Give your mastering engineer headroom and dynamics to help them give you the best sounding masters they can.
This image is from a track of a Latin album I was to start mastering last week but, having checked through the tracks which were limited by around 6dB at a guess (but not as hot as some mixes come in!), I contacted my client and discussed it.
Thankfully, after a quick phonecall, they were happy to redo the mixes to 24bit and with at least a few dB of headroom and no compression and limiting on the stereo buss (which had only been applied to make the track louder).
Hopefully it’s obvious which is which in the picture but the red one is the limited mix and the blue one is the new version of the same track. It now has room to breath and has retained all the dynamics and punch.
Next time you want your mastering engineer to cook up some amazing tasty masters, think about the ingredients you are providing to him/her. If you’ve already added too much salt, sugar, and chilli to the mix that cannot be undone then the meal isn’t going to be the feast it could have been!
As any good mastering engineer will say, if you have any questions, just ask. We want to work with you to put the final polish to your project.
As for this project? I’m now a happy M.E. and will master it later this week 🙂