What is mastering?
Mastering is the science of making your mix commercially viable, while embodying the art of preserving and enhancing the specifics of your creative vision. In short, it ensures your program is optimized for its destination medium whether it be CD, vinyl, compressed download, SACD or a high-res PCM resolution. Mastering demands exceptional hearing combined with a balanced perspective. It requires patience, focus on details and the knowledge and experience gained through years of critical listening. Mastering is the last creative process in the production chain and the final technical check before delivery to the public or future proof archive. Mastering requires a sonically correct listening environment and is performed with the very best specialized tools and techniques available. But equally, if not of more importance, it's the mastering engineer years of experience in and an appreciation for many music genres that will lead to showcasing your work in the best possible light.

What is the Jamgood Mastering approach?
We listen. We listen to your ideas if you attend, or read every note you send us if you don't. We listen to your music along with any comparisons before we do anything at all... every project is unique. We listen to the context of the songs and spaces between them, aiming for musical transitions rather than a formulaic approach. If we encounter problems, we assess the situation, come up with some possible solutions, present those options to you, and listen to your input before proceeding. When we finish, and you've approved your reference, we listen to the final product once more from start to finish to ensure there are no glitches or flaws in the files delivered to the plant, or errors or mistakes in the documentation, cuing and indexing of your CD. There are no second engineers, no interns, no “bargain night shift" deals, and we don't farm out your job – if it's mastered here not only do we do the work, but we stay behind it.

Is mastering really necessary?
In most cases yes. The best mixes come from the studio with considerable headroom for a mastering engineer to make tonal and gain adjustments. Most albums are mixed over a period of days, weeks, months or even years, often in different studios, and sometimes by different engineers. So, the collection of music can be quite diverse. Mastering is the process that brings out the very best in your mix, plus brings together all of the different mixes into a cohesive-sounding album. A great mix left unmastered and directly transferred to CD will generally sound thin if released commercially. Worse, when you get airplay, a song without mastering will be slaughtered by broadcast chains optimized for fully mastered releases.

Why not master during mixdown?
Why not take advantage of the mixing studio's post-mix services (devices like the Alesis Masterlink, a Finalizer, DBX Quantum, or a host of software plug-ins)? These “one size fits all" devices are a “jack of all trades, master of none". So, just say "NO" to processing of your full stereo mixes. Yes, finalizing and basic normalizing will make your songs sound better and louder on your reference than flat mixes, but it's unlikely that the results will compare to what the same unprocessed song will sound like after full, dedicated mastering. The rule of thumb is this – anything you for loudness should be avoided in mixing; if it's done for sonic reasons, go for it. And, please don't apply limiters to prevent 'overs' while mixing – pull the faders down instead. In our mastering suite, monitoring is performed in an acoustically accurate environment with precisely selected very high quality specialty processors generally not found in most standard tracking or mix studios.

Can I attend my mastering session?
We welcome your company and we'll treat you with southern hospitality should you decide to attend. However, don't feel pressure to take the time or incur extra expense just to look over our shoulder. We're happy for you to send and approve your files electronically. Rest assured, your mixes will get the same love and attention with either decision.

How do we get on the same page?
Here are some suggestions to help get us on the same page. Tell us some reference material to benchmark, e.g. similar sounding artists, mastered music you like sonically, etc. We will listen. And, we will talk with you about if we can move your mixes toward that goal, and if not, why. Please be on time! The clock on your session starts at the time of your appointment. Don't bring everybody in the band. Ideally, the project's producer or mix engineer and/or the elected band representative who has gone over the entire project with the rest of the group to prepare a list of concerns – that's enough. Your mastering money goes for critical listening, not happy hour.

What is e-Mastering?
E-Mastering allows our clients to send us their mixes via the internet. It's that simple. Contact us and we'll set-up a FilesAnywhere secure folder to which you will upload your mixes. We will send you back a physical master for replication purposes, as well as a CD audio copy for your final approval. If time or location restraints prevail, we can deliver electronic copies of the master and reference to you in much the same way. Your mastered music will be sent as an industry standard, DDP file, ready for the duplication plant. You can also audition and check this master file, by using our custom DDP player that we will send to you with the master file. This DDP player not only allows you to hear the final master, but also approve the spacing in between tracks as they will appear on the replicated CD. The software you receive also allows you to burn a CD copy for your own personal reference.

