Terms & Conditions
a: Mix Checks involve critical listening of your song by the engineer through the mastering studio monitoring chain. A brief response is given along the lines of whether it is ready for mastering. The aim is always to deliver the best version of your song, and collaborate together to make that happen. Mix Checks are a vital stage for identifying possible problems that will be amplified further down the road if not addressed. If nothing can be done to fix the issue, and it is agreed to still go ahead with mastering it regardless of this, then the advice given during the Mix Check frees the engineer of responsibility later on. Mix Checks are only complimentary when a mastering session has already been booked. If you were charged for a Mix Check and later book a mastering service (for the same song that was Mix Checked) then the Mix Check previously charged can be deducted from the mastering service invoice. If it has undergone a remix between the Mix Check and mastering session, this may be viewed as requiring a new Mix Check prior to mastering, and so the original Mix Check charge is still applicable and therefore non refundable.
b: Consultations are a one to one professional advice service. These are timed by the engineer and charged for by the hour. Time taken dealing with your project that is outside the realm of standard mastering, and deemed as advice, is considered a consultation. Consultations can be booked without needing to book a mastering service first, or at all. The scope of the consultation advice can vary greatly. Examples of consultations are the engineer’s personal opinion on how to improve an issue you have with your music, or a Mix Consultation where you may be guided by instruction of how to achieve a better mix for mastering, or recording/engineering advice on your project, or studio acoustics guidance. It shall be made clear, so that you are aware, when/if we are entering into a Consultation service agreement. There is a one hour minimum requirement. Entering into over the booked hour of consultation incurs another hours charge. This continues until the consultations are deemed as finished by the engineer and client. Part hours are rounded up.
c: Restoration work of your audio files. This may vary from attempting to remove unwanted coughs, clicks, pops, hum, squeaks from a live recording or studio session. Results can vary. Sometimes it can work to completely remove the unwanted issue. Occasionally the issue is too problematic to remove without causing severe degradation to the file, making it completely undesirable if attempting to continue with it’s removal. With restoration work it is not guaranteed that the desired result can be achieved, and this is accepted by the client before booking this service. The engineer’s time and hourly rate are to be honoured as having been used, despite the client’s view of the outcome of the restored file. There is a one hour minimum requirement. Entering into over the booked hour of restoration incurs another hours charge. This continues until the restorations are deemed as finished by the engineer and client. Part hours are rounded up.
d: Mastering is charged on a fixed price per track basis, not by the hour. This can often benefit the client due to the overtime the engineer spends (by choice) for the best possible result. The mastering is done at standard resolution resulting in 16 bit wavs for the client.
Add-ons: There are mastering Add-ons available to upgrade to Higher Resolution mastering which result in 24 bit wavs for the client. If any Add-ons are purchased the client shall receive both the standard 16 bit wavs, and the 24 bit wavs.
Revisions: Mastering is a service that can be viewed as artistic in the choices made by the engineer, and therefore open to subjectivity. Like everything artistic it may not appeal to everyone all at the same time. Although the aim is to satisfy the client, the aspect of revisions is down to the engineer’s discretion. Unlike a mixing service by a mix engineer, Mastering is not generally viewed here as a service where revisions are to be expected by the client. If granted the first genuine mastering revision request may be complimentary. Further revision requests may be subject to charges.
Remixes: If mastering is done on a mix, and a remix is later sent, the same mastering processes can not be applied to the remix. Each new mix that comes to be mastered is not a revision, it's a new mastering service. The new mix can't usually be fed through the same processing chain - e.g. a new vocal level mix will affect the compressor's reaction, and any surgical EQ choices that were made to make the vocal pop out, if applied on the new mix revision may now seem overbearing. Hence why each new mix needs to be treated individually on it's own merits, not it's predecessors.
