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Sound Better

Sound Better

ZenMastering provides professional audio mastering services to musicians, audio producers, and record labels/content owners around the world. We make sure your recorded music sounds its best — regardless of final format or listening environment — so listeners can experience it as its meant to be heard. Mastering is a specialization within the world of audio. It's all we do, and we do it right.

 

Our client list ranges from indie garage bands to award-winning artists. After more than 20 years in business — and over 1,000 projects under our belt — we realize there's no substitute for experience, attention to detail, and professional integrity. The best gear doesn't hurt either.

Today's artist may need masters optimized for Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, YouTube, CD, vinyl, or cassette. Whatever the final destination, we've got you covered.

Request a free one-minute sample and hear the difference for yourself. We'd love to work with you to help your recordings sound better.

Famous Names

Notable artists we've mastered projects/songs for include Agent Orange, Jim Sonefeld (drummer for Hootie and the Blowfish), Justin Young (guitarist for Colbie Caillat), Mike Mills (bassist for R.E.M.), Winfield fingerstyle guitar champion Michael Chapdelaine, and too many San Diego Music Awards nominees and winners to list.

 

Below are a few high-profile artists who kindly shared their opinion of our mastering. For a complete list of testimonials, check out our Facebook page.

"...you did an incredible job with the Jim Sonefeld (Hootie and the Blowfish drummer) project. I think it sounds absolutely fantastic!
Thank you."

"My association with Paul Abbott and ZenMastering has been one of the most productive and satisfying experiences in mastering I have ever had."

"Paul is an amazing mastering engineer. What I've heard of [his] work is very, very, very, VERY good."

Famous Names
Got Analog?

Got Analog?

Our custom, all-analog mastering console provides the perfect finishing touch to your recordings, revealing clarity, impact, power, and detail that you never thought possible in digital mixes. You won't believe how fat, warm, and punchy your songs will sound on a mobile phone!

Picture of ZenMastering's Analog Console

Hand-selected pieces from Dangerous Music, Maselec, AnaMod, and Pendulum. Monitored though the Lynx Hilo AD/DA, controlling Lipinski L-707 speakers (bi-amplified by Lipinski monoblock amps) and B&W subwoofers. All work spot-checked with Audeze headphones. Everything is connected with DH Labs SilverSonic cable and powered by the Sowden Softbrew system (a nod to Doug Sax's famous coffee comment...).

Need digital processing? We work "in the box" when needed and have best-in-class digital tools for those occasions, as well as the best software for audio restoration if a bit of clean-up is required prior to mastering.

Your Guide

Your Guide

ZenMastering is San Diego's longest-running dedicated audio mastering studio, founded in 2000. We're owned and operated by renowned mastering engineer Paul Abbott. Think of him as your guide to making better sounding recordings.

 

Paul has been featured in Music Connection's "Masters of Mastering" series and appeared as an expert columnist for many of pro audio's leading publications. One of Paul's articles was even cited in Damon Krukowski's acclaimed book The New Analog.

Picture of Paul Abbott.

Paul's perspective on mastering comes from decades of playing music, making recordings, critical listening, and rigorous comparative audio/sonic analysis. Paul's mastering philosophy is that the highest-quality, properly matched analog gear produces the best results.

Relative Wisdom

Relative Wisdom

Paul has been a featured columnist in many of pro audio's leading publications, including EQ, Tape Op, Sound on Sound, Music Connection, and Taxi.

 

Each magazine cover below links to the article Paul wrote for that issue. But if you only have time for the essentials, check out these three...

  1. What Is Mastering and Why You Need It

  2. Preparing Your Mixes for Mastering

  3. An Argument for Specialization

Q&A

Q&A

Q: Are your mastering prices negotiable?

A: We’ll happily discuss your budget and your project. Our goal is to make your recording sound its best.

 

Q: Why wouldn't I just use a less expensive, automated mastering service like LANDR, Cloudbounce, eMastered, or Masterchannel?

A: Sound quality. Automated/AI digital plug-in mastering can't compare with all-analog mastering done by an experienced professional. Check out this article from Music Radar comparing four automated/online mastering services to a professional mastering engineer. The takeaway quote is, "...on balance, it is reasonable to expect an experienced mastering engineer to beat an AI on every metric...".

Q: What do Drake, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Billie Eilish have in common?

A: They sell millions of albums, are top-streaming Spotify artists, and their music is mastered with analog gear by a pro engineer. In other words, they don't use automated mastering...and neither should you.

Prices

Prices

You don't have to break the bank to sound like a superstar.
These packages are designed to work with indie budgets while making you sound like a major label artist.

1

Single-Song Package

Want to work on your single for the season? This is for you. It comes with:

  • The all-analog ZenMastering treatment to make your song stand out.

  • Pre-mastering discussion to give final mix feedback and get the tone and direction of the song.

  • One agreed-upon revision.

  • Mastering for streaming, CD, or vinyl.

2

E.P. Package

(Save $24/song)

If you have more than one song, but fewer than an album, this is for you. It's great for artists with 2-6 songs. It includes:

  • The all-analog ZenMastering treatment to make your E.P. stand out.

  • Pre-mastering discussion to give final mix feedback and get the tone and direction of the song.

  • One agreed-upon revision.

  • Mastering for streaming, CD, or vinyl.

3

Album Package

(Save $34/song)

This is great for projects with 10 songs or more, or longer than 40 minutes of playing time. It includes:

  • The all-analog ZenMastering treatment to make your album stand out.

  • Pre-mastering discussion to give final mix feedback and get the tone and direction of the song.

  • One agreed-upon revision.

  • Mastering for streaming, CD, or vinyl.

Get a Quote

Get a Quote

Book a session, get a price quote, request a free mastering sample.

Submit the form and let us know how we can help!

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