Mastering can often result in a significant improvement for your music. However, the difference it makes for you depends on the quality of the engineer doing the mastering.

An inexperienced mastering engineer can only help with a few small improvements in the quality of your sound (if you’re lucky). Sometimes they can even make your music worse!

But, a pro mastering engineer is going to give you feedback and know how to make the right adjustments that results in a final “Hit” sound.

For this reason, let’s cover what you should look for in a top mastering studio:

1. Has a solid reputation. There aren’t a lot of mastering engineers who work for the big studios. Only a small number have gained their trust.

The reason is because the best mastering isn’t easy to achieve. It takes years of experience and even then you’ve got to have knack for the process.

Average mastering engineers are not hard to come by, but the best engineers are a rare find. When you come across an engineer who you can trust with your music, then you’ll want to stick with them album after album.

2. Has a wide range of experience, especially with your genre of music.

Every song has its unique quirks and only experience allows the engineers to know the best solution for every song.

Moreover, each genre of music is going to be slightly different. Your ideal mastering studio should be very familiar with your genre of music… and preferably be a fan.

This allows the engineer to give the best feedback and help get the creative juices flowing to bring out the best possible sound.

3. Has fast response times.  A good mastering studio offers you quick responses and once the work is done, they are prompt in sending it back to you.

A mastering studio should give your music a top priority and be devoted to achieving your final vision.

4. Has the right equipment and is skilled with it.

A common problem with many “budget studios,” which seem to offer a good deal (at first sight) is that they often don’t have the proper equipment to give your music the adjustments it needs.

And if they do have some of the equipment, then they don’t have the experience needed to get the most out of it – meaning your music turns out far short of what it could.

5. Guarantees you’re happy with the result.

A good mastering studio works to ensure that you’re happy… and you’ve gotten what you wanted (and more) out of the mastering process. So, if something is overlooked, you can rest assured that they will go back and fix it – so your music is a success!

About the Author:
Lorenz Vauck is an Audio Mastering Engineer, Musician, and Internet Entrepreneur from Dresden, Saxony, Germany. He is the Managing Director and Chief Mastering Engineer of XARC Mastering, one of the world’s first online audio mastering studios established in 2003.