Frequently Asked Questions:
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS? WHO IS YOUR CHIEF ENGINEER AND HOW DO I KNOW MY MUSIC WOULD BE IN “GOOD HANDS”?
As of August 2022, we have been in business for 26 years. Our chief engineer, Doug Diamond has been recording engineering, mixing, producing and mastering music for most of his life. He has tons of experience in practically every type of music there is. He was on staff as an engineer at world-renowned Ocean Way Recording in Los Angeles from 1991-1993 after graduating with honors from The Grove School of Music (also in L.A.) in 1990. Doug has worked with many top recording artists such as: Natalie Cole, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, The B-52’s, Meatloaf, Michael Bolton, Mick Fleetwood, Michael Jackson and many, many others. He has also worked with some of the top record producers in the world such as, T-Bone Burnett [details…], Don Was and Hans Zimmer to name a few. Doug has also been involved in a number of Hollywood films such as “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle,” “The Power Of One,” several Disney films and even Levi’s Jeans national television commercials. Diamondisc Audio opened in August of 1996 after Doug relocated to Nashville in 1993. So, we KNOW music – and you’re in the right place…
WHAT IS MASTERING?
In short, mastering is the process of taking your source (usually a CD or digital file) and making it sound as good as possible through compression, EQing and various other processes and to bring it up to “industry standard” with regard to volume levels from song to song (and overall volume) and prepare a radio-ready CD Master that you can use to replicate/duplicate (“press”) more CDs from, or sell as digital downloads.
WHAT IS “ONLINE MASTERING” AND DO YOU DO THAT?
Only every single day! All that really means is that we would deliver digital files to you via the web instead of sending you an actual CD Master.
WHY DOES MY PROJECT NEED MASTERING?
Your project, for all intents and purposes may sound o.k. as is, but when it’s mastered it can then become equivalent to a major label-quality release. Shouldn’t your project be the best it can be? We can help!
WHAT IF MY PROJECT ONLY REQUIRES CERTAIN “FIXES”?
No problem – Diamondisc Audio approaches every project differently in order to retain that project’s unique characteristics. We have four different mastering packages available to meet your needs and your budget.
SOME OF MY SONGS HAVE ALREADY BEEN “MASTERED” BY ANOTHER COMPANY, BUT I NEED DIAMONDISC AUDIO TO MASTER SOME NEW SONGS TO GO WITH THE PREVIOUSLY MASTERED SONGS. CAN YOU DO THAT?
Well, yes we can. However, those songs are going to sound different than the ones we master. So, we would always recommend having us master those songs as well if only to match volume levels and EQ. Everyone “masters” differently and the chances are really good that they would sound a lot different than the songs we master for you.
MY PROJECT HAS “SKITS” IN IT. DO THESE COUNT AS “SONGS”?
We will master your skits for you for free along with your other songs if you choose Mastering Package ‘D’.
IF MY PROJECT IS GOING TO BE MASTERED IN 32-BIT, DO MY AUDIO FILES NEED TO BE 24-BIT OR 32-BIT WHEN I SUBMIT THEM TO YOU FOR MASTERING?
No they don’t. We’ll take care of making them 32-bit files. We would prefer that you send us 16-bit or 24-bit / 44k or 48k Stereo interleaved WAV or AIFF files. So, you’d send one-file-per-song. Only send MP3 or WMA files as a last resort; if that is all you have (see below).
WHAT FORMAT TYPES DO YOU ACCEPT FOR MASTERING?
Pretty much any type of audio. Go here for a list.
CAN YOU MASTER FROM MP3’s OR iTUNES FORMAT?
Well, yes if we have to and that’s all you have (if you have no other full-quality alternative such as WAV or AIFF). MP3 and iTunes format (AAC, MP4) use lossy data compression to make the file sizes small (this means an algorithm takes some of your valuable musical information and “throws it out”).
WHAT IS YOUR TURNAROUND TIME FOR MASTERING?
Package ‘A’ and ‘B’ projects are usually 4-5 working days, while Package ‘C’ and ‘D’ projects usually take 7-10 working days depending on work load. Singles and EPs take less time though. SAME DAY turnarounds are usually available for an additional charge of $100.00 per project (plus mastering charge). NEXT DAY turnarounds are also usually available for an additional charge of $50.00 per project (plus mastering charge). We are fortunate enough to be very busy at the moment, so if you are pressed for time getting your project mastered, PLEASE CONTACT US before submitting your project to find out exactly how long it will take us to get to it.