So who is this Dr. Jamgood?
Dr. Jamgood isn’t a person, he’s an icon on the Jamgood quotable merchandise: t-shirts, coffee cups, etc. It is often confused that Pat Patten is the Dr. And while he has similar impressive credentials -- Dr. HiFi on ‘80s recording sessions with the Swinging Richards and the Nightsharks as well as Dr. Clickman on Remember the Alamo (1986) Larry Bowie, Tommy Carlisle, Donnie McCormick, Joe South and Billy Joe Royal – Pat is not Dr. Jamgood. Hopefully not to confuse matters yet again, Patten and Coe Cloud are responsible for creating the profound quotes for which the good Dr. gets the credit, e.g. “I Miss the Hiss", “Gooey Analog Goodness", and many more coming soon. Dr. Jamgood merchandise may be purchased from the "merch" tab on this site.

What mix & data formats do we accept?
Rest assured, Jamgood Mastering is dedicated to mastering your music with highest possible quality. To get files to quickly and cheaply, many clients chose to submit mixes for mastering through our Jamgood Mastering FilesAnywhere FTP site. Contact us for more information. We'll create a secure folder and send you instructions about how to upload your material.

In addition to CD-R and DVD-R, we do accept audio files on USB or Firewire virus-free drives. If you'd rather mail your mixes on a physical format, send them to:
Jamgood Mastering
Attn: Pat Patten
106 College Ave
LaGrange, GA 30240-3014

We accept any standard PCM 16 or 24bit format – 44.1 up to 192k, SACD, or future proof resolutions up to 1-bit 5.6MHz. Hopefully it goes without saying, your mixes will benefit by you sending the highest resolution you have. Please supply relevant information such as sample and bit rate. Split mono or stereo interleaved files are fine. And, remember to leave us at least 4dB of level with which to work, 6dB is even better!

- Data files (dff, dsf, wsd, aiff, wav, sdII, flac) on CD-R, DVD-R, flash drive, or via FTP upload
- DDP file set on CD-R, DVD-R, flash drive, or via upload
- Masterlink CD24 (16 or 24 bit / 44.1 - 96kHz)
- 16 or 24 bit (DAT) Digital Audio Tapes
- (coming soon)1/4" and 1/2" 2 track analog at 15 or 30 ips

Digital Sources are transferred digitally into the workstation at full resolution. Analog transfers are done via highly accurate 24 bit A-to-D converters.

Analog tapes should have standard reference tones before the beginning of the material. These should be recorded with the same recorder that was used during mixdown. A 1kHz tone at 0VU for at least 30 seconds is a must. Additional tones of 100Hz and 10kHz help insure a more stable calibration. (tapes must not be encoded with Dolby NR or DBX noise reduction).

DATs can have a 1kHz reference tone between -12dB and -20dB. While not necessary, additional tones can lend some valuable information about the quality of the DAT machine's A/D converters. Tapes should be recorded at 44.1kHz for CD compatibility. Tapes recorded at 48kHz will be converted to 44.1kHz prior to mastering. Please allow at least 1 minute of tape to pass before beginning the program material. Start IDs should notate each song but critical placement is not necessary. All CD IDs are placed during mastering.

What are your mix submission guidelines?
One of the key elements of the mastering process is to gather all the source mixes and combine them into one complete, cohesive album. In order to make this process go smoothly and to save time and money during a mastering session, it is imperative that the source mixes are clearly labeled and well organized. With unattended sessions this becomes even more important as someone is not present to answer questions.
Here are some tips to make submitting and labeling your mixes to us helpful and time saving:

Please clearly label ALL discs, tapes, hard drives, etc. with the following information:
1. Artist name (with correct spelling!)
2. Client name
3. Record Label (if applicable)
4. Project name/album title (if there is one)
5. Date
6. Complete track titles (not abbreviated) of all songs on source media
7. Mix version names (i.e. master, vocal up, vocal down, etc.)
8. Producer name
9. Mix engineer/assistant(s) name and contact number

Always note song sequence at the time of delivering sources. Either include a sheet with the sequence or a text file with the sequence on the source media. Please keep in mind that when you deliver a CD-R or a hard drive, files do not stay in a user defined sequence, but rather get sorted alphabetically, by date, etc.

