What is mastering?

Mastering is the last creative step in the record production process.  Because of my place in the production chain, it allows me to listen to your music with an unbiased ear.  I listen for balance in context.  As human beings we have an absolute necessity to communicate.  My job is to interpret what it is a song is trying to communicate to the listener, and make that translate as flawlessly, powerfully, and as viscerally as possible across a variety of playback systems.  To bring out the best in your music while obeying the golden rule – do no harm.

How are you different?

When needed, I like to do more than what is considered to be ‘traditional mastering’.  Years ago mastering was born out of necessity, and employed basic tools to meet simple needs.  I believe modern music can benefit from more than just Equalization and traditional Dynamics processes.

In addition to these mastering techniques, I also use non traditional techniques to further enhance your music.  Simply put, why only use the same old tools to improve your music, when you could also use new and innovative tools and techniques?  Anyone can make your music loud these days, I’m here to make it better.

What are your rates?

Please use the Contact page to tell me about your project and I will get back to you shortly.

What is the typical mastering process?

Upon final submission of your mixes along with any notes, ISRC, UPC, and sequence information, your Main approved mixes will be mastered, sequenced, Q.C.’d, and output to your desired format.  Mastering includes traditional techniques such as tonal balance (equalization) across the frequency spectrum, dynamics processing, and adding gain to achieve any desired loudness.  Non traditional mastering techniques can also be applied while carefully creating a context or cohesiveness between the different elements of your project.

Your songs will then be uploaded to you for your approval.  This is known as a ‘reference’ or ‘ref’.

You download your Digital Ref.  Listen to it carefully, check my spelling, the spaces between your songs, everything.  Is that tom-roll too loud?  Communicate any desired changes (if any) back to me based on what you hear, feel, or think.  Recalls and alternate mixes (within reason) are free of charge.
After final approval of the mastered files, any corresponding ISRC / UPC information is added and your master (if applicable) will be delivered to you in your desired format.

Here at DeYoung Masters I master your music for a wide range of formats including but not limited to Apple Digital Masters, CD, Vinyl, Cassette, YouTube, and High Resolution Digital Distributors (HDtracks, Lossless streaming sites, ect.)

What is Apple Digital Masters?

DeYoung Masters is an Apple Digital Masters certified studio.  In 2012 Apple introduced it’s Mastered For iTunes program.  There were 2 major improvements that were made when MFiT came into existence.

With Apple’s new Mastered For iTunes tools, I can now hear exactly what your music will sound like when your fans buy it directly from iTunes, and make informed creative decisions during the mastering process based on what I hear.

The Apple iTunes encoder is also now accepting higher resolution files than previous versions, and spitting out encoded music that sounds so good most trained ears struggle to hear the difference between the encoded material and the source.  This means that we can now deliver Apple Digital Masters with a resolution as high as 96kHz 24bit for iTunes to encode.

The result of higher resolution delivery formats and the foresight of exactly how your finished product will sound, has lead to better and better sounding digital masters.

What if I’m unsure about my mix?

Send it to me and we can work together to make sure anything that would be “better fixed in the mix” is taken care of before your mastering session.  I want your mixes to sound as best as possible because it ensures your masters will sound that much better.

What’s the best file format to submit my mixes?

24 bit .wav files of any sampling rate are preferred.  (32 bit is becoming increasingly popular!)  Analog / Digital sources of a different nature please contact for details.

What if I use a compressor / limiter on my 2-bus?

I believe your mix isn’t done until it sounds the way you want it, and if 2-bus processing is a part of that then it is a part of your mix.  As a general rule of thumb, if it imparts a sonic quality that you find complementary to your project, leave it on.  If it’s just there to make things louder, take it off.  Any other questions; consult golden rule – do no harm.

What are ISRC codes?

An ISRC code (the International Standard Recording Code) is a unique code that can be issued and assigned as a permanent I.D. for a specific song or recording.  They play a large role in royalty distribution, cataloging, and theft prevention.  If you are on a record label the label typically provides these codes for you.  If you are an independent artist you have the option (not every project needs ISRC encoding) of registering your songs and assigning these codes yourself.  More info can be found on them here


Why don’t the track titles show up on my computer?

iTunes and other digital music providers use a 3rd party company called Gracenote that indexes/logs data like song and album titles for them.  You can find info on how to do that here