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Top 10 Audio Mastering Tips For Preparation of Mastering:
1. Leave enough headroom: Don't use limiting on the master at all. leave about 2-3db of headroom from the loudest peak to 0db.
2. Don't add too much on the master buss: This includes eq and compression, especially multiband
3. Take breaks to rest your ears while mixing.
4. Mix with some stereo compression over the master bus: But not too much just gentle compression to let you hear how it will affect the mix.
5. Be careful with stereo expanders: They can cause phasing problems if over used.
6. Dont monitor too loud: This can cause both your ears and monitors to compress slightly resulting in a different sounding mix than what is actually there.
7. Check the mix at very low levels. This helps get an overall picture of the mix. Nothing should disappear with these lower listening levels.
8. Reference other mixes.
9. Listen to the mix in a variety of listening environments as well as headphones. Laptop speakers are good for hearing the mix on less capable speakers.
10. Consult a good online mastering engineer for further guidance on your mix before sending in.

(1) Never put kick drums, bass, rhythm bass or rhythm guitar on the same track. I need to be able to place in the best suited monitors, center, left, right, surround.

When I mix I first make sure that the bass kick drum and snare are balanced. If it is on the same track then I will have to EQ it. I can not add filters to stop the cross talking.

(2) Don't use compression or any dynamics

The track or tracks can easily become over processed, forcing me to ask for another copy.

(3) Don't add effects

I need to get the most out of the effects by placing the effects in the right order.
(4) Voice

Voice should be in mono not stereo. It's difficult to pan it away from instruments that may be on it's frequency. I can delete the right channel. Make sure it is dry. Back ground singer in mono. I need the option to place them in best suited monitors.

(5) Long sustaining instruments

Synth in stereo or mono is ok. Strings or any long sustaining instruement can be in stereo or mono. Long sustaining instruments are usually not the cause of the distortion; unless over processed. It is usually fast moving instuments coliding with voice or each other.

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.   -Victor Hugo

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