When delivering files electronically through our Jamgood Mastering FilesAnywhere FTP shared folder, please send an email or include a text file with all the appropriate information you would normally provide on labels for physical media.

When sending files electronically, you may use a program such as WinZip or Stuffit (both are free programs that can be easily downloaded) to combine all individual files into one zipped/stuffed file. However, only combine multiple files; never compress the data. Doing this creates less potential for file corruption or incomplete downloads. Stuffing Mac files can also make them more compatible when going through PC servers.

Digital Sources:
When submitting digital files please include the following details on the label of the source media:
* Sample rate
* Bit depth
* File format (.wav, .aiff, etc.)
* Stereo interleaved or multiple mono (While we accept either, we prefer stereo interleaved files. If you choose to deliver multiple mono files, the files MUST be labeled with .L and .R in the files names and the files must be identical in length/size.)
* Mac formatted hard drives (virus-free). When submitting discs and hard drives, please label the above info on the J card or the drive box in order to save time by having to mount the media in order to see what's on it.
* If one or more files differ in sample rate and/or bit depth from the majority of the files, please note this and label accordingly.
* When labeling your audio files, please make sure file names are clear, plus specify song title and mix version. If you must abbreviate for space sake, please make sure you include notes explaining all abbreviations. Whenever possible, however, please avoid cryptic abbreviations.

Helpful hints! Please make file names as short as possible without becoming confusing. The most desirable file name is simply the song title and mix version (if applicable). Avoid any information not relevant for mastering, such as extraneous numbers (i.e. _01, _02, etc.). ALWAYS note which mix version is the version approved for mastering! If you color code you mixes on a Mac hard drive to show which mixes are for mastering, please provide an explanation as to what the colors indicate. This can avoid confusion later or wrong assumptions that color coded mixes are for mastering.

Analog Sources:
When submitting analog tapes please always include the following details on the box:
* Tape speed (30 IPS, 15 IPS, etc.)
* Noise reduction used (if any) (i.e. Dolby SR, Dolby A)
* Record level (+3, +6, etc.)
* Reel # (if part of a set of reels)
* Tones included on the tape
* When printing mixes to tape, always provide at least 30 seconds of the following tones at 0 VU on at least one reel of a set of reels for a project: 1K, 10K, 100 Hz. This allows us to properly calibrate our tape Machine.
* Always provide plenty of leader at head of tape and between each song.

Helpful hints! - Some assistants even label on the physical reel itself by drawing on the reel and writing the song name to point out where each mix begins. Some assistants also write the song title and mix version on the outside of leader itself before the mix.
By following these guidelines and taking the time and attention to properly and clearly label sources, much time (and money) can be saved by avoiding file conversions, deciphering poor labels, calling producers/engineers with questions, etc. This allows the time spent in mastering to be about what's really important - the music!

What is a ‘reference disc’? How is it different from the ‘production master’?
All reference discs are cut on site, one disc at a time. A reference disc is the disc we cut at the end of the mastering session for you to listen to wherever you wish. We encourage you to listen to you reference discs in a variety of familiar locations: in your car, at home, in your studio, on your computer, etc. Unless changes are made, this disc sounds exactly like what your manufactured discs will sound like.

The production master is cut similarly to the reference disc, but undergoes several layers of quality control checks to insure it is a direct clone of the approved reference disc, all of the necessary sub-code data is included and correct and that it has the lowest error rates possible. (learn more about ISRC, CD-Text, Gracenote and more below)

More and more clients are choosing to forgo reference discs entirely, opting to download the mastered files from our web or FTP servers. Likewise, most clients now choose to have their production master(s) delivered directly to the plant via DDP file set – check with your manufacturing plant to insure they accept this format before deciding to go this route, but in our experience most plants accept DDP images now. We’ll be happy to discuss and accommodate either option.

