Online Mastering for Compact Disc and Digital Media


Picture 5 of 5

Online mastering is the final process your music passes through on its passage from inception to the listening experience. Mastering will ensure that your songs are set to reproduce proper tonal balance and dynamic enhancement for digital distribution. Simply said, mastering is what makes your assorted group of songs into an evenly mixed recording.

The popular notion that mastering is primarily about optimizing levels, has unfortunately drawn many engineers, as well as novices, into the mastering arena. The outcome has resulted in overly compressed and processed tracks with borderline distortion. These days especially with the growth of home studios that may not have the luxury of an acoustically designed studio,  mastering has become one of the most important steps in the process of creating a file for digital distribution or compact disc. 

Modern recorded music needs to sound its best on a wide variety of playback systems, from ear buds 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 1 Song

Wondering how your original music will sound mastered  by Creative Audio Works? We will master one song for free.  We are confident that once you hear firsthand how your track sounds after being mastered by Creative Audio Works, you’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 analog recordings from a bygone era into digital formats. Creative Audio Works has been providing audio restoration services for 15 years and now with our online mastering service we can help you with your reissue of classic recordings.

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

During the mastering process there are many adjustments that are made depending on the musical genre, instruments, and mixed levels. Some of the expertises the mastering engineer will provide include:

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.

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

You will be notified regarding payment once your work has been checked and approved. 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 a series of data files 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 thereafter

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