Online Mastering for Compact Disc and Digital Media


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Online Mastering is the final process your music passes through on the journey from inception to the final listen. This practice ensures that your songs have the dynamic enhancement necessary for file reproduction and distribution.
Modern recorded music needs to sound its best on a wide variety of playback systems, from earbuds to high-end amplifiers. Your work will not be “mastered online” using a computer algorithm; Creative Audio Works will master your songs in a professional mastering studio – to achieve the highest possible quality.

Stewart Adam, Sound Engineer, has over 30 years of audio experience. Under his direction, Creative Audio Works provides outstanding audio mastering services at affordable rates.

Contact Creative Audio Works for more information

Free Mastering For One Song

You are wondering how your original music will sound mastered with Creative Audio Works? We will master one song for free. Once you hear how your track sounds, you’ll want the same treatment for all of them! u’ll want the same treatment for all your tracks! Contact Creative Audio Works for more information about your project or upload your file here through our We Transfer account.

Online Mastering and Restoration for Re-issue

Many record companies reissue “old-school” analog recordings in digital formats. Creative Audio Works has provided audio restoration services for over 15 years, and now, with our online mastering service, we can help you reissue classic recordings, too.

Here are two example of a before and after mastering for the release of Steel Rail Blues and Come On Home Live At The Rat 1977, preformed by the The Johnny Barnes Group

The Process

When you prepare to send the final mix of each song you want to master, please turn off effects, compression, equalization, loudness maximizes, multiband processing, etc. on the mix sum buss. Check the mix to ensure that no clipping has occurred while recording. We recommend that you leave at least 3db headroom before clipping. This means the peaks of the signal should never exceed the -3db mark.

For professional mastering results, we require WAV or AIFF files of at least 16 or 24-bit resolution (24-bit resolution is preferred) with a sampling frequency of 44.1 kHz or better. Please do not upload any file formats reduced to MP3 or equivalent lossy audio formats.

When your work has been checked and approved, you will be notified regarding payment. Once payment is received, mastering will begin. We use Square Up to securely process payments (see below for rates).

During the mastering process, adjustments depend on the musical genre, instruments, and mixed levels. The mastering engineer will provide the following support:

  • Objective perspective
  • Stereo Field Optimization
  • Tonal balance 
  • Dynamic compression and limiting
  • Noise elimination (between tracks)
  • Fade adjustments on each song (as needed)
  • Optimized spacing between tracks for best listening experience
  • Add ISRC codes for distribution rights
  • Add CD-Text information Addition
  • Create a Master DDP file.
  • Special attention to noise reduction if needed (additional cost)

Once mastering is complete, your tracks will be delivered as digital files for internet delivery. Depending on your needs, we can provide Disc Description Protocol (DDP) or a CD replication.

DDP Image File Option

The Disc Description Protocol (DDP) format is standard for delivering projects to CD duplication and replication facilities, as it is the most reliable method for submitting your project to a replicator. These are not music files that can be played on a standard CD player..

Audio CD-R 

The audio CD delivery format is similar to DDP in terms of sound quality; however, it can be played on a standard CD player, unlike DDP. Depending on your needs, you may prefer one replication master over the other.

ISRC Codes (International Standard Recording Code)

ISRC codes are assigned to songs and encoded onto a CD for tracking purposes (royalties, etc.). Each song will have a unique code. To obtain an ISRC code, you’ll need to register with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA charges a one-time fee of $75 to register. To get your codes, visit the  RIAA website

Mastering Rates*

1 Track  –  $ 75.00
2 Tracks – $145.00
3 Tracks – $210.00
4 Tracks – $270.00
5 Tracks – $325.00
6 Tracks – $375.00
7 Tracks – $420.00
8 Tracks – $460.00

Each additional track – $55.00 (example 10 tracks will cost $570.00)

Red Book CD Master. $45.00
DDP Master. $45.00.

*Additional audio restoration will be charged at $75 per hour and billed in ¼ hour increments after that.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about file preparation or the mastering process.

If you are ready to begin your mastering project, visit our Project Submission Online form to begin.