What is a DDP (Disc Description Protocol) file?
DDP, also referred to as DDPi (DDP Image), identifies and describes collections of data that will be recorded onto a High Density (HD), DVD or CD optical disc. DDP was invented to help manufacturers have a consistent and complete description of the input media for use in glass mastering of CD. DDP was extended to DVD in 1996, with High Density formats added in 2006.

There are two ways to deliver your master to a replication facility, audio CD or DDP file. While audio CDs work for this purpose, they are far from ideal because no matter how good the media and the burner are, you're going to have some number of errors in the data. On the other hand, Disc Description Protocol (DDP) files are delivered as data on a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. The error correction employed on data discs is designed to be more robust than that of audio CDs. This ensures the audio master the plant gets will not have any errors in the data.

What is an ISRC (International Standard Recording Code)?
The ISRC is a unique alpha-numeric code that functions as a digital “fingerprint" for your music. The ISRC remains allocated to a recording regardless of changes in ownership and is an extremely powerful tool for royalty collection, administration and anti-piracy safeguards.

If you are on a label, they will typically provide ISRCs for your recordings. If you are an independent artist, you will need to have your own registrant code provided by one of the following:

In the US: Contact RIAA
In Canada: Contact AVLA
Elsewhere: Contact IFPI

These organizations will help you through the process of applying for a registrant code – we can help you generate the appropriate ISRC from there.

What about CD Databases (CD-Text, Gracenote and more)?
We’re often asked, “when my fans put my CD in their player, will my album title and track names show up?" The short answer is: It depends what kind of player they’re using and what steps you’ve taken before they put it in the player.

If they’re putting your CD into an Internet-enabled device, the computer is accessing an online database with information that matches your CD. The information they see does not come from your CD - it comes from a database file that is believed to match your CD. There are a few major databases, and the instructions below will tell you exactly how to make sure you’re represented on the biggest two databases with just a few minutes of effort.

If they’re putting your CD into a standalone player, that's another thing altogether. CD-text didn’t catch on universally with standalone players; but if you want it to show up on the standalone players that do support CD-text, it needs to be encoded with CD-text during the mastering stage. Encoding CD-text is standard operating procedure at Jamgood Mastering.

Now back to the second paragraph... there are two big databases in which you need to register. The first database is the Gracenote CDDB (used by iTunes, Winamp, and dozens of other software players). The second is the AllMusicGuide database (used by Windows Media Player). Getting your album information onto these databases is easy and quick:

Gracenote CDDB Registration Instructions:
1. Open iTunes.
2. Insert your CD and wait for iTunes to recognize that a CD is present.
3. Type in the Artist, Title, and Track information for your CD.
4. Check for typos, because your information will be uploaded as you typed it.
5. Click the Advanced tab, then click Submit CD Track Names.
6. In 24-48 hours, your submission will go live at Gracenote.

AllMusicGuide Database Registration Instructions:
Take one retail-ready CD, put it in a mailer, and send it to:
Product Submissions
All Media Guide
1168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Your information should be live in 4-6 weeks.

What are your rates?
Every project is different and benefits from our unique approach. We'll give your mixes a courtesy listen, and then quote you a not-to-exceed price to master your music.

Mastering an album can take as little as 5-6 hours or as much time as you and we deem necessary to result in the quality you deserve. $15 per mixed minute is a good guide, e.g. 30 total mastered minutes is $450. Variations for radio and/or licensing during the session are an additional $15 each.

After the initial mastering is done, the next step is to produce a reference redbook master, i.e. sequence, fades, song-to-song timing, and CD-text. We provide a master (CD or DDP) to which you listen and approve. Then before uploading the DDP to your manufacturer, Pat performs a final critical realtime QA listen. You will receive two 44.1/16 safety master discs for your intellectual property file. The rate for redbook/DDP preparation ranges from $75-$125.00. {note} If you are planning only digital distribution of your record, you do not need a physical, error checked master disk.

