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Why Mastered For iTunes Matters In Music World?

There are many consumers and pro-audio press, who are well aware of the introduction of Mastered for iTunes technique. But there are some music producers, who do not know about the details of this procedure, as well as its advantages and utilization in the real world. This article will help you to know about Mastering for iTunes program and importance in the music industry.

Which are Better- Masters or Premasters?

As like the other digital music distribution channels, iTunes really do not require the master, they require the premaster. The mastering process is related to both’s ides, but in an operational manner, it is having two discrete divisions-

  1. The process of premastering has all the aesthetic decisions that are related in making the set of mixes for the audiences. The premaster helps to answer all the questions that are related to what the track is going to sound like.
  2. Then next is the process of mastering, it is the process of making the delivery media, that will allow further the listener to access the material. In the case of mastered for iTunes, this includes the encoding on the AAC file of Apple and then adding metadata. At London mastering studio, you can see this type of mastering service.

It really does not matter that you are dealing in a direct manner with the iTunes, or you are self-released artist having the aggregator, iTunes always require the digital audio premaster so that the professional can perform the premaster in-house. So, now what professional really require is that how you can know that your song’s master is going to be like. This is what the mastered for iTunes is all about.

What is Codec and Compensated Premaster?

The main objective of the digital audio codec is to take an HD resolution or CD-quality file and then generate an encoded file that has the same quality but with the reduced size. If you are music is going to be sold on the Apple’s iTunes, it should be encoded by Apple using the bit rate about 256kbps AAC-LC format regardless of other’s opinion. This gives rise to a problem that is Apple AAC is not lossless. The sound of the master is different from that of the premaster. The key to managing the off-site encoding problem is to get a reference of the mixes and then premaster through the help of the round-trip codec plugin that offers the real-time auditioning of the Apple AAC. Apple has offered the AURoundTripAAC Audio Unit for this particular purpose. Additionally, the Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec offers the similar facility to the users. The main aim of using this tool is to create the encoded masters, but when the professional want audition by using the same technology, it will be done in the off-site. If the workstation in which you are working do not have the technical specs for running those tools, Apple has offered the of convert utilities. This tool helps in the process of off-line encoding using the codec technology.

The Best Type of Practices to do-

With the help of Apple AAC code, you can get better and high-resolution digital audio input that is better than the CD-Quality input. Various reviews confirm the advantages of this tool. Apple’s practices for mastering for iTunes display the recommendations of the WAV file deliverables like the-

  1. A perfect master that is having 24-bit 96kHZ resolution
  2. Do not up sample file to a higher resolution than the normal format.

Almost all the professional mixers and the engineers use the reconstruction metering for managing the inter-sample audio levels. Lastly, Apple wants 24-bit premasters with the original sample rates with the peak headroom.

CD-DA is not a primary music delivery. The mastered for iTunes practices are not at least esoteric. Even they are the good standard for the virtual premaster delivery. The process of mastered for iTunes is one of the simple standards to offer predictable good results for the music distribution channels. It is an excellent chance to create a pro audio community to get good habit for accommodating music distribution.

This is the detailed description of the mastered for iTunes importance and how it is used in these days. So, before you are hiring the mastering engineer, for Professional music mastering, be sure that he knows mastered for iTunes as it is widely popular nowadays.

Have a Clear Overview on Barcodes Used In Music Industry

If you realize that your item will be distributed and sold through the usual wholesale or may be the retail channels, you should then definitely consider paying the additional cost for the bar codes. The barcodes that are generally used in sales and marketing come in two different formats- one is the EAN13 and the other is the UPC-A. The first one is common. The second one has the advantage of being readable in most of the places in Europe and USA. But the EAN13 is more generic to the European market.

EAN-13

There is always a common misconception regarding the barcodes. It is that the information that is given about the numbers and the products that are related is held on to some database at a particular place. But, in the actual terms, it is not the case. It is true that we always keep the records of the numbers that we have allocated to each of the products. However, the barcode is pointless to anyone unless someone like retailer or the distributor buy the product and at the point when enter the stock control system. Here, the barcode is tied to the product details like the artist name, record label, catalogue number, price and the title. The barcode now becomes meaningful to that particular retailer or the distributor. Online mixing and mastering services first keep in mind how to use the barcode.

Where can you Get the Barcode?

The GSI UK administers the barcode number system. Now the GSI has the scheme for all the musicians and the labels for getting the individual barcodes. Alternatively, you can also get the EAN format barcode that is given on the products that are manufactured on behalf of the customers. If you give a small administration fee, you will be getting the barcode number that will be allocated to each of the product. This actually does not include creating the barcode graphic.

On the other hand, if you are selling the download version of the album on the site, you may be already having the barcode number that is allocated to the album. This will allow you to use the same number on the product, but it is important to find the barcode at first. If you are not having the barcode facilities in the design software, you can then add the barcode to the artwork and send it to the music engineer for mastering music online.

Know how you will Design the Barcodes for Artwork

If you want to design your own artwork and you are having the barcode facilities in the design software, you can then create the barcode graphic from the barcode number and then add to the artwork.

The edges of bar should be sharp, so that the resolution of the barcode is less than 600 dpi. When the barcode is created in the design programme, the barcode is having the standard size. The size is reduced normally to 80% and cropped to the top half of the bar, as the entire vertical height is not required. Be sure, that the barcode color is having a grey scale or 100% black.

Jonathan Wyner of M-Works Mastering discusses about ISRC, mastering – metadata, quality checks, UPC and and other important information

The GSI, the original source of barcode is the one that creates the confusion between the UPC and EAN. The UPC code is the original format for the product barcodes.  The demand of barcodes is increasing day by day in countries like Europe, Asia and Australia, and thus the country codes are added.

