Affordable (but hopefully good) mastering recommendations?

Hi everyone,

I’m finally nearing the finish line of my first electronic music album. It’s an all Model Cycles album that I’ve worked on the past year.
I’m starting to commit the sin of mastering myself and realizing that I spent way too much time making this album to destroy it with my completely newbie mastering attempt.

With that said, any recommendations for affordable mastering?
I don’t really want “auto masters”. I would much prefer the touch of a human being.
Anyone have good experience with a not too expensive mastering engineer they want to recommend?

For reference (if needed) my tracks can all be found here:

It’s all the tunes with the Model Cycles that don’t say “idea” in the header.

Thanks in advance!

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There was a thread kicking around recently called ‘mastering mastering’ that possibly had some useful chat.

Worth searching for.


Ah, I skipped it as I thought it was just about learning how to master. I’ll check it out now.

Just pm’ed you; would be happy to work on this!

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Have you used them before? Anything you could share as examples?

Wouldn’t recommend others without personal experience. I’ll try to find time to upload my mix and mastered version of my DT/DN combo 2 track recording and send you a cloud link.
Honest, no nonsense guy that isn’t in for the money but for the love of good sound. No regrets

I’ve been very happy with

Not super cheap or anything but definitely on the affordable side compared to other mastering studios of high quality

bookmarked. I have songs sat and ready to go, 1, perhaps 2 EPs worth. But this is the part I hate. “Mastering.”

It’s just going up on Bandcamp so maybe 20 people can listen to it and never think about it again… :smiley:


I’m not a professional by any means and given that: I’m not willing to pay someone to mix or master my music but what I’ve noticed is the songs that sound the best of mine are mixed well from the beginning and basically my mastering stage comes from gaining the sound and coloring and EQing it through the analog heat and then using Pro-L to increase volume further.

But getting the mix done well from the beginning is the most important part and honestly, keeping it simple has helped the best. Not over thinking things and critically thinking about which elements I want to shine over the others. I don’t think compression is nearly as important on electronic music except for creative purposes. When you have full control over every elements automatic volume automation (compression) is not entirely necessary so it really just comes down to EQing bands that don’t need to be on specific elements and making sure the volume is set right. Also, working faster usually gets me better results than when I spend too much time thinking on shit.

I feel like so many mixing videos just bombard people with so much information that it makes mixing seem harder than it is. I just want something to sound good not perfect and my favorite albums by my favorite artists are usually not mixed perfectly which gives them more character anyways.

But from my understanding the main goal of mastering is to make it sound great for the platform or media it’s going to be on and then also make all the songs cohesive but it starts at the mixing stage.

Anyways, that’s my two unprofessional cents.


Good thoughts and points in there.
The one caveat I have is being that this is a Model Cycles album, and we aren’t getting OB for MC anytime soon (prove me wrong elektron :slight_smile:) I had to “mix” in the Cycles.
I use that term very lightly of course as there is literally no eq, comp, etc…
Regardless, I’m actually pretty happy with the “mix”. Everything seems to occupy it’s own space fairly well and I seem to prefer the summing that happens in Elektron Boxes vs what I get when using my DT/DN’s OB stems and mixing in a DAW. Though I may be lying to myself in an effort to save time and finally get some music out in the world.

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Again, unprofessional here, but yeah I basically don’t even mess with overbridge. I think it’s cool if you want to add more LFOs to parameters with a DAW but I don’t really like tracking out with it and prefer to tracking the master. I’d say if it sounds good and you don’t have obvious ringing in the highs and muddiness in the lows you really just need to glue it together with some sort of saturation or color compressor and use a limiter to increase overall volume.

But im also in the mindset of “good enough” and I don’t think you’ll ever achieve perfection so it’s not worth wasting time (or money) trying to achieve that. Cuz I can guarantee no one you show the album to is gonna really know the difference (or care) between a professionally mastered track and whatever you can do with a couple of plug-ins yourself.

That’s thjng I noticed, I’d show my wife different takes and she would hardly be able to tell a difference even though it felt big to me.

Just don’t over think it and unless you’re getting paid for your music I don’t think you should be dropping dough for professionals to mix it. Invest in something more tangible, like some hardware compressors or maybe a plug-in suite like Fabfilters mixing/ mastering bundle or Ozone.

(Again! Just my opinion)


Mastered three LP’s, an EP and various singles here. Levi is the man.

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Don’t worry about mastering. Worry about mixing your track to sound good. I’ve saved so much money mastering my own albums. It’s tedious, but I tend to do a bunch of mixdown revisions. Editing the individual sounds of the track itself to mix it the direction I want and be coherent.

All I really tend to do for mastering is just run ozone and limit the track to how loud I want it, along with maybe some very small eq tweaks or slight saturation. Also lets you make different versions whenever you need. For example specifically targeting a certain platform or medium you may want to make it louder or quieter.

Will 20 year pro guy do it better? Sure. Will my album make more than 20$? No. Self-Master it is lol


Yep! Work on your mix! A well balanced mix doesnt need much work when it comes to the mastering. (Mastering engineers have told me this)

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Not refering to the “just make it -3db LUFS” mastering mindset but the “make it last and pleasant to the ears on most speakers” mindset: Like that tiny little magic an Analog Heat can add with clean boost on material, You can’t put your finger on it but it feels so nice.
I wish i went the “let it be mastered” road way earlier in my hobby. I struggled for years and years. Satisfied with my compositions but rarely satisfied with the sound. Somehow my unconscious made reference from commercial tracks and records on how it supposed to sound. The process of letting some mixes be mastered was worth every penny. I learned i was “there” all the time or in some cases what my mixing skills are lacking. The mastering engineer is your second pair of neutral ears. The one with the varnish to protect and frame your paining to bring it into the world or enjoy yourself.
I’m sure there are many of you outthere with acoustic treated rooms and mastering skills to be sound designers, song writers, keyboard players, p-lock wizards, graphic designer and mixing engineers at once. Some of us aren’t or just enjoy focussing on the creative process more. Whatever road you take is personal taste i guess.


I agree. It’s worth paying for mastering, even an educational exercise to improve your own mixing and mastering. I’ll do it my LFO for stuff that’s just going up on Soundcloud or something, but if you’ve put a serious amount of effort in then the cost is worth it. It’s odd, because most people will struggle to describe the difference between great and mediocre masters but they’ll experience one as ‘more professional’.
I think there’s a totally natural preference for spending $$ on tangible things over services, but it’s not always the right choice.

+1 If you can get a decent mix really all you need is a tad of corrective EQ, maybe some saturation if you are into that, and then volume. Plenty of limiter plug-ins will give you tons of extra gain with no distortion or clipping.

Even when creating sounds and arranging, I’m always thinking about the mix. If I’m working with a sample or making a patch I’m thinking about what parts of the frequency spectrum are left for it to fit in.

My $99 earbuds thank you all for your hard and tedious work.

Ooh, a local! I’m definitely going to ping back and perhaps work on an excuse to.

Process just sending over carefully mixed stereo tracks?

Any tips with his or general process I might find useful?