What Is Mastering ?
Mastering is the last creative stage in the production of a record. It is essential for making that leap from what you hear in your head to something someone would want to buy. Historically the loudest cut could make or break a pop record. Nowadays mastering is a chance to benefit from fresh ears and expert reference to create an engaging and dynamic record without necessarily joining the 'Loudness War'. It is your last chance to even out the inaccuracies of your mix that you may not have heard before in a purpose designed room, to maximise space and clarity that may be lost further down the line.
Can't I do this myself ?
I often liken this to cutting your own hair. Sure you can have a go, but it's almost certain you will get a better result from a professional. Unlike a plug-in, a mastering engineer will LISTEN to your track and with the benefit of his or her experience, diagnose the best route of action to take.
Why should I come to Optimum ?
We pride ourselves on our musical knowledge and being able to apply that knowledge to achieve your goal. A purely technical engineer might not know how to interpret a metal track because he is unfamiliar with the genre or that a club track will need to move feet. That lack of empathy will often result in an engineer imposing their own personality on your mix. We understand the benefit of light touch and that sometime battering the listener into submission is not always the best approach.
I have found someone cheaper
You very much get what you pay for these days. With the advent of FTP transfer, and the ease of access to plug-ins, there has been a growth in the number of online 'mastering' facilities. Equipment lists can be deceptive, so check who they have worked with before. Is it anyone you have heard of? Check who they are working with now. Have they completed any album work ? Anyone can tweak a track for a compilation but few artists would hand over their album to an engineer without a decent reputation. We believe our prices are competitive for the level of service you get and everything that leaves here is top notch. There is no such thing as 'a bit of mastering' and regardless of whether you pay a set price or by the hour, we always give 100%.
What if I don't like it ?
In the unlikely event of the process not meeting your expectations, we will endeavour to make it so with a single revision. Sometimes it is a question of interpretation, or what we consider to be a worthwhile improvement. For example we would never return a master with excessive distortion unless specifically requested.
It is up to the individual engineer's discretion whether to charge for revisions.