So yeah, I've been RECORDING my band for a few weeks now, putting in time here and there. We are finish up vocals, unfortunately, we wanted to have our CD release show on May 12th (They will be pressed at discmakers.com, 1000 copies). We couldnt afford to professionally record it, because the average listener won't complain about slight quality issues, if the music is good, it is good. We're more of a live band anyway, but we want our CD to be great. So we're running out of time, 1000 copies is already at least $1,500, we still need to buy a trailer for touring this summer, and we still need to buy our new set of merch. We're slowly progressin as far as a band, our music as evolved, our tastes, our professionalism on and off stage... What im getting at is... I have been recording my band using my Presonus Firebox w/Cubase LE, and a mixture of an SM57, SM58 and MXL990...doing instrument by instrument, track by track... I've taught myself how to use this, and I am by no means a professional, though I do seek to become that level. We're wondering, how much better can we get it if I send it to a mastering engineer? Is it worth sacrificing the time, not to mention $500+... Can I just tweak it by ear, and know that in my bands opinion, it sounds good (compared to other local bands with okay demo CDs). I have many layered guitar tracks, many EQ settings on certain guitars and many types of reverb on certain tracks to make a mixture of different sounds, we have everything the way we basically want it. What can a mastering engineer do ON TOP of that to make it better? Is there any way I can really do this in this short amount of time? Our band honestly thinks it is fine the way it is, but how will this compare? Also, another huge concern is the format, discmakers wants a CD-R of the music, but should I export this as 24bit 96k .wav files? Each song will then therefore be at least 100MB, meaning I could probably barely fit this on one CD. This is probably a question to ask the company, but I dont really know what to do after this. I hear about people running a certain chain of things for the final master, but with this version of Cubase am I limited? Im lost and I need help quick Thanks!