Thought you guys might be interested in reading this. We've had a little disagreement based on between how we advertise to prospective clients, and how we advise genuine clients who we have an interest in ensuring their product is the best it can be. The former are faced with a multitude of misleading advertising, and the latter deserve honesty. This is the first draft of a document where I outline amongst all our staff how we advertise and advise on mastering. I'd be grateful if anybody could point out anywhere they think I am misinformed or misleading as I don't have any intention of creating an unfair ethos, simply need to deal effectively with competitors yelling 'we can master' at my clients where me stating honestly 'we can't' isn't a fair representation of the truth. ***** There is a lot of confusion about mastering in general and XX thinks that XX & XX disagree with me - in fact we are all on the same page, and this is that page. This is our policy on mastering. FOR THE PUBLIC / ADVERTISING Every other man & his dog advertises themselves as a mastering studio. Therefore I feel so do we (this is the place where I think XX thinks we disagree). I've mastered albums for a band to a perfectly acceptable level just using Waves. We've bought and paid for L1 and associated bits, so I think we are entitled to use it for commercial gain especially as people are using T-Racks and claiming the same benefits. Since the last time I was asked to master audio (and I made it perfectly clear what I could and couldn't do) we've invested in the Buzz SOC1.1, the Manley Massive Passive, the Sebatron preamps (useful for adding tube warmth across a tube bus) and better clocking, amongst others. Our 2-channel system is therefore rising in relevance. While I am always limited on space, I like to use the words world-class in reference to our equipment, because it is as good as anything else in the World. However we do not offer world-class mastering. What we actually offer is (my terminology and one that is increasingly used in the recording community) FINALIZING. So for advertising, we can use the words MASTERING STUDIO and if they end up on the same line as WORLD CLASS then that doesn't hurt us. However the distinction is that although we can Master audio to a generally acceptable level, your Mix studio should not be the same as your Mastering Studio. DEFINITIONS - MIXING, MASTERING and FINALIZING I define in simple terms, the difference between a mix and a mastering studio as this - a mixing studio spends its £100,000 equipment budget on 16-32 channels or thereabouts. A mastering studio spends £100k on 2 channels. Therefore a dedicated and true mastering studio can offer a far higher level of experience and equipment to be brought to bear on finalizing a 2-channel stereo mix. The finalizing part is what most bands consider mastering to be - evaluating 4-10 stereo tracks in a good listening room, ensuring they fit in terms of coherence*, and bringing them up, musically, to a comparable listening level and power/strength/punch as other comparable tracks. Overlooked in mastering is the format and conversion aspect together with any reparative EQ or FX which can be performed to a general rule at higher sample rates and bit depths, from more widely varying audio formats. *coherence is especially relevant where tracks have been worked on in two or more mix studios before the final album is brought to bear. This practice is related mainly to internationally collaborating artists and therefore outwith our ken. If coherence is overlooked by virtue of the fact audio has been produced in our studio or is coming as lossless digital media (by far the most prevalent) then we are equipped to perform the finalizing part of the work. FINALIZING This is text that should be sent, spoken or reworked and published, for the attention of any client contemplating using us to take them from instrumental performance to recorded media. Although we advertise as a mastering facility as part of our overall abilities, it should be noted that the ability to do this comes from a full understanding of the term. If you wish us to both record, mix and master for you we would respectfully point out that the 'mastering' part of the process should by its nature be performed by a secondary facility, one that has committed the bulk of its investment to dealing with 2-channel stereo final mixes rather than 16-32 channel multitrack audio. The statement above should make it clear that such a facility would obviously have greater power to manipulate audio with an upper limit of 2 tracks. However there is a great prevalence of freelance amateurs or semi-professionals professing to offer full mastering service without having actually built a dedicated mastering studio. Therefore in deference to those studios who have actually invested in a proper mastering facility we prefer to term our service 'finalizing'. We offer a treated and acoustically neutral listening space with a quality monitoring chain to enable excellent evaluation of final tracks. Using extremely high quality 2-bus outboard effects including the Manley Massive Passive Equalizer, the Buzz SOC1.1 optical compressor, hte Lexicon PCM70, and combining these with high-level digital audio processing including the Waves suite, we are able to take your final mixed tracks and polish them to a commercial level. This process includes an overall EQ evaluation to ensure coherence across the album or single, compression without artifacts where necessary to raise overall perceived volume, hard limiting to bring audio to a -0.3dB cap, and UV22 dither to produce digital media which will output to CD with the best possible transversion from multitrack to 2-track audio. All of this processing can be done at 96kHz 32-bit floating point in the digital domain with analog interconnects using the very highest quality Canare cable and RME A/D/A conversion. We also offer digital-to-tape-to-digital if tape authenticity is considered part of your ethos but final product will be digital. In the real world this equates to the best service an artist on a limited budget could hope for. However if budget permits we would always suggest engaging a seperate house to master your audio. If you wish to use Verden for both mixing and mastering we would recommend engaging a seperate engineer to offer a fresh pair of ears, and for band members to participate in the evaluation by means of a comparitive analysis of audio on as many different mediums as possible - i.e. taking detailed notes while comparing tracks in car stereos, mono radios, cheap transistor and high-level surround systems. We obviously own all these systems and will provide informed opinion.