Once a mastering service has been ordered, there are various Add-ons that can be purchased to upgrade the fidelity of the mastering. The client still receives 16 bit wavs as standard with their mastering, as well as the 24 bit wav files particular to the chosen Add-on.
a: Vinyl Premastering is a fixed price per track Add-on to the Mastering service that must be initially purchased. The result shall be 2 long wav files that are compiled of the tracks intended for use on each side (A and B) of the record. Although the 16 bit files that come with the initially ordered Mastering service, can be used to create these long wavs for each side of the record, it is highly advisable to use higher fidelity 24 bit files from either the Hi-Res Mastering Add-on, or the Mastered For iTunes Add-on.
b: Hi-Res Mastering is a fixed price per track Add-on to the Mastering service that must be initially purchased. These 24 bit wav files can be used for uploading to sites that sell/allow downloads or stream Hi-Res files. Some examples of these sites are HD Tracks, Quobuz, and Soundcloud. These may also be used as the files for the Vinyl Premastering Add-on. These files are not intended for iTunes, Apple Music or Apple Radio. Please see the Mastered For iTunes Add-on instead.
c: Mastered For iTunes (MFiT) is a fixed price per track Add-on to the Mastering service that must be initially purchased. MFiT follows strict guidelines set forth by Apple for the qualification of submitted music to be entered into the Mastered For iTunes store. Only a pre-approved (by Apple) Mastering Studio and specified Engineer can be an Official MFiT Provider. It is they who create these files. There is a white list of Official MFiT Providers which is available to record labels on request. Mastered For iTunes is a high quality mastering service that results in 24 bit wav files. These files are created with the premise that because they were created by an Official MFiT Provider, the wav file won’t suffer clipping distortions when converted into their AAC (.m4a) format for download sale on the iTunes store, or when used for their streaming services - Apple Music and Apple Radio - as they use the same AAC file. Focused on quality in, quality out, by accounting for the downstream effect of converting into the lossy file format Apple use on their stores/sites (AAC). An Official MFiT Provider understands the workings of all this, and guarantees to provide the required level of quality needed for the client, Apple, and the eventual consumer of the music. These may also be used as the files for the Vinyl Premastering Add-on.
d: Stem Mix Mastering is a fixed price per track Add-on to the Mastering service that must be initially purchased. Stems are regarded as sub-mixes of particular tracks often in stereo configurations. A Drums Stem would likely be a stereo track that had originated from a multitude of single elements such as kick, snare, toms, overheads, room etc. A Vocal Stem may be a stereo track of the lead vocal and backing vocals that were each recorded in mono, and have been spread individually in the stereo panorama for width and separation, but when processed as a stereo file can create a cohesion to that final stem. In the EDM scene the stems are often divided into 4 stereo pairs of drums, bass, vocals, and synths. There is a format called Stems by Ableton who create hardware that DJ’s may use to play the divided stems as a whole, or to blend with other stem tracks from other songs. The possibilities are quite endless having this level of control as a DJ, and so getting your music into Stems format for them to use can help promote you further, and could increase your potential of having remixes made of your music by DJ’s who use Stems format for their live sets. It may be that you want to divide your stems into more than 4 stereo pairs initially. A common Rock genre stem pattern is lead vocals, bass, kick, snare all as mono stems. The mono stems may have been summed to a mono track from several mono tracks combined. An example could be the mono Snare Stem being made up of the 3 mono tracks - snare top 1 (clean), snare top 2 (distorted), and snare bottom. These suggested mono stems (lead vocals, kick, snare, and bass) are all elements of a mix that are often panned central and are arguably the most important parts of the mix to get control of. The rest of the stems may be best kept as stereo stems, even if the left is a different instrument to the right, but this is open to whatever works best for you. Up to 16 channels of stems can be supplied for the Stem Mix Mastering Add-on. This could be presented by the client in the following way 1: Lead Vocal (m) - 2: Bass (m) - 3: Kick (m) - 4: Snare (m) - 5&6: Drums (st) - 7&8: Guitars (st) - 9&10: Keyboards (st) - 11&12: Percussion (st) - 13&14: Backing Vocals (st) - 15&16: FX (st). This gives a lot of control for the session’s Stem Mix processing and even allows slight automation moves. All in turn can help make a better Mix to Master. The final master will be delivered as a 16 bit stereo wav, and if a 24 bit Add-on is also purchased (Hi-Res or MFiT) then 24 bit stereo wavs will also be made and supplied along with the 16 bit ones.
