M Double A Productions can accommodate just about any style of audio/music. We work with many artists of various genres, and many creative's in between. We are one of the best knowledgeable production houses in Chicago, and we’ll work to make sure your project is industry standard.
Wherever your project is now, we can help bring it to the next level. We offer vocal tuning, drum alignment/drum pocketing, drum sample replacement, trimming and clearing dead space, and a variety of ways to help clean up audio and organize your recording sessions.
Mixing starts after the recording process and sometimes includes the editing process, although editing can be a completely different process depending on the demands of the project. If your music was recorded with us, then you have nothing more to be prepared for other than bringing your, or your producer's artistic vision for how you would like your final mix to sound beyond our engineer's interpretation.
If you are bringing a session that was prepared at another studio, then we do have some tips to make sure we don’t have any problems.
- We run Pro-Tools 8 and there are multiple ways to transfer earlier or later version pro-tools sessions.
- Make sure when you are Dopboxing, or copying your session to a DVD or External Hard Drive you include the Audio Files folder and any other folders that your session may be pulling information from.
- If you are running any other audio program please consolidate each track into its own audio file so that each audio file starts at the beginning of the session. With those files we can import your music into our computer.
- A lot of times artists will obtain tracks from producers and record their own vocals on top of it. For the best possible mix-down from us, please try to get the tracked out version of song. This means that each instrument or part of an instrument has its own audio file (or track in a recording program such as Pro-Tools). Drums will usually be split up by Kick, Snare, Toms, Hi-Hat, Cymbals, Room Mics, Shakers, Bongos, and any other various types of percussive instruments that would be too long to list here. Guitars, Bass, Piano should also all have their own tracks. If you are given a song that is just one track (a single stereo file) this will not be sufficient for mixing, unless you are just doing a mix-tape project.
After the session is imported and pulled up into our computer each instrument might go under compression, gating, equalization, and various effects to make it sit in the mix properly. It will only take a couple hours at the most to get a general mix pulled up and then the creative mixing and editing process comes into account where the mix will be adjusted and tightened up for the final product before mastering. Mixing can create some pretty amazing results if done properly!
Mastering is essentially the process of applying the proper and necessary techniques to a final mix in order to better prepare the audio for the final production. This process includes creating a master CD for a duplication or replication facility, which will finalize the project in a sellable form. Digital Services uses a combination of digital, analog equipment, and/or software to process your audio into an industry standard commercial format. To ensure project compatibility.
We have noticed a trend in some of the problems that come to us in all types of sessions and in the interest of saving time for our clients and our engineers, which ultimately in the end saves our clients money, please read our tips on audio preparation for mastering.
- Often clients that send us files over the internet will only send a compressed version of the songs (mp3, wmv, and other streaming audio formats). These formats are not accepted by us and are very discouraged as they will not benefit nearly as well as full quality formats would from mastering. These formats lose a lot of quality and cannot store all the information that a song requires to properly reproduce the original recording. If your file is only 3-10 megabytes big or only takes a minute to send to us, it is probably the wrong file type. We recommend exporting your final mixes as broadcast wave file formats in 24 bit depths and 48 khz sample rates or 16 bit and 24 khz at the least.
- The other big problem we run into with a lot of sessions is the use of compression, hard limiting, and other mastering effects on the stereo bus/master fader in a final mix. When you are doing your final mix down, please take off all plug-ins on the stereo bus/master fader and don’t worry about the song not being as loud or as bright as another song you hear on a CD or Radio. It is our job to make your song that loud and bright, but we cannot do that if it has already been done to a certain point. Those mastering plug-ins can deteriorate the music and cause it to clip if used improperly. Certain elements of the music can also be lost if those plug-ins are used. We recommend keeping the peak levels of your mix at -3db at the most.
The mastering process is an art form like all other music elements however doesn't take nearly as long. The first song can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the length and complexity of potential problems in the mix, then after that the session usually progresses pretty quickly. We can normally finish 2-3 songs within 3 hour!