Since 1998, Yes Master Studios has been one of the most sought after mastering facilities in the music industry, putting the final touches on critically-acclaimed projects for an ever-expanding list of satisfied clients.
Yes Master began as “The next logical step” for engineer Jim DeMain. In the late 90’s, DeMain transitioned from recording and mixing to full time mastering, eventually moving into a state of the art, Carl Tatz designed facility in 2002.
Regarding Yes Master Studios’ success over the years, DeMain’s philosophy is simple. “Most of our business is word of mouth, so it is very important that we treat each client’s project with the utmost respect.”
We can accept almost any format - mixes on a CD, DVD, a hard drive, e-mailed files. If the files are coming to us digitally, we prefer original resolution, stereo-interleaved .aiff or broadcast .wav files. By “original resolution” we mean files that are the same bit depth and sample rate as the recording session. This allows us to do any processing before sample rate conversion and the final dithering. If you are submitting a project that has been mixed to 1/2” or 1/4” analog tape, please let us know at the time you book your session.
Files can be sent to or dropped off at the studio. If you’re giving us a DVD or CD-R, please back up all the files in another location. If your files are on a hard drive, bring the drive to the studio and we will remove the files we need. A note on hard drives: make sure all of the files intended for mastering session are together in a clearly labeled folder. Also, we do not ship hard drives and prefer not to have hard drives shipped to us. If you choose to send your files electronically, zip all of the files together and use the following upload link - https://www.hightail.com/u/YesMasterStudio
Either way is fine. But given a choice, we prefer that you don’t clean up fronts and backs, because if by chance, you should clip the intro or end of a track, we can’t always recover the data or recreate missing ambience. If you let us handle fronts and backs, we’ll render them cleanly and accurately.
In order for us to guarantee a reference copy of your project on the day of mastering, we need the following before 10 AM the day of your session: all of the files or tapes, a project sequence with full song titles (again, proper and accurate labeling is very important), any notes or concerns (for example, “I want track three to fade out,” or “I’m worried about the bass being too boomy on track seven”), along with complete billing and contact information.
If we have all the files and information we need by 10 AM, 90 % of the time we can have a reference CD or upload link available by the end of the session day. As a general rule of thumb, for a full album, it takes about a day to do the initial work; for a five or six-song EP, about a half a day.
A reference CD (or ref, for short) is a listening copy that allows you to hear the mastering. After you evaluate the initial ref, we’ll work to resolve any requested changes and adjustments. There may be several reference CDs before we reach the finish line and everyone is happy. Once we do, we ￼then burn the master disc, or PMCD or DDP, which you’ll send to manufacturing. The PMCD / DDP contains the PQ data and ISRC codes, and everything that’s needed for the plant to make a replicated disc.
PQ codes are basically instructions that tell a CD player where tracks stop and start, and how much space is between them. ISRC stands for International Standard Recording Code. The code provides the country of origin, the year, and copyright ownership information. Each song on a CD has its own individual ISRC code, which is used to keep track of downloads, airplay and copyright information.
CD-Text allows for storage of additional information (e.g. album name, song name, and artist name) on an audio CD. This information is encoded on the disc prior to the burning of the final production master. We only encode a project with CD-Text if we are specifically requested to do so. If we are, we need for you to submit, through email, the project title, artist name, and individual song titles with proper spelling and punctuation. Gracenote is an Internet-accessible database containing information about the contents of audio compact discs and vinyl records. It provides software and metadata to businesses that enable their customers to manage and search digital media. This information is not encoded on the disc, but submitted to Gracenote by either you or the manufacturer.
In an attended session, the client sits in the room with us while we work. For a non-attended session, the client drops off the mixes and lets us do our work. These days, about 80% of our sessions, including those for major labels, are unattended. We prefer unattended sessions mainly because they allow us to keep our schedule more flexible. This usually allows us to offer a better rate for unattended sessions.
Yes, there’s a slight difference. We don’t actually cut lacquers at our studio. We can recommend several studios to you that we feel do excellent work with lacquers. Usually when we master for CD, we master a little hotter. For vinyl, we’ll back off the final limiting stage along with a few other little “tricks” that will help the mastering translate better to vinyl. We prefer to let the engineer that is cutting the lacquers have control of how much limiting they want to add.
A recording engineer with over thirty years experience, DeMain spent the first part of his career working alongside producers such as Barry Beckett and Justin Neibank. In Nashville, he’s recorded sessions for a wide array of artists, including Elton John, Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tammy Wynette, and Jimmy Buffett. Since focusing on mastering he has worked on countless projects from independent albums to Grammy winning major label releases.
Before coming to Yes Master in 2003, Alex McCollough spent 10 years as a recording engineer and musician. As a musician, he has performed with many of his clients, often getting the unique opportunity to be involved in the project from initial tracking all the way through the final mastering. Alex also has a background in radio, having served as an audio engineer for Nashville radio station WKDF and the Titan’s Radio Network.