DO YOU OFFER FREE SAMPLES FOR POTENTIAL NEW CUSTOMERS SO I CAN COMPARE BEFORE MASTERING TO AFTER MASTERING TO HEAR THE DIFFERENCES?
Yes, if you are thinking about having us master your project in Package D only. We require a 1-minute sample to master in either .WAV format or a minimum 128Kbps MP3 format transferred over the internet only (do not mail CDs for free samples). Please do not ask us to master a full length song for free. We will only master a 1-minute sample. You will NOT receive an actual CD of the sample – only a file, but you can then burn a CD of it if you like. We’ll send you a link via our WeTransfer.com page. If you can only send us a full-length song (you can’t edit it down to a 1-minute sample) – that’s ok; we will pick a 1-minute section of the song to master and you will receive a sample of just that piece of the song. Please limit your 1-minute sample to just ONE song. Do not put several short clips of different songs in the same sample. Limit one sample per customer. Sorry for so many rules, but free is free. We no longer do free samples for mastering packages other than ‘D.’
DO YOU HAVE AN ONLINE DEMO COMPARING BEFORE MASTERING TO AFTER MASTERING?
Not at this time. We may in the future, but we want to do it the right way and not just put up a bunch of MP3s for you to have to download or stream. We think that in order for you to have an accurate picture of what we can do mastering-wise, we would need to supply REALLY BIG files (that have great detail and clarity) for you to download and most people wouldn’t want to mess with that. However, please refer to the question above. If you would like to hear what sort of work we do, supply us with a 1-minute sample of your music and we’ll master it for you for free. We figure if we master a sample of your music you should really know it better than any online demo we could provide and thus get a better “audio picture” of what we do here.
DO YOU HAVE AN FTP SERVER SO I CAN UPLOAD SONGS DIRECTLY TO YOU FOR MASTERING (“ONLINE MASTERING”)?
Not any more. We have moved all digital file transfers to the WeTransfer.com platform instead. Please go here to upload/send files to us. You may also use your favorite large-file sending service such as YouSendIt.com, Dropbox, or something else to deliver your files to us. We will use WeTransfer.com to send files to YOU however (if you’ve requested/paid for that instead of a CD Master).
IS THERE A LOSS IN QUALITY IF I UPLOAD MY AUDIO FILES TO YOU INSTEAD OF SENDING YOU AN ACTUAL DISC TO WORK FROM?
There is no quality loss by simply uploading your files to us. There is no data compression or any other lossy compression used in the upload process. It’s simply taking a file that is located on your computer and making a copy of it by sending it to us. However, if when you made your original file you used data compression (like putting it in MP3 format) then the “loss” that occurs happens on your end. If possible, please send us uncompressed WAV or AIFF files to master from.
I’M ONLY MASTERING 1, 2 OR 3 SONGS AND I WANT TO DOWNLOAD THE MASTERED WAV FILES. WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR SHIPPING?
With the $10 shipping charge upon checkout from our shopping cart (for up to 3-songs), we can either send you a CD (which will take 2-3 days for you to receive it after we complete the mastering) OR you can have your Mastered WAV files sent to you and you can download and burn your own CD the day we finish the mastering.
CAN YOU DELIVER A DDP 2.0 IMAGE (DISC DESCRIPTION PROTOCOL) TO MY REPLICATION PLANT?
Yep, no problem. We do have to go through an extra step to prepare the DDP 2.0 Image Set, so there is an extra $25 charge in addition to mastering. but we’ll even upload it for you, saving you the time and expense of mailing or overnighting a CD Master to them. Just choose this option in the shopping cart upon checkout.
CAN I “SIT IN” WHILE YOU MASTER MY PROJECT?
Nope, sorry. The reason for this decision is due mainly to mastering schedule conflicts and the additional time required for sit-ins. Besides, by the time most artists and bands are ready for the mastering stage for their project, they’re usually ready to turn it over to a “fresh set of ears” and a professional opinion (us!).
WHAT KIND OF PAYMENT TYPES DO YOU ACCEPT?
Credit Card (VISA, MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DISCOVER), PayPal, cash (if hand delivering your project to our location in Nashville – don’t mail cash), personal checks, corporate checks and money orders.