The UPC code is the 12 digit number and the EAN is the 13 digit number. The EAN number is the number that is associated with the album, merchandise item, EP or the single track. The ISRC code is used for identifying the individual recording but the UPC or the EAN code is used for identifying the group of recordings or products.

Apart from these barcodes, the copyright licensing is very important. Before manufacturing several copies of CD, cassettes, vinyl and DVD, you require thinking about the copyright licensing. Without the copyright licensing, anyone can use the tracks anywhere. So, it is very important to have a copyright for each of the individual tracks.

Audio Mastering Explained at Red Mastering Studio London

Audio Mastering
Audio Mastering at Red Mastering London

What is Audio Mastering?

Audio mastering is the final and last step in the process of creating that perfect sound that we so often hear everywhere. While to us mere mortals, it may only be seen as a complex post-production behind-the-scenes step, the actual process of mastering audio is a lot more interesting and intriguing than it sounds. Simply put, audio mastering is the process of taking a mix and preparing it for distribution, but as we all know, nothing is as simple as it seems and there are many factors that feature in audio mastering.

Audio mastering as we know it was first born into the music industry with the introduction of the first commercial tape recorder (Ampex 200 model) in 1948. Prior to this, all audio recordings were made by printing directly to a wax disc in real time and the role of the mastering engineer was not a separate discipline but that of the recording engineer. But with the appearance of the tape recorder, a new era of audio mastering was born.

And if 1948 was not exciting enough for the music industry, Columbia records also introduced the Long Play (PL) Vinyl record that same year, which meant that each vinyl could play for more than 20 minutes per side compared to less than 5 minutes per side previously.

As the entire record industry was quick to move with the emerging technology everyone soon adopted recording on tape as a new industry standard and a separate engineer was needed to transform the tapes to a master.

The Mastering engineer (or transcription/transfer engineer at the time) was given the difficult task of preparing master discs from the tapes they were given by the recording studio from the recording sessions. Since the belief at the time was that the tape-to-disk transfer was a technical step, many industry professionals had the view that a mastering engineer had to simply replicate the sound on the tape and was not allowed to use any creativity or artistic license during the mastering process.

Pop Music and Audio Mastering

During the pop music boom from 1950’s to 1980’s, audio mastering became seen as a highly prized skill allowing the mastering engineer to use creativity and more freedom as it was found that by making simple adjustments to the equalisation (amplitude of sound at different frequency bands) prior to the cutting of the master, the record would sound much better.

Before the 1990’s all form of audio mastering had to be analogue and done using electro-mechanical processes, but since the creation of digital technology, audio mastering can now be done in a studio using a digital audio workstation (DAW), and while there are still many engineers in the music industry that specialise in analogue mastering, the use of the digital audio workstation is proving to be one of the most popular choices in the industry today.

Audio mastering requires experience and critical listening, in this modern age of technology, there are many software tools that exist in order to make the process easier and clearer. A good mastering engineer needs to have technical knowledge as well as great equipment. The accuracy of speaker monitors as well as the listening environment will have a huge factor in the outcome of the final master. Experience and skill is needed to apply corrective equalisation and dynamic compression in order to achieve a well-balanced record with optimum translation for all playback systems.

Having an organised audio mastering engineer is always a good idea too as it’s always worthwhile making a copy of the master recording in case the original master is damaged or lost (in the industry we call this a safety copy).

With all the technological advancements in the music industry, the process of audio mastering has become a lot more creative and the role of the audio mastering engineer has now become to shape and enhance the music instead of simply replicating it. This makes audio mastering a far more interesting and creative process that is seen as a crucial step in the production of audio and music.

Let’s see what modern-day digital audio mastering entails here.

Online Music Mastering Using Professionals

The final touch to any music track you work on should be its mastering, and in the internet age access to professionals is easier than ever. Music mastering at a commercial quality level is available for all utilizing several online experts who can manage the engineering and mixing of your composition, be it a single or full CD. The richness of sound achievable through proper digital mastering is essential and is an expected part of publishing recordings today. For initial samples you may be able to perform do it yourself mastering, but for competing in the real world, do not neglect using a pro to complete the post production. A poor master can cause the music track to be rejected as amateurish, solely due to defective sound quality.

It is thus important to secure the services of a professional who can step you the client through all aspects of the processing of sonic elements that make up the tracks you seek to distribute. The convenience of using an online expert operating a modern music mastering studio space is the convenient platform it provides for communication and feedback, as the master track is improved or finalized. The client can specify what they want using an order or feedback form, and also phone, chat or otherwise dialog with the engineer while the job is underway.

The web based communication in turn makes physical distance irrelevant, as both the work and discussion of same can be simply exchanged across counties, oceans and continents. Enhancements to the quality of the sound become a cinch under this set-up. Among the aspects that get improved are the overall volume (a pro at music mastering will make sure all the audio samples are at the right level), the sound clarity or sound separation of the final recording, balanced EQ and other factors. A professional can fix any unbalanced aspects and walk the client through the whole project.

On the better sites the job order forms to begin the process are separated into different categories, depending on the style or genre of music mastering that is intended. The prospective client fills it out, uploads the audio and stays in contact with the engineer. Each track or tracks may take a few days to finish depending upon its complexity, the number of other jobs in queue, etc. Within a few days, you can download a proof of your mastered project. Upon final approval you can use the mastered WAV files to submit your sample or finished track to iTunes, or a record label for traditional publishing.