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Mastering Essentials: Final Delivery, Requirements & Specs

Part 6 - The SOS Techniques Guide | by Ian Shepherd By Ian Shepherd
Published January 2021

One master to rule them all ? You've carefully optimised the loudness, EQ and dynamic processing for your master — but how will it sound in the real world?

In this final episode of the SOS Mastering Essentials series, Ian Shepherd reveals the best specification and file formats for submitting your masters — both online, and for CD and vinyl. Plus, how to hear how it will sound online, before you upload.

Also see the Loudness Penalty site where you can test your files:


Mastering Essentials: The SOS Techniques Guide
In this six-part series, produced in association with Steinberg, well-known mastering engineer Ian Shepherd takes us through his approach to mastering. Whether you’re polishing individual tracks or assembling EPs or albums, Ian will explore the tools, skills and decisions that can help you achieve great-sounding results.

1. What Is Mastering?

2. The Three Ms of Mastering 

3. How Loud Should You Master? 

4. Mastering EQ: Balance, Don’t Match

5. Compression & Limiting In Mastering

6. Final Delivery: Requirements & Specs

For more details on Ian’s approach to mastering, you can get his free downloadable Home Mastering Guide at

For more info about Ian Shepherd, visit his site: