Monthly Archives: August 2017

How to do a Master Tune Up on Audio before Burning to CD

How to do an audio master tune up before your album goes to CD

An audio tune up takes a finished song and masters it for final distribution, perfecting the audio’s quality. If you haven’t worked with a professional recording studio, some audio mastering can clean up and enhance your entire album. By cleaning up dust and scratches or adjusting a mix’s equalization and compression, your audio will sound more clear, full, and professional.

What are some symptoms of poor audio quality, and what can be done to fix them? Check out the symptoms and solutions below:

1. Dull, small, or uneven sound

Solution: Compression 

If your audio sounds small, quiet, or dull, you’ll benefit from compression.

Compression turns down the loudest sounds to blend the sound properly, smoothing audio “peaks” to match the other levels of the song. With compression, you can increase the overall loudness of a song without having any part of the mix stick out.

Using a high ratio of compression within a high threshold will provide a harder punch of sound, while low ratios of compression in low thresholds can “warm” or soften sounds.

If your audio begins to sound squashed, your audio is probably too compressed.

2. One sound is too loud or soft, parts lacks clarity

Solution: Equalization

If parts of your audio are being lost under other layers in your track, frequency equalization (also known as EQ) will help. While compression fixes the overall mix’s unevenness, EQ is great for tuning specific sounds in your audio. Each type of instrument or sound has an EQ band. The interactive map below shows you the different EQ bands and their respective sounds.

50-60 Hz – bass, deeper sounds
100-200 Hz – snare punch. Boosting this band a bit increases richness of sound
500-1000 Hz – boosts many instruments, too much can sound nasal 
2 kHz – improves the clarity of sound, but upping this band too much is painful or harsh 
5-10 kHz – opens up the sound, helps snare have a fuller sound

If your audio sounds muddy, you can cut decibels from bands in the lower ranges. If it sounds harsh, try cutting decibels from bands in the high frequencies (over 2 kHz).

3. Audio isn’t loud or sounds faint

Solution: Loudness matching

One final mastering technique you can use to improve the quality of your sound is loudness matching. Compare your audio to a similar song or one of your favorite songs, and examine the difference in each mix.

Are the wavelengths in the competitor’s song louder overall? Even a .5 dB increase can take your song to pop-level quality, like in the clip above.

Preparing your audio for CD burning

Review your audio
Before you finish your mix, make sure you listen to it on multiple devices and speakers. How does it sound with high-quality headphones, in a car, or in mono? If one device sounds worse, you may not be done with mastering.

Convert your tracks
When you’re ready to have your album burned to a disc, you’ll need to convert your audio to 16 bit/44.1 kHz.

You can do this with resampling or dithering. Audio can be converted easily with iTunes, or you can try professional software like Masterlizer.

Be careful using some programs to convert as many will add codes, leaving files unrecognizable by digital players.

Need help?

Audio Mastering a small but critical step in the production process, and available as an upgrade through Bison Disc starting at $115. It is also fairly simple to do on your own, but our professionals have years of experience doing audio mastering for musicians. Click here to get started.

What is Gracenote and Why Should Musicians Use it?

 Gracenote Music Recognition

Digital File Recognition

Gracenote is the largest on-line database registry for CD-Audio, whether it’s music or spoken word.

Gracenote adds a meta data to songs so that cars, phones, laptops, and other devices can identify music files – so anytime you’re riding in a car or playing music in iTunes, the artist and album information displayed is provided by Gracenote’s database.

Musicians can also register track order information and album art.

Song Discovery

Gracenote does more than embedding meta data into song files – Gracenote adds a unique digital identifier called an audio fingerprint to songs. Gracenote then manages these fingerprints and serves them to music services.

These audio fingerprints make it possible for listeners to identify songs using their phones to sample audio. The database is advanced enough that it can even distinguish between a radio edit or a remix.

The audio fingerprint is also used to help fans discover more music they might like by matching related genres, moods, and sounds. Gracenote is considered the first global platform for music discovery.

Gracenote Rhythm is the secret sauce inside many of the world’s hottest streaming music services. Data intelligence and algorithms from Gracenote Rhythm help music fans build the ultimate radio stations and playlists based on their favorite artists, listening preferences, and musical tastes.”

Copyright monitoring

Gracenote Copyright Song Monitoring

The audio fingerprint does more than help listeners discover new music. Gracenote enables music monitoring so that music industry professionals are able to preserve their intellectual property by tracking a song’s use – identifying copyrighted music for compliance and royalty management.

Twitter verification

Gracenote recently teamed up with Twitter, streamlining the verification process for musicians to get Verified Accounts. This further protects an artist’s brand, message, and intellectual property.

“This agreement with Gracenote will help us expand the number of musicians verified on Twitter, to make it easier than ever to find and follow your favorite artists.”
Omid Ashtari, Twitter’s head of sports and entertainment

Used by millions around the world every day

Millions of listeners around the world

Trusted by the biggest names in the music industry, Gracenote can serve hundreds of millions of users every day.

Gracenote’s music database is built into millions of cars around the world and curated specifically to the region the car will be sold in.

With over 20 million songs in their platform, Gracenote is used by iTunes, Amazon Music, DirecTV, Sony, LG, and other top media companies in 85 countries.

Getting Started with Gracenote

Interested in using Gracenote to ensure that your album information is visible, identifiable, and copyright protected? Bison Disc offers Gracenote database registration as an upgrade on all of our discs. We believe in Gracenote as one of the best tools for musicians as it:

  • helps millions of fans identify songs
  • helps listeners discover new artists
  • shares information about a musician’s album to iTunes, WinAmp and Finder – making sure meta data displays properly on any device
  • provides monitoring for copyright and royalties
  • expedites Twitter Verification process for musicians
  • is affordable – just a $18 upgrade at checkout

We also offer a special combo of CD text and Gracenote registration for $40.00. CD text embeds information so that a song’s name, track and artist will appear when played in non-MP3 environments, like a CD player.

Ready to get started? Start your order today.