Questions about Venus Mastering - a full service mastering lab specializing in audio mastering for the recording industry.

What Is Mastering?

Mastering is the final creative step in any audio production and is still wrapped in mystery for too many people. Simply put, mastering enhances the overall collection of mixes through equalization, dynamics processing and editing. It is both artistic and technical.

Why Is Mastering Important?

Another Perspective—Jim has another set of trained ears that have not heard your mixes until this point. His expertise also differs significantly from that of your tracking or mixing engineer. He listens differently. Mastering is his full time job. Exploit his expertise! He will be able to offer a unique perspective for your ideas: creatively, musically, and technically.

Monitoring—Ideally you would have the time and budget to take your mix and try it out in a plethora of different media players. Also, every studio would have the same monitoring system that isn't colored by the shape of the room or the placement of the speakers. Sometimes you know the frequency response of the room and the speakers; sometimes you don't. Mastering allows you to accurately monitor your mixes. If frequencies stand out too much or too little in your mixes, they can be corrected. Also, Jim understands what will happen to the audio on the radio, in the car, on portable players, etc.

Jim will listen critically to your mixes and cut out any clicks or pops that he hears.

Sequencing and Transitions—Jim may amaze you with anything from standard song spacing to the most elaborate editing and crossfading. He has been asked to add sound effects, ambient tracks or additional musical sequences to transition seamlessly from one selection to the next. Even if you want to let each track have its' own space without crossfading, Jim can create exactly the feel or time you want between each selection. Also keep in mind that after hearing all the mixes, you may want to change the sequence for your master.

Can I come to the mastering session?

While it is not necessary to come, Jim invites and encourages anyone to attend the session.

What do I bring / send to a mastering session?

Jim can accommodate pretty much any format but he prefers AIF or WAV files. Please do not add extra compression or EQ on the final mix. Let Jim do it… that's why you're hiring him. Please offer some headroom.

What kind of gear does Jim use for mastering?

Jim uses Sonic Studio's Soundblade as his digital audio workstation. He monitors with powered Genelec S30D 3-way monitors with a ribbon tweeter and he uses a Genelec 1094a powered subwoofer.

How much time does it take?

A ten or twelve song project typically takes a day.

What are ISRC codes?

ISRC stands for The International Standard Recording Code. It is an international standard code for uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. If you provide ISRC codes, Jim will include them on your master. ISRC codes are always 12 characters long, in the form "CC-XXX-YY-NNNNN" It is used for tracking radio play at radio stations and digital distribution on the internet. (The hyphens are not part of the ISRC code itself) The four parts are as follows:

  • "CC" is the registrant's two-character country code. (US is the country code for the United States)
  • "XXX" is a three character alphanumeric registrant code, uniquely identifying the organization which registered the code. Typically, the appropriate regulating body in each country will issue a three letter code to each record label. Contact to apply for a registrant code.
  • "YY" are the last two digits of the year of registration (not necessarily the date the recording was made)
  • "NNNNN" is a unique 5-digit number identifying the particulal sound recording.

An example: USPR37300012 - a recording of the song "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra.

  • US for United States
  • PR3 for the organization
  • 73 for 1973
  • 00012 is the unique ID identifying this particular recording.

What is a UPC code?

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a type of barcode that is widely used in the United States and Canada for tracking CDs in stores. The UPC has only numbers, with no letters or other characters. If you provide a UPC code, Jim will include it on your master.

What do I get back from a mastering session?

Venus Mastering provides the final master in a DDP 2.00 format. We include a free custom DDP Player so you can audition your DDP 2.00 master. This allows you to hear your project as it will be presented to your listeners. If you would like any changes to your master, we will be happy to make them. When you are satisfied with your master, you can forward it to your manufacturer online.

Using your DDP Player, you can create audio CDs and file formats including WAV, AIF and FLAC. MP3 files and Premaster CDs are also available upon request. We can provide 2 premaster CDs. The master which can be sent to a CD duplication plant and a safety which can be stored for safe keeping.

Will the artist's name and song titles appear when I put my CD into a computer or CD player?

Jim will encode CD text on the CD which will enable any device that reads CD text to display the artist's name and song titles. He will also register your CD with an online database known as CDDB so that the CD text information is displayed on a computer.

What is Jim's rate for mastering?


Jim is a expert audio mixer with deep appreciation for music and sound

Jim Falzone has worked with me on many projects over the years. His professional attitude, and deep appreciation for music and sound, have always elevated the projects. Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity.

Stephen Leiweke
Yackland Productions