Middle mastering

Precision analogue mastering Studio in the South West, UK

Founded in early 2018 by mastering engineer and audiovisual artist Benjamin Lincoln, Middle Mastering provides artistic analogue music mastering for a diverse community of sound creatives across the UK and globally. With a clear focus on enhancing sonic character and artistic concept whilst retaining mix integrity, we create masters with depth, clarity and power using mastering grade analogue equipment from Prism Sound, Neve, ATC, Elysia and more... 

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Joseph Efi / 'Empty Lines' / Lowlife EP

Artistic Analogue mastering

Music mastering is often thought of as a clinical process. Engineers will make technical decisions that do not influence the sound from an artistic perspective. My philosophy is different. As an artist myself I cannot help but approach my work through a creative lens. If I didn’t follow this artistic philosophy to mastering, I would be neglecting months (if not years) of your artistry that has led you to this final step. I have chosen to use certain analogue equipment as the centrepiece of my mastering studio. These tools create a holistic system that has become my instrument. It is unique to me and the reason that my masters have depth, warmth and a tactile sense of space and drive. Regardless of your project’s unique sonic concept, respecting the intentions of your music and sensitively enhancing its character is at the forefront of what I do as a mastering engineer

Putting artists first

Before I started mastering music full time, I was an audiovisual artist creating projects and showcasing work in the UK. This put me within a community of independent and signed artists that I realised would benefit from a mastering service that puts artists and their creative visions first. All too often I would hear stories of mastering studios ignoring artist’s notes, providing unexpectedly poor results and charging hidden additional fees for revisions with little to no communication throughout the whole process; ultimately leaving artists feeling powerless and insignificant. 

 

For this reason, I wanted to start a mastering studio that empowers artists by giving them control. In this current landscape of machine-learning, AI and increasingly cheap, faceless mastering studios, the opportunity to work with a real human who puts your artistic vision above everything else is becoming rare. Middle Mastering is not a faceless studio; just take a look at our reviews, all written by artists like yourself. 

Online analogue mastering service

Recent clients

Kranky  |  Valley View Records  |  NTS Radio  |  Dungeon Deep Records  |  Red Van Records  |  Echoes Blue Music  |  Somethin' Else  |  Orphan No More  |  Jonathan Warman  |  Pin Ups  |  Montell Fish  |  Kathleen Frances  |  Thomas Erwin  |  Timothy  |  v e n n  |  Narrow Skies  |  Kieldfal  |  Chris Herbert  |  Matt Tondut  |  Lauge  |  Joshua Luke Smith  |  Antarctic Wastelands  |  Ybot  |  Applefish  |  Joseph Efi  |  Jacques Miché  |  Crows Labyrinth  |  Saros Sky  |  Spacecraft  |  Sullen Sky  |  Unknown Observer  |  Suntapes  |  Thomas G Richmond  |  I da m ie snp t  |  Box Productions  |  Kristoffer Wallin  |  Joseph Cazzulini  |  The Sans  |  Susie Mills  |  Milo Gore  |  Cameron Brooks  |  Ellis Green  |  Krokodile  |  Joel Clements  |  Izzy Olivey  |  MyselfXUs  |  Jacob Smith  |  Neurobrotxagt  |  Charlotte May  |  Akwatia  |  Amelia Dare  |  Jase Emeka  |  LA:TE  |  Two Hands | One Engine  |  Project Divinity  |  Danja  |  Hilyard  |  Timo Ji George  |  Jim Brundle  |  Hadjy B  |  Manuel Ferretti  |  Connor Patterson  |  Luihu  |  Throne Room Family  |  Herbicidal  |  Tower  |  Makoto Sakamoto  |  Nico Clarke  |  The Deep Shining Sea  |  AVOTION  |  Everything Safe Forever  |  Sonny Elliot  |  Hanna Glover  |  Eyolf  |  Matt Madison  |  Rafael Mesa  |  Alho  |  Sunken Grove  |  Løw Lux  |  Nick Borgen  |  Planespotting  |  Graver  |  Emma Broome  |  Oogie  |  Jess Caute  |  Beau Sam  |  Simple Man  |  Paul Bidault  |  Desolate Horizons  |  First Light Circus  |  Serpent Dream  |  Good Weather for an Airstrike  |  Norvik  |  Vignette Audio  |  and many more...

