budget for mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by nodell, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. nodell

    nodell Guest

    hi all,

    i'm working on tracking/recording/mixing some material for my band and I was interested in what everyone feels is an appropriate budget to set for mastering. is mastering usually charged per song, per disc, per hour of work? we'll probably have 9 to 11 songs.

    - neil
  2. brad

    brad Guest

  3. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    You might find someone as low as $50 an hour or you could spend $400 an hour. Spending more money won't guarantee that you get a better product. I know people that charge in all the ways you mentioned and some people work faster then others.
  4. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    A lot of my mastering business comes from the "little guys" who are trying to create a demo on a budget. I always charge by the project after hearing what they have as a starting point. I also charge by the project in my studio. Before I built my first studio in 1974, I discovered it is hard to be creative with the clock ticking. I figure a certain amount of time per project and quote an amount based on that. I also quote additional charges if the time alloted for each song is surpassed. I won't allow the band or performer to practice the song on my time. They need to be prepared.

    My mastering is based on somewhere around $75 to $100 per hour. Again, my target is the small folks who need the help. I have remastered cassette tapes to CD for as little as $150.00 for ten songs. I always wished I could have found somebody like me when I was first starting out with recordings. I spent thousands on crap studios.
  5. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    I just noticed your in NJ. If you want the names of some local people who have and haven't butchered things on me drop me a line. MooseAudio@aol.com
  6. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    I know it's kind of a very old thread, but the question is still very actual
    although prices for budget mastering (mind it's over 9 years since ) went dramatically down,t
    today you can have an album mastered for 300$ (around 12 songs average)
    and it's possible to find a right guy for the job!
    on the other hand, there's many folks who own very basic audio setup in their basement,
    call it - 'studio' and offer mixing and mastering services via internet - online mastering;
    but it's quite easy to spot a good engineer - simply anyone has to offer free sample preview,
    so when you are looking for budget mastering and you have few studios/engineers to choose from -ask them for audio samples,
    then choose the one you like the best,
    simply as that:)
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Not quite true...Just offering audio samples does not necessarily make anyone a "good engineer". FWIW
  8. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I think the 'free sample' craze of late is contributing to the watering-down of the whole industry. Mixing, mastering and otherwise. I know studio owners that actually have bands approaching them asking for 4 and 5 hour blocks of time (at no charge) to "test drive" the studio.

    Not saying how any engineer may handle a sample of one track vs. how they'll handle a series of tracks...

    Hey doc - Can you give me a bypass and if I like it, I'll come back for the quadruple bypass?

    Have 6 different places paint one panel of your car and then pick one?

    I can't remember who it was -- (JtB?) who likened it to going downtown and asking "ladies of the evening" (not as he put it) for free "oral satisfaction" samples (also not as he put it).

    It's also one thing when "We've narrowed it down to [you, another place and yet one more place] vs. the whole form-letter that's going out to twenty or more facilities. Those are ridiculous. It was also the beginning of the end of a relatively popular mastering forum not just a couple years ago (a formerly "reasonably respected" forum turned into a collection of "hang-arounds" where 90% of their posts consists of "PM'd you!").

    Sorry. I have a bad cold and I'm irritable today.
  9. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    John, I am with you with all my heart!
    I am also annoyed from time to time have a clients who before the free sample are very 'active' and when they get the sample,
    simply they gone like stone in the water...no thank you - or ..... whatever, even you did not like what I did - what a problem to say thanks ?
    I call it 'beauty competition' when there's a song to master and 50 folks off GS forum jumping on it, and then PM'd you is all what most of some forum users do, their whole input to community
    I agree, but I a m not Bob Ludwig or ted Jensen, if I don't give free sample - I don't have a chance to get client;
    just question - what you would do with a client who after receiving free sample says - great job, I love it, but I won't use your service now, 'cause I don't have a money.... - ?:)
  10. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Used to happen all the time. "Yours is the best, but we can't afford your services" -- Sometimes actually followed by something similar to: "But this gives me some great ideas that I'm going to try with my Waves Mercury Bundle."

    The exact opposite happens too -- "The band liked yours on a blind listen, but the producer wants (Gateway / Sterling / etc.) for the marquis value."
  11. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    seems like they tactless...:(
    before starting free sample I try to explain potential client that either free or not - I have to spend exactly same time of work to master a sample,
    so - please do not send me a 45 sec. snippet, I need whole ready to master mix, last revision,
    so when you like my work - I will send you whole track after received payment,
    Some time ago I started Xcell calc. and I got all clients (those for sample only too) there,
    it's a massive amount of info - very useful,
    I agree with what you said - free preview is pita for us, but it's standard for many 'small players' like myself -
    I do it, and in most cases - client is very happy and use my service;
    sometimes you simply waste time for ppl who don't bother to say thank you...
    I used to send full song, but after few times being 'used' stopped it completely
  12. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I have mixed feelings on samples. On one hand it gives the client the ability to hear what I can do for their material on the other hand lots of people use this as a way to hear what a mastering engineer would do to their material so they can pick and chose and then do it themselves following your guidelines. I even got a cheeky email after I had done the trial mastering asking what equipment I had used and the SETTINGS for that equipment as the person wanted to try and do his own mastering. For a while I was getting a lot of requests for trial mastering but lately that seems to be slowing down. Doing sample mastering is really a mixed bag for most mastering engineers and most times it does not lead anywhere. FWIW and YMMV
  13. Red Mastering

    Red Mastering Active Member

    absolutely agree!
    I got very similar request - 'what plugins you used and what settings ?'
    but for me (as I am at the beginning of this long road) it is a way I get clients approval,
    most of samples I did ended with a client paying for a job,
    and this is a market's demand for today - free preview...(tesco style:)
    so we have to follow, or if you are very well established....then surely no
    I reckon Chris Athens, or Bob Ludwig don't do free samples,
    and I hope 1 day to be in such position too:)


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