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Disc Makers Mastering Service Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 22nd May 2006
  #1
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Question Disc Makers Mastering Service

Hi All,

I would prefer to suggest local professional mastering services to all my clients, yet most of my recent clients don't have label support or recording budgets yet.

I just signed up for the Disc Makers Studio Partner Program, and recently found out I can offer them sizeable discounts on the DM mastering service.

Have you ever used Disc Makers Mastering Services for any of your/your clients' projects? If so, did you like the service? If you have done professional mastering elsewhere, can the work of Disc Makers be compared?

I realize that every project has different circumstances. I've seen A-list acts spend more on mastering multiple versions of a song than my clients spend on an entire project. So, for those of us working with "aspiring" artists, who consequently have little money, does Disc Makers fit the bill?

Thanks for your responses,

Andrew Wayland @ AfaraWayland
Old 22nd May 2006
  #2
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mars's Avatar
I know quite a few persons who have had good experiences with them. They did a pretty decent job of mastering some tracks on a compilation album I worked on quite a few years ago. They sent a ref - we made some comments, came back sounding great. Haven't used them personally for some time now, though.
Old 22nd May 2006
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull
Have you ever used Disc Makers Mastering Services for any of your/your clients' projects?
No! we encourage our clients to master with us, or one of our friends that do custom mastering work. We also suggest that they use the local CD replication services, where they can put a face with the name, and save on the shipping costs.

Your question may be in the wrong forum, sort of like asking a group of professional Auto Mechanics how they like the auto repair services at Walmart.

JT
Old 22nd May 2006
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull

I just signed up for the Disc Makers Studio Partner Program, and recently found out I can offer them sizeable discounts on the DM mastering service.
What do you mean sizeable discounts ? 29.99$ for a whole record ? If not I would use any mastering engineer anywhere, that you know will take the time to do a proper job.
Old 22nd May 2006
  #5
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Thanks for thee responses so far.

As far as the discount, its $100 Jose.

Also, I do believe this is the correct forum Jerry.

Here's my problem. Like I said, I just signed up with them, and recently sent in my first referal. The client involved chose to use the mastering service they provide.

Last week we got the test disc. Every track has moderate to heavy amounts of distortion. My guess is that it is distortion from overdriving a compressor, or overdriving the A/D back in, or both. Its pointless for me to speculate why or what happened.

What is important is that they obviously did not listen to the master after they had finished. When I was in college, I interned at a pre-mastering house here in Nashville. One of the things I did get to do there was QC or quality control. I'd sit there and listen to the newly finished masters on headphones, making sure there were no problems like...DISTORTION.

I sent them my notes via email the same night, but I haven't heard back from them yet. We expect another test disc this week.

This is my first time using their mastering service. All my other experiences with them have been great.

Hence my original post. I did not want a "bashing disc makers" thread, but rather a test to see how many of you all use or have used the service. My alterior motive is to find out if anyone else has had similar problems.

-Andrew Wayland
Old 22nd May 2006
  #6
arf
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I think we've reached a point where most mastering operations operate under the belief that level-induced distortion is a requirement of a "professional" job. Sad isn't it?
Old 22nd May 2006
  #7
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yeah, in my book, its actually anti-professionalism.
Old 22nd May 2006
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull
As far as the discount, its $100 Jose.
One bill discount over what price? or is it one bill for a whole album?
Old 22nd May 2006
  #9
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The bill discount is for whatever the total is.

They charge by number of tracks.

1-6 is 390, 7-12 is 490, 13-16 is 590, 17-20 is 690, 21+ they say call for quote.

These numbers exclude what they call Post Production Tune-ups...resequencing, gap adjustment, ect...

For this project is bounced down some 24 bit audio files, that I presequenced, top and tailed etc...so they didn't have to do any adjustments to spacing and what-not.
Old 22nd May 2006
  #10
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Masterer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull
Thanks for thee responses so far.

As far as the discount, its $100 Jose.

Also, I do believe this is the correct forum Jerry.

