It is just plain criminal Mastering studios that take your hard-earned money and then give you mastered tracks worse or no better than the original mix!
You see, good mastering is balancing act. Because as soon as you adjust one part of the audio track (such as boost loudness), then several other factors change as well.
When looking for a mastering engineer, there are 5 important qualities you should look for:
1. Experience. You want somebody who knows what to listen for and what to do when a mistake is noticed. Each type of music has its unique quirks that takes hundreds of working hours discover them all.
Additionally, the engineer should have experience with your medium (such as CDs, Vinyl, or DVDs).
2. The right equipment. Mastering studios spend countless thousands of dollars on getting the best equipment for a reason. Each piece allows the engineer more flexibility in getting the right sound.
This alone is an important reason for going with a pro.
3. Responsive. A good mastering engineer works one-on-one with the client throughout the entire mastering process to achieve the best result.
This is important to maintain the artists vision of what they want their tracks to sound like. The last thing you want is to work with someone who demands on changing the music to how they think it should be, instead of what you really want.
Moreover, a good mastering engineer should also give feedback on what needs to be done to get the right sound.
4. Good ears. Since every track is different, a good mastering engineer needs to know what to listen for. You should think of a mastering engineer as a musical artist.
5. Dedication. Finally, your mastering engineer should be dedicated to doing the best job possible. You want somebody who is going to stick with your project, until itís the best it can be. Not someone who calls it quits soon after they start.
After all, every little bit counts to give you the edge in a very competitive market place.