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We Master Sound

We Master Sound

ZenMastering provides professional audio mastering services to musicians, audio producers, and record labels/content owners around the world.

 

We make sure recorded music sounds its best — regardless of final format or listening environment — so listeners can experience it as its meant to be heard.

Gold music notes streaming around a gold record.

Our client list ranges from indie garage bands to the award-winning artists, and we deliver masters optimized for all streaming services, CD, and vinyl...all processed through our custom all-analog mastering console.

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

Clients & Testimonials

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."

Client Testimonials
All-Analog Tools

All-Analog Tools

Mastering is a specialization within the world of audio. It's all we do, and we do it right.

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 equipment doesn't hurt either.

 

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 your digital mixes.

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.

Behind The Gear

Behind The Gear

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.

 

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.

Published Articles

Published Articles

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

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

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...".

Prices

Prices ($USD)

1

Single Song Package

Got a single song that needs mastering? Come on, what musician doesn't?

Single songs get the all-analog ZenMastering treatment to help them stand out.

Cost includes pre-mastering discussions, mastering, and one agreed-upon revision.

2

E.P. Package

If you have more than one song, but fewer than an album, take advantage of our E.P. Pricing Package. This generally is great for artists with 2-6 songs

Cost includes pre-mastering discussions, mastering, and one agreed-upon revision.

3

Album Package

This is where professional mastering really shines: by making your collection of songs sound like a professional, major label album.

 

This pricing structure is for projects with 10 songs or more, or longer than 40 minutes of playing time.

Cost includes pre-mastering discussions, mastering, and one agreed-upon revision.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Book a session, request a free mastering sample, or just ask a question about recording or mastering.

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

Thanks!
We'll be in touch soon!

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