Here's my problem. Like I said, I just signed up with them, and recently sent in my first referal. The client involved chose to use the mastering service they provide.

Last week we got the test disc. Every track has moderate to heavy amounts of distortion. My guess is that it is distortion from overdriving a compressor, or overdriving the A/D back in, or both. Its pointless for me to speculate why or what happened.

What is important is that they obviously did not listen to the master after they had finished. When I was in college, I interned at a pre-mastering house here in Nashville. One of the things I did get to do there was QC or quality control. I'd sit there and listen to the newly finished masters on headphones, making sure there were no problems like...DISTORTION.

I sent them my notes via email the same night, but I haven't heard back from them yet. We expect another test disc this week.

This is my first time using their mastering service. All my other experiences with them have been great.

Hence my original post. I did not want a "bashing disc makers" thread, but rather a test to see how many of you all use or have used the service. My alterior motive is to find out if anyone else has had similar problems.

-Andrew Wayland
Andrew, just wondering if any instruction or guidance was given. Did the client request a "test" track or give any examples of the type of sound they were going for? Unfortunately it sounds like Disk Makers uses this "cut rate" service as a way of padding the bottom line of their duplication services. Totally understandable from a business point of view but if you're expecting the kind of skill, experience, and attention that you'd get from higher level studios that are completely dedicated to mastering you're probably going to be frequently disapointed. You may have to make a greater effort on your end to help the ME give you exactly what you want, both before and after the initial mastering [I'm assuming that Disk Makers will make revisions for you].
It sounds to me like you'll have to live with a bit of hit or miss on this. You should probably give a local ME a shout to see if you can work out some sort of favorable rates for the promise of lots of work. There are some skilled people out there that may be interested, and you're likely to get better results.

C.
Old 22nd May 2006
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull
, 7-12 is 490, .
thats say a 10 song album would cost 490$ to master ? sorry if I´m not understanding.. but if that´s the case.....

I have been quoted 600$ for a 10 song album in a high end mastering house. When looking for a low low low price compared to US or UK money, you could also consider mastering in foreign countries. Where talented people are working for way less and delivering the goods. I would personaly not waste my time where mastering your record is seen as a ¨bonus¨. Irregardless of what other people think. Most likely the people that have previous experience with this place mastering service are not professional.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #12
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Masterer

Actually, I did not send them any reference material with the disk. I wanted the sound to be the bands, and didn't want them to master it to sound like something else. Point taken though, I'll definitely consider sending reference material next time.

I appreciate your honesty, and I think talking with my friends in Nashville might be able to help. Still, this particular client wanted to go through DMs. Like I said, this is my first time using DM, and I ever since I found out about how much difference prof. mastering makes on a master, I've been recomending mastering to all my clients.

DM is reviewing/reworking the master this week. Hope to get another test disc soon.

We live and we learn. Thanks again for your reply.

-Andrew Wayland
Old 23rd May 2006
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek
Most likely the people that have previous experience with this place mastering service are not professional.
Price is not a big determinent for me personally, like I said before, I'd prefer that my clients use local professional mastering services. That said, not many of them have money to spend. Its a luxury item that they can't justify. I have a hard enough time convincing them just to spring for any mastering service (for those of them who don't know what it is.)

As far as searching around, I'll do that from now on. If I find somewhere that I can get good results consistently, I'll stay with them as long as possible. Even if it means paying slightly more.

Sending a master overseas seems absolutely absurb for my situation, but I appreciate the idea.

Disc Makers offers their service because there happens to be a market for it. I don't feel like it is a "bonus" service, though it may be that. Disc Makers is an avenue that un"professional" folks can use to get their stuff mass produced. I'll agree that most people who use the service probably aren't professional.

Professional artists mostly have recording budgets and label support. I don't. My current clients don't. They can pay for professional mastering at professional facilities. We can't. These facts do not in my mind mean that my work or my clients work isn't approaching professionalism. I'm not saying that my work is professional, but I am saying that money does not necessarily equate quality or even professionalism. Results, attitude and track record do.