CAN I PAY FOR THE MASTERING AFTER IT IS COMPLETED? CAN YOU BILL ME?
We require full payment upfront prior to mastering being completed and/or prior to your CD Masters being shipped out to you (or mastered files delivered). All sales are final. Please see our Terms & Conditions page for details.
CAN I BARGAIN OR BARTER WITH YOU WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PRICES?
We’ve priced our services very competitively and feel that for what you get for your money – it’s already a great deal. With regard to Mastering – we spend the time needed to work on each song/project to make it the best it can be. We don’t cut corners and we give each song the attention it needs, but you still only pay the flat/per-song or per-project rate. Other audio mastering houses charge a per-CD or hourly rate (instead of per song) for full EQing and Compression, etc. To us, it seems in that case it would be very easy to miss things or gloss over things just to “get it done and get it out” and we don’t want to do that. This is not an assembly-line process here. Our work is based on what YOUR project needs. We want to provide a service to our clients that keeps you coming back in the future. We want to build an ongoing relationship with our clients, not just provide a one-time service – that means you need to be pleased with our work!
WHO PAYS THE SHIPPING CHARGE BACK TO ME?
We charge a flat rate of $10.00 to cover shipping and handling of sending your CD Master(s) to you (2-3 day delivery to most parts of the U.S.). You can also choose Express Shipping ($20) or Guaranteed Next Day shipping ($35) for your mastering project upon checkout if paying online.
HOW LONG WILL YOU KEEP MY PROJECT ON FILE?
Your project will remain on our hard drives for at least 1 YEAR to allow for additional CDR copies to be made if you need them – or that “last minute” change. Other arrangements can be made – such as backup to Data CD or DVD, etc.
DON’T YOU ARCHIVE EVERY PROJECT YOU DO AND KEEP MY PROJECT “FOREVER” INCASE I WANT TO MAKE CHANGES?
No, we don’t. We simply don’t have the storage capacity for that amount of data or physical CDs. When we master your project, you have the option to get a CD Master from us for safekeeping and archive it yourself. If you lose your CD Master or your data files, that is not our responsibility – sorry. Now, we WILL keep a copy of your CD Master on file if we duplicate a Short-Run of CDs for you (for at least a couple of years); that makes reorders easy for both you and us.
DO YOU DUPLICATE AUDIO CASSETTE TAPES OR VHS VIDEO TAPES?
No, we don’t. We do recommend other companies to do that here in the Nashville area however.
WHERE IS YOUR EQUIPMENT LIST AND GEAR PHOTOS?
The most important element in the mastering process is the engineer. A great engineer can make pretty much anything sound good. That’s what we do at Diamondisc Audio. We prefer to focus on the quality of our work as well as our vast experience [more…] instead of a long list of gear that many people would not bother to read. We use top-of-the-line hardware and software tools from names like (in alphabetical order) Alesis, Avid, Bias, KRK, M-Audio, Mackie, Magix, Neve, Panasonic, Pultec, RML Labs, Sony, Universal Audio, Waves and many more to get the job done right. We know how important your music is to you and we don’t cut corners. We’ll get you the sound you want – even if you’re not sure what you’re looking for – and with pristine results to.
DO YOU HAVE PRO TOOLS?
Yes, we do! This means you can send us your Pro Tools project files and audio files and we can mix, edit, bounce down – anything you need!
ARE YOU CURRENTLY HIRING IN ANY POSITIONS? (ENGINEERING, PRODUCTION, WEB DESIGN, OFFICE, ETC.)
Nope, not at the moment. We are however ALWAYS looking for qualified Sales people. So, if you’re interested, please contact us.
WHO DESIGNED YOUR WEBSITE?
We did! More info…
WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS HOURS?
Go here for more info.
WHAT IF MY QUESTION ISN’T ON THIS LIST?
Just send us an e-mail or give us a call and we’ll gladly answer any other technical (or non-technical) questions you may have.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST… (more of a comment than a question)
We pride ourselves in great customer service and will work with you to get you what you want. We will make every attempt to be flexible when it comes to the service we provide to our customers and the turnaround time you need, but please remember that it is not wise to rush through the mastering process. Oftentimes, we are the last ones to hear your project before it is replicated, so give us the time we need to get it right. Thanks, and we look forward to working with you!