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More than 2,000 recordings have been mastered over a period of 30 plus years by Paul Tavenner.  Each artist has their own unique sound, therefore the approach will also be unique.  In other words, there are no “cookie cutter” methods for mastering your songs.  Instead, similar to the mixing process, the goal is to understand your vision for the final sound and then implement it.  The mastering process can seem complicated and daunting (and it is!), but the goal at Big City is to make it easy and satisfying for you.


Mastering, unlike mixing, is a very predictable process in terms of estimating the time and cost to complete the project.  Typical full-length albums of 10-12 songs and 45-60 minutes in length generally take 5-7 hours to complete which includes creating a specialized master for CD replication and files for uploading to downloading/streaming services.  Additional masters can also be created for other formats.


The music industry has returned to the days of multiple mastering formats.  These include high-resolution masters, masters optimized for YouTube and other video streaming services, CD masters, vinyl (pre)masters, live performance masters, etc.  Each format requires a different approach, sometimes drastically, as in the case of vinyl premasters.  By default, we will always provide a high-resolution 24 bit WAVE master set, a 16 bit WAVE master set, and a DDP disc image master if you will be manufacturing CDs.  Additional formats will increase the cost of the mastering process.

Apple Digital Masters

Big City Recording is an authorized Apple Digital Master mastering facility.  We can create masters that meet the requirements for receiving the the Apple Digital Master “badge” on your iTunes page.  It’s a superior approach to making the downloads sound as close to the original high-resolution master as possible.  There’s no additional fee for this process and it is optional.  Some artists prefer a hotter master.  This can often create “overs” and other types of distortion that will not qualify for the badge.  This is an important aspect to discuss prior to beginning the mastering process.

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