDrs yourself, you only need 16-bit WAVs. DDP files are always recommended for maximum control over things like seamless playback, CD Text, embedded ISRC codes, etc.
Can I change my mix during or after mastering?
You're welcome to change your mix and submit a new one during the mastering process, but there are modest fees for these scenarios. I will outline them for you upon receiving your quote request.
What other artists, labels, or organizations have you worked with?
Why do I need to get my music mastered if I am a DIY artist who is not concerned with "industry standards," airplay, Spotify playlists, etc?
I know that position very well. I come from underground DIY punk and noise scenes. The truth is, even if you don't want to get your music professionally mastered, it should still go through a makeshift mastering process on your end at the bare minimum. I don't know how many homemade tapes and CDrs I've bought from artists like yourself, at basement shows and from small labels, that featured music that was unnecessarily loud and digitally clipping out the wazoo even though it was just indie folk, incredibly muddy or muffled (unintentionally, to the dismay of the artist), or so quiet that I had to crank the speakers up so much that the noise floor was as loud as the song. Unless your intention is "audio terrorism" (which is pretty cool in itself), you should still have consistent levels and a good frequency balance. Your listeners will appreciate it. YOU will appreciate it. Nothing worse than a record that sounds good at first, but by the time it's over your ears hurt, because that snare drum had way too much 3kHz in it.
Will my suffering mix sound better after mastering?
On one hand, yes, definitely. Many engineers will stress til they're blue in the face that they are not in the business of "polishing turds." "Shit in, shit out," they say. "The master is only as good as the mix," they say. Well, I don't entirely agree!
Can you give me free mixing advice?
If you are getting your album mastered with me, feel free to send me your works in progress and I can give you some mixing advice, if needed, to help you prepare your songs.
What is your business status?
Angel Hair Audio is an LLC, registered in the state of Illinois, in the USA.