Mastering at Studio 11.

Online audio mastering.

Live And Online Mastering Studio.


So what exactly is mastering?

Mastering, a form of audio post-production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device (the master); the source from which all copies will be produced (via methods such as pressing, duplication or replication). Recently digital masters have become usual although analog masters, such as audio tapes, are still being used by the manufacturing industry, notable by a few engineers who have chosen to specialize in analog mastering.
Mastering requires critical listening; however, software tools exist to facilitate the process. Results still depend upon the accuracy of speaker monitors and the listening environment. Mastering engineers may also need to apply corrective equalization and dynamic compression in order to optimize sound translation on all playback systems.

What is a master then?

A master, or also known as a ‘master recording’ is the final storage medium for which final production of a song, ep, or album is printed to as a source for which all copies be produced from. It is standard practice to make a copy of a master recording, known as a safety or backup copy, in case the master is lost, damaged or stolen. The specific medium varies, depending on the intended release format of the final product.
For digital audio releases, there is more than one possible master medium, chosen based on duplication factory requirements, record label security concerns, or online digital music store requirements. For compact disc release, Start of Track, End of Track, and Indexes are defined for disc navigation. Subsequently, it is rendered either to a physical medium, such as a CD-R or DVD-R, or to computer files, such as a Disc Description Protocol (DDP) file set or an ISO file. If the material is destined for vinyl release, additional processing, such as dynamic range reduction or frequency dependent stereo-to-mono fold-down and equalization, may be applied to compensate for the limitations of that medium.
How do I know when its time to master my project?
The process of mastering usually occurs as the final step in the production of a song, ep or album. This is after the writing, arranging, recording, overdubbing, editing, mixing and revision process has all ended. The finished song might go to mastering as a single, and then could be mastered again at another time if it is part of a larger project such as an ep or album.

Why should I bring my project to Studio 11 for mastering?

While a lot of studios and mastering houses in Chicago say they offer true professional mastering services for an affordable rate, the equipment they use and the job they perform tend to fall far short on the expectations of what real professional mastering can deliver. Real professional mastering is not accomplished using plug in presets and a Waves L2 in a bedroom studio. It is done through careful listening in a specially designed and tuned room using highly accurate analog processing equipment on specially built speakers. Here at Studio 11, we have made it a career spanning effort to acquire the same outboard analog equalizers, dynamics processors, imagers, and noise reduction processors as you’ll find in the best mastering houses around the world, as well as the same A/D converters and digital clocking sources too. Our engineer Alex Gross, even built the speakers we use in the studio, the White Lines Audio Model K. Furthermore, our engineers Alex Gross and Kris Anderson, with a combined 34 years of engineering experience, have mastered projects for some of the biggest artists and most reputable labels from all over the world. At Studio 11 we specialize in online mixing and mastering services.

What kind of mastering services does Studio 11 offer?

Studio 11 offers both analog and digital mastering services for a digital audio medium. What this means exactly is that we can master your music digitally on a computer using plug-ins or in analog using our collection of high end outboard equalizers, dynamics processors, and tape machine. The final analog or digital master is then printed back into the computer where it is converted and rendered down to the client’s file specifications and needs for release. We are able to accommodate any file format for any digital medium. Unfortunately, we are unable to cut a vinyl or glass plate master in house at this time. However, don’t let that stop you from coming to Studio 11. We can still master your file for a vinyl medium and recommend a good place to get the resulting master plate cut for duplication.

About how long does it take to master 1 song? What about a full album?

Here at Studio 11, it takes us no longer than 15-30 minutes to master your audio file. The overall time length depends on the quality of the pre mastered files. A full album of 10 or more songs should take roughly between 6-8 hours. The additional hour is needed to set a proper RMS level (average peak level) for all the songs on the album. This is done so all the songs on the album sound like they are at the same decibel level during playback.

How should I contact Studio 11 if I want to book a mastering session?

You can contact us either by email or telephone. Our head engineer, Kris Anderson, is always around, ready to book your session or answer any questions you may have. Our email address is and our phone number is 312.372.4460. Studio tours are available too.



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