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Topic: Mastering Budget?

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  1. #1

    Mastering Budget?

    Hi,
    I would like to know if $1000 budget is enough for mastering 10 songs?
    I've been searching around couple mastering services but when it comes to knowing my rough budget, they seems like running away from the deal.

    hc.

  2. #2

    Re: Mastering Budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by hangee_77
    Hi,
    I would like to know if $1000 budget is enough for mastering 10 songs?
    I've been searching around couple mastering services but when it comes to knowing my rough budget, they seems like running away from the deal.

    hc.
    Mastering is a big part of what I do professionally, I would be happy to master your project for you for considerably less than that. Visit my profile for my email address, or just PM me and we can discuss your project.

    Dan

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Mastering Budget?

    I also have done quite a bit of mastering. Actually, $1000 is a little low...I get $1200 for even local band albums.

    Dan, why would you work for so much less than a standard rate? You're a really good engineer. I wish you and the previous poster all the luck in the world in your deal, and hope that it comes out well, but that is some serious lowballing pricewise. If you put ten hours into it, which would be the minimum I would put into someone's album, you're at $100 per hour. So, either you start working for a very low rate, or you have to start cutting corners.

    I'm curious how you master an album for less than $1000, and come away with a decent wage.

  4. #4

    Re: Mastering Budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    I'm curious how you master an album for less than $1000, and come away with a decent wage.
    You're right Bruce, I should charge more, but I feel $350.00 an hour is a rip off. I did a little experiment with Bernie Grundman mastering, and proved to my client that they wasted a ton of money just to have his name on the CD. That is not going to sell more CD's. I feel that I can not charge a "going rate" because I don't have that name like Bernie, or other bigtime mastering engineers. You're right though, $1,000.00 is very fair, especially considering the advice a mastering engineer gives to the client about mixing, it will make all the difference, not to mention his own mastering.

    Dan

  5. #5

    Re: Mastering Budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by hangee_77
    Hi,
    I would like to know if $1000 budget is enough for mastering 10 songs?
    I've been searching around couple mastering services but when it comes to knowing my rough budget, they seems like running away from the deal.

    hc.
    If you want top of the line, it will be more like triple that or more. A lot depends on how good your mix is and how picky you are.

  6. #6

    Re: Mastering Budget?

    I understand that having a CD mastered is expensive, that's why I've not had any of my work professionally mastered yet. I guess that I'm wondering why it's even a problem with you that Dan wants to help out by making such a gracious offer. Isn't it up to Dan to charge what he wants to charge?

  7. #7
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    Re: Mastering Budget?

    I agree maestro that Dan is a very gracious and giving person. We all know that from his great contributions on the Garritan side of things. That said, Bruce is just looking out for all of us. He's one of the few here who make a true living from music and there is a reason for that. This goes back to scoring for too little or for free. If we lower the percieved value of what we do as composers, engineers, techs-in-general, eventually no-one will be able to do it for a living. We have to hold a high standard. Then we can be charitable as we see fit, which, Bruce has been on many occasion with his vast knowledge and time. I mean this all in the most humble and kind way but I'm serious at the same time. I have been making the transition to fulltime composer for a year and a half and it's starting to get close. I wouldnt be able to say that if I hadnt been charging money all the way here. Not to mention that the tools we use are way expensive. Figure what it is that you need to make to pay all the bills and then make a schedule of growth for your studio and how much that will cost per year to keep as current as you want to. It's not cheap. We are worth it. You are worth it. Dont be shy about taking compensation for your work.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Mastering Budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by moviemaestro
    I understand that having a CD mastered is expensive, that's why I've not had any of my work professionally mastered yet. I guess that I'm wondering why it's even a problem with you that Dan wants to help out by making such a gracious offer. Isn't it up to Dan to charge what he wants to charge?
    It's a problem whenever someone lowballs prices. If someone hands me a near perfect set of mixes as a mastering engineer, I am going to spend ten hours finding the tiniest little defects you never heard, just to push that much harder. I'll be going note for note, listening to every resonance that might be distracting from the entire effect, or listening for little sections of hook that might want to be pushed out.

    If the set of mixes is not nearly perfect, then I'll be working that much harder. But I have never seen the album that didn't need at least 8-10 hours of serious work on the mastering side, if the mastering engineer is really committing himself to do the job. It takes two or three of those hours just to become connected enough to the material to know where the thing is going. You spend those first hours doing the most mundane tasks, but still, that's the gig.

    That work takes intense time and concentration. It's a lot of responsibility to be the last set of ears on a product. $1000 is a minimum amount for mastering a full album, and that is what I would have advised the poster.

    Take a self employed person. $1000 minus taxes minus rent minus prorated gear costs, healthcare, bills, minus, minus, minus... By the time you actually figure everything, that is putting you at $40-50 per hour maximum that you can call "money you made." Which isn't a lot if you're hoping that your hard work eventually leads to some degree of a successful lifestyle.

    It is not "generous," in the long run, to lowball. In this case, there might have been several good mastering engineers on this forum willing to look at this job. In one fell swoop, Dan offered to "be generous" and in doing so, instantly made this a non-job...a charity event. He's not making squat on it, neither is anyone else.

    That's fine. I wished them luck. Dan is an exceedingly generous fellow. But if you want to know what problem I have with it, THAT is what problem I have with it. A job just left the table, essentially given away for a non-living wage.

    This happens all the time with beginner composers that will come in and lowball jobs just to get them, with no regard for the precedent they set for themselves or for others.

    I'm not really all that upset, trust me. I'm a very happy guy, and I have plenty of work to do. But you wanted to know, so I'm telling you. I still wish everyone luck.

    But trust me on this--if you take the path of charging lowball rates for your work, you hurt yourself and everyone else in doing so. So, keep it in mind as you're starting your business. This is a professional forum, and I think it is important to point these things out, strictly for the benefit of those thinking of making a living. This is an expensive business requiring expensive gear and a LOT of knowledge. And to top it all off, you find people constantly lowballing prices...on jobs you were already dubious about throwing your hat onto because you already thought the money was a bit low.

    When that happens, it just makes the prospects for the future seem a little dimmer.

  9. #9
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    Re: Mastering Budget?

    While I understand where Bruce is coming from, and I get annoyed when someone undercuts me to get a job, but we have to acknowledge that there are choices available through technology that weren't available in the past. People all over the world can compete for the same jobs using the internet. And the cost of living in one part of the country can be much less than another part.

    And what about all of the recordings that are done in Prague? We can't call them unprofessional beacuse they charge a fraction of what a US orchestra would charge.

    It's true that you run the risk of becoming known as a cheap supplier and you might never advance to the next pay level. But there's also people out there that want to pay top dollar, because it makes them feel they got the best, whether they did or not.

    This is not a new dilemma for musicians, it's always been around.

    My .02
    Jeff

  10. #10

    Re: Mastering Budget?

    ...And like tastes in music, taste in mastering is equally subjective. In the end whether we're talking about all software, all hardware or anything in between, you're ultimately paying for the EARS and SKILL of the mastering engineer. I've used mastering engineers from both ends of the spectrum and been satisfied with the results. In both cases I've paid between $2500-$3000 in NYC and felt that I got my money's worth.

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