e: Additional Versions are a fixed price, per track version, Add-on to the Mastering service that must be initially purchased. Additional mix versions processed through the main track’s mastering chain. An example may be an instrumental version of the main track, and an acapella version of the main track are both purchased (2 x £20 = £40) with the main mastering service (£75) which make a total of £115. If a 24 bit Add-On is also purchased with the main track (e.g. MFiT) then this would add another £25 to the total, making it £140. The Additional Versions (instrumental and acapella in this example) also are mastered and supplied in 24 bit. So you would receive 6 tracks for £140 as the following - Main 16 bit, Instrumental 16 bit, Acapella 16 bit, Main 24 bit, Instrumental 24 bit, and Acapella 24 bit. Prices are only for each additional version supplied at the same time as the main mastering session. If supplied after the mastering session has finished, prices may not be the same but higher. The most common Additional Versions are Instrumental - no vocals (lead or backing), Radio - censored or shorter edit, Acapella - vocals only (nothing else), and TV - no lead vocals. Additional versions are very useful to have made as there is always a calling for at least the instrumental version when publishers look to sign material for sync deals. The small cost to get it done at the same time as the main mastering stage makes a lot of sense, compared to having to return for a fresh master at full price of just the instrumental version at a later date.
Experience has shown me that Music Publishers want 16 bit versions, 24 bit versions, high quality mp3’s, and Instrumental versions. It is highly advised to get all these masters made if there’s any chance you would like to try to get your music synced to moving picture such as a Film, TV series, or Advertising.
a: Audio CD is a CD copy of your Album / EP / Single that is suitable to for listening to on your stereo.
b: DDP image file DDP stands for Disc Description Protocol. It is for CD replication. Ensures an exact copy of your CD as intended (without errors) using the fail-safe MD5 checksum. Red Book standard. ISRC and UPC/EAN are embedded (if supplied). A Player can be created for you to check / listen to the DDP file. No physical CD is created here. Purchase an 'Audio CD' or ‘PMCD’ as well if you require a physical CD.
c: PMCD stands for Pre Master Compact Disc and is for duplication in short runs (under 500 copies). A physical CD, Red Book standard, error checked, and tested. ISRC and UPC/EAN are embedded (if supplied). To avoid creating potential CD errors, use this for sending to a duplication service only, not for listening to on your stereo.
d: DVD that has the mastered audio files placed onto it may be purchased.
e: USB Flash Drive that has the mastered audio files placed onto it may be purchased.
a: Other Digital Formats such as mp3, AAC, FLAC, OGG, AIFF etc. may be purchased at £5 each per track. So an mp3 and FLAC of the main track adds £10 to the total. If you also had an instrumental version of the main track and also wanted mp3 and FLAC it would be another £10 to add to the total. So for £20 you would have main mp3, main FLAC, instrumental mp3, and instrumental FLAC.
b: HD Archive is a 32 bit float version of your project, stored and kept on a database. Your session will not be deleted from the system.
c: Barcode can be purchased to give you a UPC/EAN code for your single / EP / Album. For embedding into your CD’s meta data (PQ subcode channel information). The Barcode image will be supplied (for CD sleeve use) in .eps and .jpg formats. You take full responsibility for and ownership of the barcode once purchased.
For the avoidance of doubt, you are entirely responsible for any sample clearance and Zikis Mastering may not be held liable for any failure by you to obtain such clearance. In the circumstances you hereby agree to indemnify Zac Zikis and Zikis Mastering against any claim, penalty or award and any costs incurred in defending against any such claim, penalty or award. If you have purchased any barcodes you take full responsibility and ownership of them.
The balance must be paid in full before any media is handed over. By purchasing anything from Zikis Mastering you hereby acknowledge agreement to all of these terms and conditions.
If you have ordered mastering services, please kindly credit me everywhere as follows:
"Mastered by Zac Zikis at Zikis Mastering"
For any queries please don't hesitate to get in touch either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +44 7886 398384.
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10: Updates to Terms & Conditions
From time to time these Terms and Conditions may be updated for any reason, and without requirement to alert anyone of the changes. The changes will eventually update everywhere, but the Zikis Mastering website will generally be the place that has the most up to date version. This is the link for these https://www.zikismastering.com/terms