Prices

 

Mastering

CD album / Digital release

Singles / £65

2-6 tracks / £50 each

7+ tracks / £45 each

(for tracks UNDER 10 minutes in length)

£7 / minute of track

(for tracks OVER 10 minutes in length)

Stem mastering / £90 per track

(up to 6 stems / £15 for each additional stem)

 

+ Extras

Revisions: free & unlimited

(If a new mix is submitted: + £15 for each new mix)

 

Additional platform specific masters: + £15/track each...

  • Digital / FM radio master (incl. 'clean' radio-edit)

  • Vinyl or cassette premaster (96kHz 24-bit)

  • Apple Digital Masters (was 'Mastered For iTunes')

 

Available formats included within base price: + £0

  • up to 96kHz / 24-bit WAV or AIFF

  • up to 320kbps MP3

All masters are delivered at 44.1kHz /16-bit WAV files unless additional file formats are requested prior to booking.

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Studio Tools
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Digital
  • Plugins by Fabfilter, Elysia, Maag,  IK Multimedia, iZotope Ozone 7, Oeksound, Airwindows, SPL and Voxengo 

  • iZotope RX 6 Advanced 

  • WaveLab Pro 9.5 mastering suite

  • Reaper 6

Analogue
  • TK Audio Lizer 2 mastering EQ

  • Elysia Xpressor stereo compressor

  • NTP 179-400 custom-built limiter

  • Converters: Prism Dream AD-124, Benchmark DAC1 USB (Burr-Brown OPA627 mod), Prism Orpheus 

  • 2400 Audio Imperium Passive Monitor Console

monitoring

  • ATC SCM50A full-range monitors

  • Sennheiser HD26 Pro Headphones

  • Headphone amplification by Rupert Neve Designs

  • Crookwood VU meters

  • Custom designed acoustics

  • Cabling by Van Damme / Neutrik

FAQs

What is audio mastering?


Mastering is the final stage of audio production before a record or single is released into the world. I take your finished mixes and use some of the best analogue / digital equipment available to bring their overall sound in-line with music that is already released. If I am mastering an album or EP, I will also sequence each track with the perfect gaps of silence and with balanced tone and loudness. As a result, the overarching character of your project will be enhanced, finessed and polished. I will also make sure that your music sounds amazing on all systems, from full-range ATC studio monitors to cinemas to laptop and phone speakers. Mastering is a crutial time for you to view your project in the exact way that it will be heard once it is released. You will hear if any corrections are needed and we can work out the most effiecient way to make these either in the mastering domain or by revising the mix. Once the masters are approved, I can create a myriad of master files for every audio platform, from online distribution (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify etc.) to vinyl and cassette. If you're still unsure, go to my Instagram page @ middlemastering to listen to before & after mastering examples.




How quickly will I receive my masters after I have booked a session and sent you the files?


The average turn around for most mastering projects is approximately 1 - 3 working days from the time you upload the mix files. However, this timeline is subject to change depending on how much work I have on. To make sure that your project is sent back to you in time, please contact me at least 1 week before your release date / production deadline.




In what format should I send you the mix files?


Sample Frequency: Always keep the sample frequency at the rate that the audio was recorded / mixed. Because all of my work is done in the analogue domain, I can 'pitch' a mix at any sample rate (up to 96kHz) and then capture the master at the delivery sample rate (up to 96kHz) without using any sample rate conversion. This avoids all of the unwanted artifacts that SRC introduces, which ultimately change the tone and impact of your music. Bit-Rate: Keep the bit-rate as high as you can. If possible it should be no lower than 24-bit, however, 32-bit floating / fixed point files are even better. Try to avoid sending 16-bit files if possible. All files must be sent as lossless .WAV / .WAVE / .AIFF files with no file compression. Do not send compressed lossy or lossless files such as .MP3 / .MPEG-4 / .FLAC / .AAC etc...




In what format will I receive my master files?


Once your payment has been processed, the masters will be delivered as stereo WAV or AIFF files at any sample rate up to 96kHz / 16-bit or 24-bit. High quality MP3s can also be delivered up to 320kbps. Any number of file formats can be authored at no additional cost. If you do not request specific file formats prior to booking, the masters will be delivered at the CD and online distribution standard as 44.1kHz 16-bit WAVs. If you are releasing CDs, you will also receive an 'unlocked' DDP image that can be sent directly to the CD duplication factory. All files are delivered via Google Drive unless requested otherwise. If you require additional masters that are tailored to specific platforms, such as vinyl, cassette and radio, please see prices above or contact me via email or phone to discuss. I'll get back to you as quickly as possible.