I'm green, a recent college grad, trying to make ends meet and produce professional sounding stuff. I don't have a "studio" per se, and I can't live off my music production fees alone, like a lot of us. I do have some mics, a few pres and a computer, and if I might, a smedge of talent. Nevertheless, everything I do, I do the best I can. I get the results that please me, please my clients, and I do it while treating each project as it were a label driven one.

I wish for commercial work in the future. But for now I have to chase you big fish from my corner in this big pond, and prove to everyone that I may deserve it.

Back on topic, anyone else have DM mastering experiences to share?
Old 23rd May 2006
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull

Sending a master overseas seems absolutely absurb for my situation, but I appreciate the idea.




I did it twice with Brad Blackwood. I live in Bolivia right now. My home country, and had no problem transfering files through FTP over to him in memphis. His service is not the cheap kind I was talking about, but the internet has brought many walls down is what I´m trying to say.

Dude there are people in this forum offering mastering services for 50$ a track. With real high end gear at their disposal. There is always someone out there offering a service for WHATEVER budget you may have. Give THEM your money, not a big company who does not rely on mastering to make ends meet.

post a thread with any budget your clients may have, you will recieve more than a couple PM´s. show your love : )

If disk makers offers free mastering, hell yeah give them a chance.. but since it´s not completely free give someone else the chance is what i´m trying to say.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #15
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Thanks Jose.

heh
Old 23rd May 2006
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A27Hull
Thanks Jose.

heh

haha no problem, i know your clients are still going to use diskmakers crap service but cool , i had to let you know what i think : )
Old 23rd May 2006
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek
I did it twice with Brad Blackwood. I live in Bolivia now.
I'm sorry to hear that
Old 23rd May 2006
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Over the years, I have redone quite a few mastering jobs for clients who were unhappy with DiscMakers mastering services. And for most of these they sent me a copy of the mastering. Simply put, it doesn't sound like DM put any effort nor detail in their mastering services at all. It's more like an added service to make the CD manufacturing service more appealing. On one of the projects, I swear it sounded like they did a batch processing on all the songs on the album!
Old 23rd May 2006
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by copperx
I'm sorry to hear that

hahahahaha you cracked me up.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #20
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I think you would find that if you approach your best/favorite mastering engineer in your own hometown, he would be happy to have you wholesaling his services to your clients for a comparable "partner discount" off his published rates. He'd be stupid not to.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #21
Don't know the ME at DM but, I bet he's under pressure to turn projects around very quickly, sort of a budget "one pass" approach... generally you get what you pay for.

I find the DM "studio partners" program to be a little cheesy anyway.

Yes they put put together a nice slick brochure, and offer a turn-key approach, easy to buy into...

But to make a commission off of your clients, by sending them to DM...

To echo what everyone else is replying... why not use a regional ME and a disc replicator that you can develop a face to face relationships with?

I think that's why you're getting a lot of challenging rebuttals to your topic.

JT
Old 23rd May 2006
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by copperx
I'm sorry to hear that

Whats wrong with Mr. Blackwoods work?
Old 23rd May 2006
  #23
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thanks guys,

Nashville's got plenty of ME, one or two of which I know. Your advice is greatly appreciated!

-Andrew Wayland
Old 23rd May 2006
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubedude
Whats wrong with Mr. Blackwoods work?
naa.. he edited my post a bit, read again what he qouted it sounds weird hahahaa

Brad´s work is top notch.
Old 23rd May 2006
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb

I find the DM "studio partners" program to be a little cheesy anyway.

Yes they put put together a nice slick brochure, and offer a turn-key approach, easy to buy into...

But to make a commission off of your clients, by sending them to DM...

JT
Yeah, I feel slightly weird about the commission thing, to be honest. Here's the thing though, I've always told my clients to call around and get pricing. The thing I like a bout Disc Makers is that they deliver- and they do it on time. How many times has a band saved $50 over DM just to have the project show up a month late. . . It's happened quite a bit. In fact, almost everytime a client didn't go with DM, something gets screwed up.

That doesn't happen (in my experience) with DM. Ever.

