Mastering – Getting Started

Submitting Your Project to CLG Music & Media for Audio Mastering is Easy.

You must supply a mixed down, stereo master in one of the formats below. We recommend a hi-resolution format such as WAV or AIFF files at 24-bit/44.1K (or higher sampling rates) be submitted in order to achieve the best results from the mastering process. If a hi-resolution version of your audio master is not available, see below for a list of other acceptable formats.

Formats we accept for audio mastering
 We can accept your master on one of the following formats:
  • Audio CD
  • Data Files (wav, aiff, SDII, FLAC, etc.) on CD-R, DVD-R, flash drive, or via upload
  • Digital Audio Tape (DAT)
  • Mini Disk
  • DDP file sets (on CD, DVD-R, flash drive or via upload)
  • 1/2″ or 1/4″ Analog Tape

*Compressed file formats such as MP3, AAC, or WMA files are not acceptable as a source for mastering.

*It is recommended that processes such as compression, limiting, maximizing, etc. not be applied on the stereo buss during mixdown. A master that arrives already compressed and or limited greatly reduces the ability of the engineer to deliver the best sounding master possible.

Masters with excessive level, clipping or audible distortion may also prevent us from mastering your project to its fullest potential. Leaving 3-4 dbs of headroom during mixdown is a good rule to follow to avoid clipping and distortion on your master.

If any of the above issues are found on your submitted master we may request that you correct the issue and submit a new master before we proceed.

Handling audio masters

Handle all masters carefully, both before and after recording. Touch CDs only by the edges and keep them free of fingerprints and scratches that can cause data errors. Make sure your master is labeled clearly with your contact information.

It is very important that you download and fill out the CLG Music & Media Mastering Questionnaire, to help our mastering engineers get the most out of your audio master. If you are submitting a physical master please include a copy of the CLG Music & Media Mastering Questionnaire with it. If you are uploading your master you will be able to fill out a CLG Music & Media Mastering Questionnaire during the upload process that will be submitted electronically with your files.

Track listing form for audio mastering

You must complete the Track Listing Form included in our CLG Music & Media Mastering Questionnaire. Required information on the form includes a complete and accurate running time log listing all events (tones, silences, songs, outtakes, noises, etc.) as they occur. The Artist, Title, and Track Names entered on this form will be used to add CD-text to your CLG Music & Media master. Please ensure all information is accurate.

For CDs, the maximum length is 79:45 minutes. For programs over the industry recommended 78:00 total time, you must submit a signed disclaimer form with your order.

Additional audio master technical information:

Digital Audio Tape (DAT)

  • Digital Audio Tape: 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz sampling rate
  • Pre-roll: 10-15 seconds recorded silence (optional).
  • Calibration tone: 1 kHz at -12 dB (never at 0 dB).
  • Start IDs: sequentially numbered, placed at the start of each 
selection, one number per song.
  • Your dB meters should peak at 0, with no over levels, and 
must average above -15 dB (Red Book minimum standard).
  • Be sure your DAT and box are labeled 1/2″ or 1/4″ Analog Tape
  • 30 ips, 15 ips, or 7 1/2 ips.
  • Alignment (test) tones at head: 1 kHz, 10 kHz, and 100 kHz 
at 0 dB operating level.
  • Indicate type of noise reduction, if any, and include 
proper tones.
  • Leader tape at head and tail of tape (15 seconds minimum) 
and two to four seconds in between songs.
  • Tape slow-wound, tails out, in properly labeled box.