Frequently Asked Questions


Uploading Files

If you have initiated a free sample request or a project with us, you should receive a URL link in an email along with instructions on how to upload your files online using the link. This will either be through Descript (for podcasts) or Bounce Boss (for mastering) – both of which we use to work on audio remotely with our customers. Please don’t attempt to email files through to us directly, as we won’t accept them from anywhere other than the link provided.

Precise instructions would depend on what audio software that you use, but a basic principle would be that your files should leave 3db headroom and have little to no compression or other processing applied to the master bus (main stereo out). They should be .WAV or .AIFF files, to the bit rate and sample rate that they were recorded at (we recommend a minimum of 24bit / 48000khz). Please do not change the bit and sample rate from the original recordings unless it is unavoidable.

If that was all gobbledigook to you, then fear not – as always we are available to our customers to answer any questions and provide technical support via phone, email, or Facebook messenger.

When you receive the email with a URL for the upload location, you will also receive a separate link which will take you to an online form, detailing any further information we require. This will vary depending on the project – see the different sections below for more specific information.

Bounce Boss (bounceboss.co.uk) is, in their own words, ‘a secure collaboration platform for anyone that works with audio or music. Bounce Boss lets you organize, listen and communicate better, so you can complete your audio projects, faster.’ We use their service as it makes it super easy for you to communicate feedback to us, compare versions, share any audio files, and generally just have a far better experience than faffing about with cloud storage services.

We always try our very best to respond to such requests within one working day. However, if you have still not heard from us after three working days, email us directly at hello@amcaudio.co.uk or call us on 01484 799 012.

Podcast Services

This depends on what files you send us. At most basic, if you send us a finalised edit stereo file, with hosts and guests mixed down already, we can simply master it to sound as silky as radio and to correct loudness levels. If you’ve simply got separated, unedited, raw recordings of guests and hosts, then we can also take on editing under your instruction, noise removal, room ‘echo’ reduction, and a whole lot more. See our ‘podcasts’ page for more detail.

If you’re planning to put together a whole series then do get in touch with us directly so we can discuss your specific needs and yes, if you have a run of 10 or more shows in the pipeline, we usually offer a discount.

We can certainly enhance the quality of these types of recording. However, if you’re expecting us to transform them into the sound of a professional podcasting/radio studio vocal recording, I’m afraid that it’s scientifically impossible. Without going into too much detail – essentially such VoIP or video calling services heavily compress audio. This means that they simply don’t capture the data of many low and high bands of audio frequencies which are key to getting vocals to sound crisp – and unfortunately, you can’t add or enhance frequencies that just aren’t contained within the audio file data.

At the moment, no. However, audio technology has, over the past 5 years or so, evolved to a point where it is cheap and relatively easy for anybody to be able to record a podcast fairly well using a computer, an audio interface, and a cheap-ish microphone. If you have a spare room on your premises, or an office in your house, that you can give a little acoustic treatment to, you’re already onto a winner. Why bother adding to the cost of each episode by recording in a professional studio environment when you can do it on-site? You have a better ROI as the investment cost is kept lower. Save your money for the bit that requires expert skills to be done properly – the post-processing, production and mastering.

We can happily provide transcriptions as part of our service to you, delivered in a Microsoft Word document.

‘Video podcasts’ are rapidly becoming a popular way of distributing your podcast to platforms such as YouTube or IGTV, particularly if they are a talk show/host and guest format. It’s a smart move because it immediately opens up a larger audience reach. However, it requires you to record a video call (if done remotely) or video on your premises simultaneously to recording the podcast audio, which can involve more time and technical expertise to get right.

We are glad to have video production expertise in the team at AMC Audio, so if you need support with the technical aspects of this, or require video editing to be in line with the podcast edit, then we are also happy to provide this service as required for your specific needs.

If you’ve gone to the trouble of recording and perfecting your podcast, then we understand that you want to maximise the number of places you can use it, and also that you’ll want to promote it. That’s where teasers and audiograms come in, which we are happy to offer as a service add-on if you would like us too.

Mastering Services

Mastering is a term that has been around for decades, but the process it refers to has evolved too over those decades, so it can be a little confusing. Today, in the age of digital audio and digital distribution, in its most basic form, mastering is the last part of the process of creating the ‘Master’ sound files. It is an art and a science – it both applies creative decisions in embellishing and enhancing the mix to catalyse the character and quality of the music/mix, and it also ensures that the sound file is precisely engineered to appropriate loudness levels. It can also involve creating DDP files and embedding IRSC codes into the files, especially if physical copies are expected to be manufactured.

