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Breakbeat Paradise’s recommendations for achieving the very best sound quality delevering your mixes and pre-masters to us:
- Create the cleanest recording or pre-master possible(avoid distortion, significant background noise etc). Noise, distortion, rumble and other non-musical information in your recording will create problems in mastering and later uploading for streaming platforms. Strive for the purest, clearest recordings. You can always add color selectively to certain tracks but avoid capturing dense, congested color or “mojo” on every single track. Keep your mix open, dynamic and clean.
- Avoid heavy use of saturation and distortion. Distortion is often wide-bandwidth in nature which can presents several problems for mastering a track or uploading a mix for online streaming.
- Avoid overly dense or congested mixing. Make sure that you construct the pre-master or mixdown in such a way that each of the elements are clearly defined (have their own space in the mix) and that there is no congestion. The most challenging scenario is a mix with several heavily distorted guitars. In that case, it’s necessary to carve out enough sonic space for each guitar so that they can clearly be heard. If they sound like they are blending into one big guitar sound, then the sound will loose catch in the final stage.
- Avoid heavy limiting and dynamic compression especially on pre-masters. First, it adds harmonics(distortion, which is wide-bandwith) and for pre-masters this is best left for the mastering or you can hand it in as a reference master along with a clean pre-master. Many mix engineers like to compress to “glue” a mix together, and that’s certainly valid in some case, however when it is overdone, there simply isn’t enough sonic range left to master it proberly, or for encoders on streaming platforms, during upload to figure out for what elements can be safely removed.
- Keep peaks below -1dBF or even -2dBFS if you are working from a 24-bit file. Peaks that are at (or near) 0dBFS creates a problem for further mastering and when uploading for streaming it can end up having a lot of distortion or gabs on the transient highs.
- Deliver your pre-masters and mixes to us in a lossless format such as *.WAV or *.AIF. If you deliver a mix in lossy format such as Mp3 from the start for online streaming, there will be happening a re-encoding from one lossy format to another (this is called “transcoding” and it degrades the quality even further).