Mastering types

Stereo mastering

Stereo mastering refers to the traditional and most common form of mastering: processing of a single, stereo premaster file supplied to the mastering engineer. The processing of this stereo premaster file will result in a final, polished track that sounds great across all sound systems and reaches a professional standard of sound quality.


Stereo mastering is appropriate for all projects, unless specified otherwise. This includes albums, EPs and single tracks.

Stem mastering

Stem mastering refers to a newer form of mastering: instead of working on and processing a single, stereo premaster file, the mastering engineer receives up to six premaster stems from the artist. A stem refers to a single audio file which may be a single element of your track or multiple, individual tracks grouped and summed into a single stem.


The stem mastering option requires that you provide me with up to six stems rendered from start to finish of your song. Usually, these include one stem for kick, vocals, basses, synths, effects and drums, although this can vary per song.


Stem mastering provides the mastering engineer with greater control in mastering your mix without needing to substantially alter your original vision. For example, a simple stem master might include the artist providing me with the instrumental mix of a track in addition to the vocal mix of the track separately. I then have more control to mix in the vocals with the instrumental, resulting in a better final master.


While stereo mastering is usually adequate, stem mastering allows even greater control when the engineer or client feels it may be beneficial to attain the highest quality results.


After a song has been stem mastered, I will deliver to you a single, stereo master of the tune. Optionally, mastered versions of the original stems may be supplied in addition to the stereo master.

Vinyl mastering

In addition to digital and CD masters, SineSound provides mastering for vinyl production. Vinyl masters differ from digital-only masters. The medium has different and specific requirements.

How to prepare and provide files for mixing and mastering


Please make sure your audio files for stereo/stem mastering and mixing meet these specifications:


Bit Rate: 16bit or 24bit
File Formats: WAV or AIFF
Sample Rates: 44.1khz, 48khz, 88.2khz or 96khz

Your to-do list

Before sending your final mixes for mastering or mixing, check this to-do list:


  1. Ensure they truly are the final mixes! Ensure you are happy and completely satisfied with the mixes.
  2. Leave a small amount of silence at the beginning of the track and ensure the tracks fade out smoothly.
  3. Ensure your files are not clipping/going over 0dB on the master fader!
  4. While I believe it is fine to leave certain master fader processing enabled, removing any compression and limiting would be appreciated. It is impossible to “undo” any over-compression or limiting! If you feel, however, that limiting and/or compression on the master is crucial to your music, I am happy to discuss this further.
  5. Ensure the files contain no errors; check them after rendering.
  6. Label the mixes correctly; correct track number order, track and artist names should be included in the filename for easy organization. These can, however, be changed in mastering if need be.


For best delivery of files:


  1. Include all files in a ZIP folder.
  2. Upload the folder to Dropbox (preferred), Google Drive, We Transfer or similar file-hosting
If you have any questions at all regarding any of the above, do not hesitate to email or call to discuss.