What mastering is NOT:

  • Slapping on then cranking up a limiter
  • A plugin preset you can apply

Do you need it? If you’re serious about releasing music, absolutely. Can you master your own records? People try, but the result is very rarely as good. It is very uncommon for professionally produced music to be mixed and mastered by the same person. A different set of ears is required to pick out imbalances and improvements that have been missed.

Stem mastering is basically where instead of mastering using one stereo mixdown, the mater is made using bounces of several ‘group’ mixdowns – eg, all vocals, all drums, all electric guitars – etc. Stem mastering has become more popular over recent years, because artists are more commonly doing there own mixes and then only paying for professional mastering, rather than a pro mix as well, in order to keep costs down. Using stems does give the mastering engineer a lot more flexibility to make adjustments and corrections, so we think its certainly worth doing if you haven’t had a professional mix done already.

While we don’t do sit-in sessions at the moment, we recognise that a good relationship and clear communication between engineer and artist is critical in making sure that your work is shaped into the vision you have for it. So, we enable this in a couple of ways:

Firstly, by using Bounce Boss – the audio project collaboration web app that makes it easy to compare versions, upload reference files, and comment on progress.

Secondly, by offering regular contact via video calls, phone, email or Facebook messenger. We like to know the people behind the music that we work on, and value taking time to understand artistic vision.

If asked, we will also mix projects. However, if your project only has a limited number of tracks, we would recommend considering stem mastering as this often turn out to be more cost effective for you.

The process of using these automatic online mastering sites may seem easier. There’s many reasons why they just don’t cut the mustard for giving your audio a perfect polish, but here’s the primary one – there isn’t a professional audio engineer spotting all the little sonic subtleties that add up to make a huge difference – removal of rogue background noises, hiss removal, creative balance of tone and EQ to best compliment the song, etc etc. AI is great at scientific calculation. But mastering is an ART and a science.

We don’t publish or advertise a list of audio hardware and software that we use to make music. We realise that many other mastering and mixing engineers or studios out there do, so why not us?

Well, a couple of reasons. Firstly, sometimes the ‘gear lists’ you find on websites are sadly not always entirely truthful, and as business integrity and trust with our customers is a top priority, we want to stay out of the ‘gear wars’ of others. It distracts from making great music. Also, simply because the gear is listed doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be used in audio processing of your track!

Secondly, the hype and sometimes mystical veneration of some analogue outboard – limiters, compressors, exciters, etc – is ultimately, just that – hype. Hype created by good marketing driven by the manufacturers and resellers of said hardware. It’s not that they don’t sound good – they often do. It’s just in the 2020s, the question is no longer about Neve vs SSL, Manley vs Shadow Hills, Waves vs UAD, Genelec vs Tesco….it’s now completely about how good is the engineer and their ears. Can they take your music to the next level?

This is exactly why we offer a free sample service – because we believe that once you hear the result of our mastering, you’ll love the result, not care so much about how we got there, and want to come back for more! We want to let the audio speak for itself.

Rest assured, we use range of professional tools to get the job done on your music – both hardware and software 😉

You may be interested in hearing the legendary mix engineer Andrew Scheps talking about why he now mixes 100% ‘in the box’ (digitally in a computer).

Payment

If you are ordering and subscription plan or product through our website, you will be required to pay up front to place the order. Subscriptions are charged on a fixed day every month, automatically requested from your given bank account via PayPal or Direct Debit, at your choosing.

If you have hired us for a service not listed on the website, payment terms will be established at the start of undertaking that service. The most likely scenario is that we will invoice you for the full amount due upon service completion

Our web store gives you the option to pay using debit card, credit card, or PayPal account via the PayPal secure payment gateway, or by using Direct Debit via the GoCardless secure payment gateway.

If you have received an invoice from us that needs paying upon completion of a service, you will be able to pay this either via BACS (bank transfer) or by visiting our online payments page where you can pay with debit card, credit card, or PayPal using the PayPal secure payment gateway.

We won’t accept cash or cheques unless in exceptional circumstances.

We know how annoying ‘hidden costs’ can be, so we always strive to be as transparent as possible with how much things will cost. Therefore in the occasional instances where more work will have to be done on a project than anticipated, whatever the reason, we will let you know of any additional expenses before continuing with anything.

Questions? Ideas? Start the conversation.

Hit the button to contact us now via our online form, or to book in a call-back.

Questions? Ideas? Start the conversation.

Hit the button to contact us now via our online form, or to book in a call-back.

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