how to prepare your files for mastering.

Please consider the below guidelines before submitting your track for mastering.

  • File Format: Audio files can be submitted in stereo (interleaved) .WAV or .AIFF formats.
  • Bit Rate: 32-bit float audio files are strongly preferred, 16-bit files are OK only when 32-bit float (or 24-bit) files are absolutely unavailable.
  • Sample Rate: Please submit files at whatever the original recording and/or mix session is at. Don’t change the sample rate of your files before sending and don’t convert mp3s to WAV for mastering. Use true WAV files.
  • Peak Level: Please be sure that the mix files have reasonable headroom to work with and are not already at a loud level. It’s hard and sometimes impossible to do anything useful (sonically) to mixes that already have a high RMS (average volume) level and consistently clip or hit 0dBFS.
  • Master Buss Processing: This is often case-by-case, as it’s easy to overdo compression/saturation/etc on the master buss. I don’t advise removing it completely, as it may lose the intended vibe. As long as the overall mix level/DAW output is not hitting or exceeding 0dBFS, and there is no limiting on the master fader or anything else preventing the levels from exceeding 0dBFS when they otherwise would, the levels should be acceptable for mastering.
  • File Format: Audio files can be submitted in stereo (interleaved) .WAV or .AIFF formats.
  • Please don’t send mix files that have already been “pre-mastered”, normalized, or made extremely loud using digital processing. It’s understood that in some cases, certain plug-ins on the master fader/ buss can be very important to the sound, but if you are adding an L2 Limiter (or something similar) simply for the sake of loudness, it’s preferred that type of processing is removed before making the final mix files for mastering.
  • Don’t convert mp3s to WAV for mastering. Use true WAV files.



It’s important to know how to prepare and submit your mixes so you can get the best sound for your songs. There are a number of audio mastering tips that will help you prepare your mixes for mastering. Here are a few things to consider.

Eliminate Noise on the Mix

As you go through your mix, eliminate any noise or pops that may be in each track. Use fades as necessary to cut out any spots that may just contain recorded noise. Cleaning up individual tracks when they’re not in use within your mixing sessions can help prevent the buildup or exaggeration of unwanted noise after mastering. If this is done in the mix stage, it will keep the overall noise level down when the mastering engineer begins to equalize and compress the mix.

If you’d like any equipment noise or hiss to be removed or reduced during intros, outros, or other quiet parts where any hiss/noise is usually more noticeable, please be sure to include a sample (at least 1 second) of ONLY the hiss/noise (with no music or other sounds) before or after the song.

It is strongly recommended to very carefully triple check the final mixes for any stray noises, pops, and clicks that may become more noticeable after mastering.

Keep Your Mix Clean and Dynamic

Overusing processors especially dynamic processors (compressors) on the master bus can destroy a mix and make it difficult, if not impossible for the mastering engineer to make a great master. Unless there’s a specific sound of a master bus processor desired for the mix, it’s best to keep the master bus free of outboard processing or plugins. If master bus processing is used, make sure to notify the mastering engineer of its type and settings.


The loudest part in a mix should peak at no more than -3db on the master bus. You’ll want to remove any pre-mastering processing from the master bus, such as a limiter or stereo enhancer. The overall volume should sound low. We’ll raise it during the mastering process. This allows me to create the proper dynamic level for radio play, CD, or mp3 duplication.