Audio Mastering and Guidelines

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The audio engineers at National Audio Company remaster the audio master you send in to optimize it for the type of tape you choose. This brings out the best in your sound and makes the most of the capability of the tape. We also insert inaudible tones between tracks and whatever gap timing you specify. To make this process work well and without delay, please read and follow the audio master guidelines.

CASSETTE AUDIO MASTER GUIDELINES

FOR THE MOST PROFESSIONAL SOUND ON YOUR CASSETTE TAPES
OBSERVE THESE RULES FOR PRODUCING YOUR MASTER.

• Acceptable master formats in order of preference are:

  1. Program Ready digital audio files (.wav, .aif, .aiff, .flac)
  2. CD-DA
  3. Data CD/DVD with 44.1kHz 16-bit wav files
  4. R-DAT
  5. Cassette
  6. 1/4″ and 1/2″ Analog reel tape (call first to check compatibility)

 If you need your project to enter production as soon as possible, you must provide program-ready audio files. What is a “Program-Ready” audio file? Every cassette has two programs. Program A is Side A and Program B is Side B. Providing “program-ready” audio files means that if each side contains more than one track/song, the tracks are combined as one audio file for each side – tracks in the correct order with the desired gaps between. (Most artists prefer a 2 second gap between tracks.) Both programs should be in 44.1 kHz/16-bit format.

 Tutorials for preparing your master files to be program ready are available at these links:
Tutorial for using Audacity for AudioTutorial for using iTunes for Audio.

 Other digital formats may be accepted, but will be converted to 44.1kHz 16-bit for use at NAC. If sending a compressed digital format, please check that the resulting playback quality and potential loss of fidelity is acceptable to your ear. You may upload the audio to your own webspace, to NAC’s FTP site, or to a free upload service site, then email us the download link along with your other order materials.

 All masters should be accompanied by a track list or note detailing Sides A and B. Check your master carefully for playback errors prior to sending it to save the time and expense of replacement it is unusable. Sequence your master exactly as you want the final product to be with the gaps between tracks exactly how you want them. In particular, please pay close attention to the pre-track pause times and any tracks that have audio extending across the next track marker.

 If you are using iTunes, changing the file names alone is not enough to preserve your track sequence when we create the .wav versions necessary for editing your production master. You must also check the embedded track number info for all of the tracks you are submitting to NAC. The quickest way to check this is to go to the View menu, select “View Options,” and add a check for “Track Number.” Then you can check the songs in your library for the proper embedded track number data, and if the sequence needs to be changed you can select a track, go to File > “Get Info” and fix the track number in the “Info” tab.

 Sometimes pops will occur between these tracks when a ripped/ compressed format has been used. For best accuracy, prepare Program Ready files, and check for these issues.

 De-essing may be applied when the master provided is overly sibilant or bright, and you have not ordered cobalt/chrome tape. This helps reduce high-frequency distortion, and allows the program volume level to be optimized for cassette tape. All efforts are made to keep the process as transparent as possible.

 Even small samples of recognizable copyrighted material of any origin will be rejected unless it is accounted for in your Intellectual Property Rights Form and you have provided proof of licensing/permission from the IPR owner. Please respect the rights of other artists.

For Cassette Duplication Order Form click here. NAC Cassette Duplication Order Form.
(Save the order form to your computer, fill out, and email to tricia@nactape.com)

For cassette Quote Request Form click here.

For cassette art templates, visit see the templates pages:
Imprint Templates
J-Card and O-Card Templates

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