There are many things that count high on our priorities at Blue Pro. Customer satisfaction is certainly atop and subsequently we are continually surprised at some of the experiences that we hear from clients about their mastering experiences with various cowboy operations before they moved their business to Blue Pro. Some of these accounts involve established studios that don’t live up to their name and some are simply misleading outlets who are at the very least ‘misinformed’ (to be polite) on what true mastering is all about. The following are just some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls and some of the individuals and studios that can sometimes discredit our corner of the industry.
1. The Price: The old notion that if something is too good to be true it probably is applies here. If a mastering facility is charging $40 or £20 per track it is impossible that they will be able to deliver consistent world class results or have the high end equipment to even facilitate the degree of quality even if the engineers themselves were competent enough to make it a possibility.
2. Analogue Vs Digital: There are circumstances where processes are preferred in the digital domain but in very general terms if a mastering facility relies solely on digital equipment and plug ins to master your project this is a clear warning sign. It is not possible to recreate many of the artifacts that are achievable in the analogue chain in the digital domain.
3. E-Mastering Only: If you do not see an option to book a session in person then beware of using the facility for any online services. The notion of ‘e-mastering’ was originally set out with the intention of delivering truly great results to clients outside of a facility’s geographic area or for clients who simply prefer not to attend. Unfortunately this has also given rise to many cowboys who can masquerade as professional outfits from a distance with little comeback. We have even had our own photos lifted from our website that have been used on other mastering websites!
4. Engineer & Artists Credits: Be encouraged to verify credits with the facility. A list of credits does not always mean quality but at least you are verifying that there is some truth. We have seen albums mastered at our facility that are listed on our competitors websites, hoping that no one actually picks up the CD to see the truth!. Most importantly look for some sample audio to verify the quality of the work.
5. Names & Addresses: It may seem obvious but there are even some mastering websites that do not list any of their engineers or an address for their studio. Do not rely on PO Box addresses or anything that might put you in a situation in which you do not have the ability to easily make contact or visit the facility in person if the need arose. A good facility in all walks of life will stand by their work and not hide from their customers!