FAQ

 

MASTERING

What is a DDP Image?

DDP Image (Disc Description Protocol Image) is a format for specifying the content of digital media owned by dca inc. And can be recorded on cds, dvd, hds or pendrives. It is commonly used for delivery of premaster discs for duplication. The DDP Image identifies and describes the data that will be recorded on the glass master, which is where cds are replicated from. Even when the PMCD goes to the factory, it only serves as the source for generating the glass master. The DDP protocol helps manufactures getting a complete and consistent description of everything that has been done in the mastering process. The DDP Image carries not only the audio image, but audio and data. The ddp image is licensed, kept and updated by dca inc. And it is free.

What is a PMCD Image?

The PMCD (Premaster CD) is the CD that will be sent to the factory and will serve as the main source for replication. It is a old format and besides the audio, it also has metadata, as the ISRC code and CD Text. Many CD pressing plants normaly accept PMCDs. Actually; all of them do accept it since it is the most commonly known format for sending a project to the factory. Fun fact: audio cds were not designed for that purpose, only for content distribution, which means they should only be sold in stores. The PMCD is basically an audio CD with data information and it is very susceptible of errors when on the pressing plant.   DDP Image should be the industry professional standard format since it is an identical image of what has been done on the mastering, with audio and data. Some factories do accept your work in DDP, but you better check it before sending.

What is a CDDB?

A CDDB “Compact Disc Database” is where itunes and windows media player, for example, “search” and “compare” the cd information, with gracenote server’s data. Gracenote owns CDDB. With this information the software is able to show the name of the artist, cd title, the right tracking list, and other information such as composer name and music style. In order for the data to be shown on this software you need to send the information to gracenote servers or you can put it yourself at home.

What is the CD Text?

CD Text is information such as artist, song title and album title added to the PMCD. When this information is added, it can be seen on systems such as you car's CD player.

What is the ISRC Code?

The ISRC Code (International Standard Recording Code) is an alphanumetic code that consists in 12 characters and it is like the ID number of the song. Throughout this code one can identify the copywrite owners of each song. If you already have the code it can be added during the mastering at no additional cost.

What is a Sstem Mix?

Stem Mix is a mixing method consisting of creating stereo mixing groups of drums, guitars, keys, vocals and effects etc.

How can I make Stem Mixes?

Instead of copying one stereo mix, you can copy several. The exemple used here uses five. Be careful not to use more thant that because the mastering process can become a mixing process. There is many ways of doing this, one of them is by copying and soloing the channels you want on the groups. Remember to solo the channels with all the effects of each channel, such as reverbs, delays and parallel compression. Important! I do not work with more than six groups. The groups can be like this: Stereo group 01: Drums Stereo group 02: Bass Stereo group 03: Guitars Stereo group 04: Keys Stereo group 05: Vocals Stereo Group 06: Effects.

How can i send the information to CDDB?

The easiest, most popular and at no cost method is by uploading the information using iTunes. Open iTunes and look for “Submit CD Track Names”, you got to look for it because everytime the software uptades it moves around. Usually it is better to wait until you receive the album copies from the pressing plant before submiting the information to CDDB since they usually compare the running time, name of artist and other kind of information and it may have subtle differences between the pmcd and the disc from the pressing plant. This is not a rule, but can happen.  

I am playing the CD on my computer and can not see any the names on it!

Even though all the data has been added on the mastering process it will not show on iTunes because it has not been sent to CDDB yet.

Can you add the ISRC and CDDB on the mastering process?

Yes, the information can be added while the mastering happens, that is why it is important you carefully doble check the spelling since this information will be added to the cd through copy/paste on my system, at no additional cost.

What kind of material do i get after my project has been mastered?

The tracks will be available for download on a 24bits/44.1khz wave format. And if you want, you can receive your project as a DDP Image as well, but make sure the pressing plant accept this format.

How long does it take to do the master?

On average it takes two business days starting on the scheduled date.

Mastering for iTunes.

This is something everybody is talking about. There is a lot of stuff about it on the web – some are good and some are bad and wrong. In the music business today, for the first time in history, we have digital format sales surpassing cd sales. So, considering this it makes sense you have you project mastered for the internet. In this case the Spotify and Apple Music lead the market.

But what does it mean mastering for iTunes?

iTunes mastering is a process whereas the audio is mastered following Aapple audio standards. In order for this to professionally happen you will need some very specific tools and an engineer able to encode it. It is very differtent than simply pushing a botton on iTunes to convert your music to an AAC 256kbps with variable bit rate format.

Can i send my project on a mp3 format for mastering?

