Your Recording Individually Custom Engineered for The Sound That Sells©.KVG Laboratories' Mastering Services takes a unique approach to the art of mastering. We can do so much more to your recording than just "make it louder."
The KVG Laboratories mastering process begins with our mastering engineer studying the sound of your recording, listening to it on several different systems that represent the sound of anything from an iPod to a radio station to a high-end audiophile stereo. Next, he examines the recording with a suite of custom waveform analyzers to determine spatial imaging, distortion, noise, frequency spectral distribution, time domain analysis, inherent reverberation ratio, overall distortion products and many other factors.
After his analysis is complete, our mastering engineer determines what need to be done to make your recording have that elusive sound that makes a casual listener stop, give their full attention to the music, then buy it. This entails denoising, clipping repair, phase error correction, level optimization, ensuring track-to-track level consistency, mastering eqalization, harmonic enhancement, spectral enhancement, transient peak enhancement and numerous other subtle improvements. Next, we apply our proprietary UnVeiling Technology™ that increases the openness, sense of clarity, ambience and reverberation, even in 96KB Bitrate MP3 encodes.
The secret to our approach to mastering is our choice of equipment: after analyzing your recording, our mastering engineers designs then builds custom-engineered signal processors specifically for your recordings and that will be used only on your project. Standard, commercially available, off-the-shelf signal processors and software are not adequate. It's the difference between buying your clothes off the rack and having your clothes custom tailored. To ensure that your recording is mastered to the highest quality KVG Laboratories uses their studio monitors specifically custom-engineered for mastering. No off-the-shelf studio monitor is adequate to meet our standards.
The objective of any professional music recording project is to make music that elicits a response from the listener, or that combines evocative lyrics sung with musical interpretation into the artistic framework we call "music." The music, in turn, supports the artist's storytelling so that the audience successfully receives the communication from the artist. Audio production and record engineering must support that communication without impairing it distracting from it, or materially altering its art; it must, in a manner consonant with the artist's expression, enrich and magnify the artistic message of the music.
From a business perspective, these activities must be accomplished in a manner that induces the audience to purchase the musical recording by appealing to the human sense of hearing and the aesthetics of the audience's perception of, and response to, the sound recording itself.
Success in this regard requires much more than operating audio equipment. A proper job of mastering entails far more than merely picking a compressor plugin, adding some equalization, running a denoiser software package then clicking "normalize." Yet it's only these few things that most "mastering services" do for their clients. It's superficial and it's why they can charge a fixed per-album (or per-song) rate.
Consider: Merely achieving good sound isn't enough; almost anyone can do that. The KVG Laboratories Mastering Studio goes far beyond the ordinary; we give your recording The Sound That Sells©.
Preparing Your Recording For Mastering
- Send your tracks in AIFF or WAV format. AIFF format is preferred. Our maximum sampling rate is 192 kHz, 24-bits. We can handle DSD format on special arrangement.
- We can accept several formats of analog masters as well. Contact us for further information.
- Remove all signal processing, including: equalization, compression, limiting, reverb and similar effects, unless the effect cannot be duplicated because it is a rare or unique piece of hardware. Note that we may ask you to send your effects processor to us if needed, although this rarely happens.
- Ensure each track is clearly labeled and annotated. We cannot be responsible for errors because we couldn't determine which track was which.
- Send a reference mix on CD, or in 44.1 kHz, 16-bit WAV or AIFF. We will use the reference mix to replicate your recording during the mastering process. Do not send the reference mix in any data compressed format, including MP3, M4P, AAC, OGG, or FLAC; it won't be clear enough to be effective.
- Send notes about your mix and your recording overall. The more information we have about your recording, the better the job we can do for you.
- Although we can master your completed mix, we can do a far better job working from your individual tracks.
- The more effects and signal processing (equalization, reverb, compression, limiting, and so forth) that you have applied to the recording, the less we can do to perfect its sound. That's because we often end up having to work against your processing. Also, there is a limit to how much processing can be applied to a recording before sound quality suffers irreparably.
- If at all possible, please do not add compression or equalization to your recording prior to mastering. We have a custom-engineered reverb plate system and will build a custom-engineered compressor and limiter for your recording that cannnot be equalled.
- Although an MP3 copy can be mastered, results are seldom, if ever, satisfactory. We cannot do much to improve an MP3 because it is an inherently low quality format.
- Upconverting an MP3 to a higher resolution format, such as a 96 kHz, 24 bit AIFF, is possible but the result will sound like the original compressed MP3, only with perhaps some improvement to reverb, but the improvement hardly justifies the trouble or expense. Subsequently encoding an MP3 from the upconverted copy will always result in unsatisfactory sound and is strongly discouraged.
- Our mastering engineer, Kermit V. Gray, isn't a by-the-numbers button-pusher: he has a thorough understanding of audio recording, how sound and recording equipment works (because he designs and builds them), the aesthetics of recorded sound, music instruments, psychoacoustics, room acoustics, music theory, the physics of sound, the physiology of hearing and many other disciplines that relate to music and music recording. He has the know-how to make your recording as good as it can be.
Mastering Studio Rates: $250.00 per hour, 4 hour minimum.