In fact, I only have one complaint:

A few years ago I had sent a project in with a client. I was pretty involved on the phone with the client and DM rep, as the long time client had never done a large manufacturing run and was a little nervous. The next week comes, I'm sending another project in. I casually ask the rep how the other project is going. The rep tells me that because of client confidentiality, he can't tell me anything. Nothing. At all. 2 or 3 3 way calls the week before, and this week, he can't tell me anything.

Now I understand about the confidentiality, but being that I was pretty hands on, I took slight offense to it. I was looking for a "things are going fine" or something, not a referral to their privacy policy. I also figure that the "studio partner" thing worked both ways: I send them work, but expect to have the "in" on the project. Not a big "in", but a "thing are going OK, right?" sort of "in".

Anyway, I still do business with them, so it didn't rub me too wrong, I suppose.
Old 24th May 2006
  #26
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Two things to consider.

First, I too have always felt a little strange about the DiscMakers kickback. That said, as others here have indicated, they offer a quality service at a reasonable price.

My solution: I advise clients to check with DiscMakers, I tell them what I think of DiscMakers ... and I tell them about the kickback. I usually even offer to give them the kickback ... and the clients have always said they'd rather we keep it.

Transparency cures a lot of evils.

Second, our experience is that, left to their own devices, most of our clients choose a bad to very bad mastering provider. As a rule they choose "just another studio" rather than a real mastering house, which to the uninitiated can look less impressive. So lately we establish upfront that we will be handling the mastering -- though we may farm it out to a trusted collaborator.

We make little to no money on this, and it's a bit of needless hassle for us, but at least all our major projects get mastered "for real." Our clients are well served by this practice.
Old 24th May 2006
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Mrochek
I did it twice with Brad Blackwood. I live in Bolivia now.

I'm sorry to hear that


That's what she said!!
Old 24th May 2006
  #28
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It's been a while since I dealt with DiscMakers but I did decide to have them "master" one of our EP's.... It came back sounding horrible.... I kept A/Bing the test disc they sent me with the original DAT master.... Kinda hard to explain the difference in sound.... but it definetly wasn't impressive... I think they even admitted to farming out the vinyl portion of the order...it sounded even worse.... We were in a bind (release party the next week) so we had to use it whether we liked it or not... But I've never dealt with them since.... that was just my experience....but I do agree with the guys on here who suggest using someone local (if that's an option) Rodney Mills (in Atlanta) is a great resource and I usually point them in his direction.....

With that being said, I've gone along with some of my clients to other studios to get their stuff "mastered" and it's truly sad what an unexperienced guy with a PC and WaveLab will do... One guy even added what sounded like a stadium reverb to all the tracks to "phatten" them up..... tutt
Old 24th May 2006
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudnoc
It's been a while since I dealt with DiscMakers but I did decide to have them "master" one of our EP's.... It came back sounding horrible.... I kept A/Bing the test disc they sent me with the original DAT master.... Kinda hard to explain the difference in sound.... but it definetly wasn't impressive... I think they even admitted to farming out the vinyl portion of the order...it sounded even worse.... We were in a bind (release party the next week) so we had to use it whether we liked it or not... But I've never dealt with them since.... that was just my experience....but I do agree with the guys on here who suggest using someone local (if that's an option) Rodney Mills (in Atlanta) is a great resource and I usually point them in his direction.....

With that being said, I've gone along with some of my clients to other studios to get their stuff "mastered" and it's truly sad what an unexperienced guy with a PC and WaveLab will do... One guy even added what sounded like a stadium reverb to all the tracks to "phatten" them up..... tutt

I had one project done at DM that was mastered by them and I hated it. Otherwise, they do great work. I would not have mastering done through them, or whatever it is the guy did.
Old 24th May 2006
  #30
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I use them once. It was horrible. For the same realm of price, go to John Golden, or as others metioned, find someone local. Where I am in PA, there is nobody around I would trust to answer my phone let alone master.

Discmakers hates bass. they lop it all off.

However, I love their duplication. They always do a good job.
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