What format should my submission(s) be?

We generally accept WAV, MP3 or AIFF as these are the most recognized formats for digital music. For greater quality, WAV or AIFF is preferred.

What is your idea of an optimized track for mastering?

We prefer that your mix be between -3 to -6 below 0 dB on the master level. These levels are generally recognized as optimal mastering conditions for digitally rendered music. These levels give the mastering engineer enough dynamic space to fully bring out the best sound in your music.

If the overall level of your mix doesn't sound loud enough at this range, we can certainly make it louder.

Do you reject tracks because of recording/mixing quality?

While we generally prefer your tracks to be of good quality we sometimes receive submissions that could be considered "poor", "inferior" or just plain "bad". Should this contingency arise, we generally give suggestions and recommendations to help you raise the quality of your mix. If the suggestions and recommendations we give cannot be met for any reason we will try to work with what we have.

However, if after attempting to work with your submissions and we still can't meet or exceed standards of quality we will (regrettably) reject them.

Bottom line - we'll try first, reject last. So far this philosophy has worked out to our clients' advantage and as of present we've never rejected any submission - regardless of the quality of the mix.

Should I use any compressor, limiter, or EQ on my mix?

No. The problem with using compressors, limiters or EQ is that once applied they're nearly impossible to remove - especially if you've applied them incorrectly. Another problem to consider is that most off-the-rack compression, limiter or EQ modules don't have the frequency ranges necessary to apply to your music correctly.

Nova Sound Laboratories calls this phenomena the "mixing to master" dilemma. While it is correct that mastering houses use compression, limiter and EQ to create quality sounding works the modules we speak of usually end up "smashing" your tracks to such a degree as to render them unlistenable.

Should I apply normalization to my mix?

No, no, a thousand times no. What normalization does is renders your music to a specific level. If you look at a typical song through a audio editing tool (like Sound Forge, for example) you'll notice that the music has peaks and valleys in the waveform. Some of those peaks and valleys are higher (or lower) than others.

This represents the audio dynamics of the song. Some parts get louder, some softer.

When you apply normalization to a specific level (say, -3dB) all your dynamics are set to that level. What this looks like on the waveform is that someone took an electric razor to your music and gave it a flattop.

Needless to say, this just killed your dynamics. So...dynamics = good; normalization = bad. Don't do it. Just say no.

Is it all right if I put reverb on my mixes?

We prefer you didn't. The problem with reverb (when applied to an entire mix) is that it's indiscriminate. What usually ends up happening (as is the case with off-the-rack compression, limiter and EQ) is that while it's good for some instruments, it's bad for others and your mix now sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a canyon.

If you want reverb on your mix, we'll take care of it.

May I put my own fade-in/fade-outs on my tracks?

Certainly, although inserting fades on your mixes is part of the many services Nova Sound Laboratories offers. We do recommend that you give us two versions of your mix - one with and one without fades in the event we may need to make corrections.

Hey, man, I like it LOUD!

The customer is always right. Well, not always - but enough that we do pay close attention to their wishes. While we won't dictate to you how your music should be mastered, we'd like you to consider the following Wikipedia article:

Nova Sound Laboratories takes no sides with this issue. As far as we're concerned, this is a client-driven service and what the client wants the client shall have.

Will I get a recording contract?

We can't reasonably guarantee that you will but considering the fact that a lot of unmastered demo CDs land on the desks of A&R executives with alarming frequency your chances of being given proper consideration with a well-mastered demo are actually better than fair. With a mastered CD the message to the A&R executive is quite clear: you are worthy of being considered a serious player insofar you know what it takes to make a quality product and that you recognize what it takes to get ahead in the business (and yes, it's a business - and it's all about making money like any other business you can name).

And it also helps if you don't suck.

Do you reject submissions because you don't like the music?

No. At Nova Sound Laboratories we're fond of telling anyone within earshot that our favorite music is your music that you hire us to master and for all intents and purposes it's the truth.

We don't reject anyone's submission because we don't like the style. Style (for us, anyway) is irrelevant - it's a function of personal taste and while we may not think your style of music is our peculiar cup of tea our only interest is that it sound good - and by that we mean professional.

We've heard the horror stories that make our nosehairs curl about mastering engineers who reject submissions for no other reason than they hate the music they're hearing. Or the one about the mastering engineer who takes the submission (along with the client's money) and gives it their half-hearted attention which results in a master that nobody (especially the client) is happy with.

Nova Sound Laboratories is just as particular about what we put our brand on as is the client with the attention to detail and the amount of work they put into making their music.

We don't allow our personal feelings to mix with our professional pride. It's a disservice to our clients and it's just bad business practice for us.


Make a Free Website with Yola.