High-res [88.2/24 or 96/24] "Mastered for iTunes" is available for a slight premium.

Please know, Pat doesn't overtax his ears by critically listening for extended periods or by booking more than one full length record per day.

The bottom line is this... after we've receive your final mixes and given them a courtesy spot listen, a not-to-exceed firm quote will be agreed and your attended or unattended mastering session scheduled.

What forms of payment do we accept?
We accept all major credit cards, PayPal, checks (personal, business or cashier), money orders, and cash. Payment in full is expected before your mastered files are released. A 50% deposit is required for first-time clients.

What equipment do you use?

Analog Insert Switcher:

Manley Backbone

Analog Processing:
Manley Massive Passive Vacuum Tube Equalizer
API 5500 Classic Equalizer
Manley Vari-Mu w/ T-Bar Mod Tube Compressor/Limiter
Kush Audio UBK Fatso Character Compressor
Empirical Labs Distressors Matched w/ Image Lock & Brit Mode
Pendulum PL-2 JFET/MOSFET Peak Limiter

Digital Processing & Conversion:
Crane Song HEDD-192

Playback:
Any 16 or 24 bit PCM digital audio file format (44.1 – 192kHz)
Korg MR-2000S DSD
Tascam DA-30 DAT transport

Monitoring:
Crane Song Avocet Stereo Monitor Controller
Focal Twin6 Be Active Monitor Pair

Other:
Pro-Tools
Sonic Studio
Gotham Cabling

What are your TERMS & CONDITIONS?
1. Acceptance of Terms. These terms and conditions constitute a part of the contract between Jamgood LLC d/b/a “Jamgood Mastering" and Client. Different or additional terms and conditions which may be included in Client’s purchase order or other acceptance of this quotation are hereby rejected unless approved in writing by a Partner of Jamgood LLC.

2. Risk of Loss. All risk of damage or loss to the work at any time after arrival FOB LaGrange, GA is assumed by Client, and such damage or loss shall not in any way release Client from any of its obligations hereunder. Client agrees that Jamgood Mastering shall not be liable for any special, incidental or consequential damages, including without limitation lost income or profits, resulting from damage or destruction to the work prior to delivery at the FOB point specified herein.

3. File/Tape Storage & Materials. File/Tape storage is at Client’s risk and may be released upon final payment. Quoted price is based on the cost to Jamgood Mastering of the type and grade of parts and materials to be used to produce the work as of the date of this quotation, and quoted price shall be subject to increases based on any increases in the cost of such parts and materials to Jamgood Mastering prior to completion of the work. All Client materials remaining at Jamgood Mastering may be assumed deserted 30 days after completion of project unless notification is provided in writing by a Partner of Jamgood LLC.

4. Web Server & FTP Site. Upon request from Client, Client materials may be made accessible to Jamgood Mastering or Client on Jamgood Mastering’s web server and / or password protected FTP site. Client agrees to adhere to all Jamgood Mastering FTP service provider site policies as the same may be provided to Client from time to time. Jamgood Mastering is not responsible for any unauthorized use or access to said site or materials.

5. Miscellaneous. Late payment shall be subject to interest charges of 1.5% per month. Customer acknowledges and agrees that Jamgood Mastering has the right to stop work, or otherwise withhold further services upon non-payment or other breach of this Agreement. Jamgood Mastering’s acceptance of late payment does not waive any right to receive full payment under these Terms and Conditions.

In the event Jamgood Mastering takes any action to enforce the terms of this Agreement and/or collect payment, Customer hereby agrees to pay all costs incurred in connection therewith, including, without limitation, all reasonable attorneys’ fees, expenses, and court costs incurred by Jamgood Mastering in its sole discretion. Customer further agrees that exclusive jurisdiction and venue for any claim arising out of or under the terms of this Agreement shall be in a state court of competent jurisdiction in Troup County, Georgia, and Customer hereby submits to the jurisdiction and venue of such court.