Should I apply dithering to my mix?


If you are sending me 24-bit mix files please use dithering when rendering in order to avoid truncation distortion as you move from the internal resolution of your DAW (most likely 32-bit floating point or higher) to 24-bit. Dithering is not needed if you are sending me 32-bit floating point files.




How much headroom should my mix have?


My only request regarding headroom is that there are no peaks at 0dBFS (no clipping). Send me the mix that you love the most regardless of how much headroom it has. As long as I am working with the mix that sounds the best to you then I am happy. Ultimately, do what serves your music the best. For those who would like a general rule of thumb, mixes should aim to have peaks between -6dBFS and -3dBFS and should never clip at 0dBFS. This leaves a healthy amount of headroom for any processing that may be needed in the mastering domain.




How do I pay for your mastering services?


Once I have finished mastering your project, I will send you the masters as a DDP image that you can audition using a secure DDP player. The player allows you to listen to the mastered album as it will be played back from a CD. You will hear exactly what I hear in my mastering studio with the correct legnths of silence between each track. If you are happy with the way that it all sounds, then you will receive an invoice which you can pay via bank transfer. Once you have paid, I will then send you an upload link to the full resolution master files which are yours to release and distribute. The DDP player only allows you to audition the masters. You will not be able to use the masters in any other way until I have received payment and sent you the final master files. Just as a side note, the DDP file that you will listen to is fully encrypted and can only be played using the DDP player that I will supply. This is to protect your music from falling into the wrong hands and ending up somewhere you didn't expect.




What if I need changes to the masters?


Sometimes revisions are required. If so, I am more than happy to make these to the best of my ability within reason free of charge. However, if you need to make revisions / tweaks to the mix you originally sent me then a charge of £15 for each new mix sent will be added to your overall bill. To avoid any unexpected additional charges, please make sure that the final mixes you send are the best that you can achieve. Also please be certain that all mixes have been approved by everyone involved before sending. If you are unsure whether your mix is ready for mastering then feel free to send it over prior to booking a session. I'll gladly have a listen and, if necessary, be able to offer any advice on how it could be improved before we move onto the mastering stage.




Do you offer free test masters?


Yes, of course! I totally understand that handing your creation over to a stranger is a pretty daunting prospect… So, as a courtesy to all my new clients, I will master ONE track of any length totally free of charge. This is for you determine whether my style / approach to mastering your project is what you want. If you like my master, then we can discuss moving on to the next steps in the process. And if you don’t like my master, then no harm done! If you do decide to hire me to master the rest of your project then this first test master will always remain free. All you have to do is fill in the form below and upload your track via the link provided. I will typically get a test master back to you within 3 working days.




How do I send you mix files to master?


You can securely upload mix files via the upload link I provide here (there is no size limit). Your mixes are then automatically downloaded to my studio computer and I receive an email notification to let me know. Alternatively, you can use a file sharing service such as Google Drive, WeTransfer or Dropbox.




Can you review my mixes for free?


Yes. If you are unsure whether your mixes are ready for mastering then feel free to send them over prior to booking a session. I'll gladly have a listen and, if necessary, be able to give you some suggestions on how they could be improved before we move onto the mastering stage.




What about international payments (currencies other than GBP)?


I use TransferWise for all international payments. Any major currency can be used and all associated conversion fees are much lower than a standard international wire transfer. Please add roughly 1% to your total to cover fees.





 

Reviews

I've used Middle Mastering for a few of my recent releases and honestly would say its the best experience I've had working with someone to do my mastering”

Kieldfal | artist & composer

 

your first master is on us

As a courtesy to all my NEW clients, I will master ONE track totally FREE of charge. This is for you to determine whether my approach is right for your music. If you like my master then you can release / distribute it as you wish. If you don't like my master then there's no harm done...

COVID-19 UPDATE

Studio open as usual for all unattended sessions

Get a FREE test master by filling in this form...

I cannot work with .MP3 files...

Please upload full-res .WAV or .AIFF files

You will receive your test master within 3 working days...

(Haven't received an email? Check your spam / junk folder...)

Benjamin Lincoln

E  :  benjamin@middlemastering.com

P  :  +44 (0)7871 809817

© 2020 Middle Mastering.