Mixing and mastering service FAQ
I get quite a lot of DMs and email about certain questions, so I thought I’d make a FAQ here to possibly ease up some DM/email action.
I’ll add a few other things and general claims and address those.
• What are your rates?
I’ve tried to make this unbelievably easy to find, and it’s the #1 Google hit for “fanu mastering”.
https://fanumusic.com/mastering/ always has the latest rates.
• What is “VAT” and do I have to pay that?
It means Value Added Tax and it’s a tax system for services in EU. I run a registered business and have to charge VAT of your country if you 1) live in EU and 2) do not operate a business yourself. I do not charge VAT if you do not live in EU.
E.g., I do not charge US clients any VAT.
• There is the rate for mastering, as well as mixing + mastering, but not just mixing, so what’s the rate for that?
I provide a full final product. If it was “mixed only”, that’d mean, in a way, that someone else would have to master it. What you get from me does not need any external help. So the rate is for mixing and mastering, as that’ll give you a fully finished product. I always make the mix as tight as I can, so on the master it mostly needs minimal EQ touches, resonance control, possible dynamics touches, and limiting, so in mixing+mastering, it’s around 75–80% about mixing, and rest about mastering.
I can, of course, send a non-limited version, no problem, so all dynamics are there.
Especially in big leagues, there’s mixing and mastering engineers all working on the song, as they don’t specialize in both mixing and mastering.
• So how can you be both mixing and mastering engineer?
It’s funny, as I’ve been told by some I cannot be both.
Simply, I’ve been making electronic music since 1992, non-stop. So it’s been 27 years now. Now that is a LOT of learning done mixing-and-production-and-mastering-wise. I have the ears needed to hear what needs hearing, whether it’s on mix level or mastering level, and all the tools in the world to address those things. I hear the song from the angle of the producer as well as audio engineer.
• What level should my premaster be at?
As long as it’s not exceeding zero, all good. I always level it down to -18 as the first thing in my chain to provide me with a lot of headroom. Having said that, I have worked with a lot of material that has been limited really loud and the producer has lost the files, and they’ve come out nice.
In a nutshell, you leave the dynamic control and limiting to the engineer, as he’s most likely more experienced in it than you may be.
• What sample rate and bit depth should I go for?
24-bit, 44.1 KHz is fine.
• Do you do analog hardware mixing/mastering?
This question tells a bit about the person asking the Q. The relevance of this question these days is close to going to a restaurant and enquiring whether they use some specific knives to make the food. You should only care about the quality of the end product.
All mixing and mastering I do happens with software. However, quite a lot of tools that impart some great character on the sound are analog emulations; e.g., I own the full Universal Audio plug-in range and am supported by Slate Digital with their products.
So the sound will have analog beef and color whenever it’s needed.
Even the most curious analog/hardware-only heads have been happy with what I do.
• If I have a song mixed and mastered by you, can you send me all its tracks back with all the mixing and mastering processing in them?
Yes, I can.
• Do you provide vinyl or Spotify versions?
Yes, I do.
I always do the loud version first, and once that is approved, I create Spotify and vinyl versions. Spotify version difference is only that it’s less loud: -14 LUFS. No sound difference.
Vinyl version: not limited at all, and I make sure there’s no crazy frequency action happening, especially in the stereo field. I do vinyl masters regularly, and they always come out dope.
• Do you work with [genre X]?
I work with most genres. Majority of what I work with is electronic and hip hop. All forms of electronic, especially styles with sub bass: house, techno, DNB, dubstep, hiphop (oldskool and trap)…all that is definitely my home turf. Loud, clean, punchy, crisp and pristine, bassy. This doesn’t mean I can’t work with more dynamic styles; I work with everything. The only music that doesn’t come in, as I’m not profiled that way, is classic rock and organic stuff like jazz.
• If I don’t like your work, then what?
I don’t charge you. However, there has been no non-paying unhappy client in the past three years. And that says something, as I work with several hundred songs every year.
A few rules apply to the no-charge scenario.
• What are those rules?
You must have some ideas how the music should sound and be ready to send me a reference song if I ask for it (quite often I don’t), because those things clarify to you how your music should sound, roughly.
I work with “I’m not sure how it should sound” stuff often, and everybody’s always happy. It can only pose problems if you have no idea how it should and how it should be changed from the “I don’t like it” state.
• Can I see client feedback somewhere?
Yes, take a look here.
117 positive reviews and counting (that’s just a small amount of people I’ve worked with).
• Can I hear your work somewhere?
I don’t really keep a portfolio online, which seems to be common for professional engineers, so I’m relieved in that sense, ha.
I have a Soundcloud page at http://soundcloud.com/mastering-by-fanu where I occasionally repost some stuff I’ve handled, but even that is just a very small amount of music and doesn’t cover nearly all of the genres I work with…I use that page very seldom.
I can link you to specific stuff if you intend to use my service and email me about it.
• How to get in touch?
• Do you give mix tips?
If you are my client and are sending a song for mastering, yes.
I don’t do free mixing advice, unfortunately. Many years ago I did that, which helped me establish myself in the market, but I’ve had to close that arena.
Also, I make videos of songs I have mixed and mastered for my clients: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyVZEKQ6U0gfor the general idea. In general, I’m extremely communicative, discuss the song with you until it’s fully done, and listen to all your wishes. Instead of “working for you”, I feel we’re a team where I do my best work and you guide me till it’s fully a wrap. After all, I do take pride in making it sound great…it’s me who’s getting credited for engineering, so I want to make it dope.
• Will you do a freebie for me if I promote the heck out of you?
Sadly, no, unless you’re a major artist. I don’t get these Qs that often anymore, but once again one came in last week.
Unless you can hit me with major visibility, I will not do free work, sorry. This is my living, not a hobby.