It is not the ideal since you should not use formats that compress the mix for mastering, such as the mp3. If all you have is the mix on mp3, you can not convert it to Wave or AIFF, only the original mix can be sent on those formats, in this case send the mp3 anyway.

What is the ideal format to send my project for mastering?

Your project can be in Wwave, SDII (Sound Designer II) or AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format), preferably in 24bits, not in 16bits. The sample rate can be 44.1khz, 48khz, 88.2khz, 96khz or 192khz. 90% of what i get is on 44.1khz and 48khz. Important! If you started your project in a low resolution, it will be useless to convert it into a higher resolution, it will only turn it into a bigger file, but will not give it a better quality. If there is a different sample rate between tracks send me as it is, do not convert your mix because of that.

What is the mix ideal volume when sending it for mastering?

A mix with an average of -14db RMS it's great.

Should i apply limiters, equalizers or compressors on the final mix?

You can use it if you are confotable of the sound you aim for and leave enough room for the engineer to work on the master. Do as you wish. Remember, once you have eq or comp on your mix, you can not revert the process while mastering. If you are not sure about it when copying your mix, leave it for mastering.  

MIXING

How long does it take to mix a song?

It takes a day for each song on an average starting on the scheduled date.

Vocal tunning and editing are done while mixing?

No, this should be done on post production before mixing.

Should I send a rough mix?

Yes, do it whenever is possible, it helps a lot, specially for me to know if nothing is missing and to get an idea what you have in mind as well.

Should I record vocals with compressor and effects?

Yes, you can use the compressor, but use it with discretion. Just remember that effects can not be removed once you apply them. If you are 100% sure you want the vocals recorded with this effects until the job is complete you can record like this. I personaly prefer the vocals without effects or ambience.

Should I record bass and guitar with effects and distortion?

I prefer guitars and basses with their tone set. To send five or six channels of the same guitar might look like a safe idea, but it actually leads to doubts about the tone and it means more work when mixing. We lost a lot of time trying different channel combinations and also takes sometime to make sure we have no phasing issues during the process, this amount of time could be used for the music and art and not for technical things. If you are not sure about the final tone I prefer to receive a track with distortion and another channel with the direct box signal– the clean channel with just pickup signal, because if there is a problem with the tone I can reamp the signal to get a better tone.

What does reamp means?

Reamp is a process where the recorded signal from the direct box is redirected to the amp. Doing this, allows me to record another amp sound using the same performance.

How to name my files for mixing, should I?

Please, this is extremely important! Name all files correctly; otherwise we will waste a lot of time finding out about each one. Here is a good example: Kick, Snare Top, Snare Bottom, Hit hat, Tom 1, Tom 2, Tom 3, Tom 4, Over Head L, Over Head R, Room L, Room R, Ride, Bass, Gtr 1, Gtr 2, Gtr Solo, Synth, Piano, Loop, Perc1, Perc 2, Lead 1, Lead 2, Lead Double, BGV 1, BGV 2. Remember, this is just an exemple, but is far way better than getting audio files like this: Audio01, Audio02, etc...

How do I send my project for mixing?

Teh best way ever, and cheapper is uploading all files using DropBox or Google Drive. When uploading files it would be a good idea place each song on its own folder. For exemple: if your project has twelve songs, twelve zip files, and them sip all sip files into a major sip file.

In what kind of format should I send my tracks for mixing?

You can send your sessions in Protools files or consolidated audio files in 44.1hz or 48khz and in 24bit whenever is possible. To consolidate means getting a channel with many parts of audio into one thing, all with the same start time, even if the channel has an effect that starts only in the end of the song.

Can one be present during the mixing?

If you want to listen on your car you can do that as well, the streaming system I use is compatible with iOS systems.   Do you want to download the wave file? That is fine; it does not take more than five minutes, depending on you internet speed of course.

Do you charge by hour or song?

For song. Working by hour in most of the times, it gives a false impression that if you finished the project quickly, somteimes it sounds like you are rushing things to get rid of it. Or if it takes a bit longer, it gives the impression you are fooling around just to get more hours. These are two types of unpleasent situations that can be avoided when charging by song.

What is the price of your services?

It depends on each project. That is why I like to have a good conversation before giving any estimate. Each project has its own demands, and I do not follow a pre formated method. I do not have a “one size fits all” formula. The best way is to talk before, that is why I believe it is better you send me an email, talking about your project explaining the details you have in mind.

Why are you called Lampadinha (Little Light Bulb)?

It is a childhood thing before i started working with music, but a lot of people call me Lamps, wich is the nick of my nick :-).