The source tracks (or “Songs”) are loaded into a Digital Audio Workstation, checked for technical errors (such as incorrect word-length, dropouts, cut tops & tails, DC Offset) and arranged in the desired order. If noises are present they will be removed, in consultation with the client.
After assessing the audio and careful listening, the Mastering Engineer makes any necessary artistic changes to the audio; by applying equalization to correct the frequency response, compression to shape the dynamics and limiting to prevent clipping and attain the desired loudness. Other processes possibly used are the manipulation of the stereo image and use of exciters. Pixie dust added to taste. Dithering concludes the mastering chain.
Track gaps and track volumes are adjusted to establish the flow of the Album. Before writing the final master, the sub-codes that indicate starts and pauses, ISRC Codes, EAN-Codes and CD-Text, are inserted. This is referred to as PQ coding.
Delivery of a master for CD replication is via DDPi (Disc Description Protocol) file set. Delivery for online distribution as WAV or AIFF files, and/or export into any format you can think of, at no additional cost.