Demo Guidelines

Mastering Demo Submission Guidelines

The following are our submission guidelines which we strongly recommend you carefully follow before sending a mix to our participating mastering studios for a mastering demonstration.

Apply Some Common Sense

Make sure that you have listened to your mix several times and that you are happy with its present state. Incorrect level differences between separate instruments, including vocals, are too difficult and sometimes impossible to fix during mastering. If the sound of the mix doesn't stand on its own, then that's a telltale sign that your music won't benefit very much from the mastering process.

Check levels

Make sure your signal has no audible DISTORTION & that your volume level is not too LOUD. Examples: submission-levels
  1. The stereo signal above peaks at about -12dB and has plenty of headroom for one to do one's job. This volume level is very good, but is not necessarily better. You can peak as high as -0dBfs so long as there is no signal clipping.
  2. The stereo signal peaks at -0dB. It doesn't clip, but if this is the average level, not peak, then there is hardly any headroom for one to work with. One can still work with it, of course, but mastering benefits in certain situations will be too little.
  3. The worst case scenario, the stereo signal peaks at above -0dB and clips the meter. One may still be able to work with it, but that's not ideal for professional mastering, especially if what one is looking at is not peak but the average sum levels (of the L + R channels) which could also mean that there is too much clipping and frequency distortion. We don't recommend you submit mixes like that. But, if you still do this, expect the overall loudness to be about the same. Most likely however, that it will be declined for being too loud for demonstration purposes.
TIP: Mix your music again and lower the stereo output so that the highest peak does not exceed -3dB. Sometimes by simply by-passing peak limiters or maximizers like L1, L2, TC Waves Finalizer, etc. the problem is solved.

Check format

Resolutions accepted: 32-bit float, 24-bit and 16 bit . Sampling rates accepted: 96, 88.2, 48 and 44.1 kHz (same sample rate as the mix session).
TIP: Mixing or any audio processing "in the box" creates 32-bit float audio regardless of the recording bit-depth or session settings (in most modern DAWs), so please save "in the box" bounces/renders as 32-bit float.
File types: send stereo interleaved (even if mono material) as WAV or AIFF audio files only. MP3 is a lossy, compressed file and thus, not ideal for mastering. If you want to supply us with MP3 files anyway, post your request but do not expect full participation by all mastering engineers. Make sure that your mp3 was encoded at least 192 Kbit/sec (stereo) and at 44.1 kHz/16-bit.

Be aware that the higher the resolution/sampling rate, the longer the upload time (Between 1 to 2 minutes each song depending on your connection speed).

File Names: do not upload music with generic file names, for example: 'file-01', 'Track-1', or 'Song 1', etc. We prefer you rename your files to match your name, or mix name, whole or in part of the file that you are submitting for processing (e.g. john_doe_mysong.wav). Files without proper names could end up being erased by our upload system.

Legal Notice and Disclaimer

  1. Please do not upload music material that you have no rights of use.
  2. We reserve the right to decline a request for mastering demonstration if any material fails to meet our submission guidelines, or that we deem unsuitable for mastering.
  3. You hereby grant a limited license to The Directory of Mastering Studios ("DMS") and its participating mastering studios, to post or publish in good faith, and where appropriate at our Support Forum, any samples or audio clips of our mastering demonstrations, submitted by you for either educational or promotional purposes only.
  4. You agree to post a detailed feedback about the work performed on your mix in good faith and within 24~72 hours of reviewing your downloaded mastering sample preview. Failure to comply with this last requirement might get you, and your IP address suspended from accessing this site.
If you understand and agree to all this, please continue with your upload.