Apple Digital Masters (formerly Mastered for iTunes) is a process developed by Apple that mastering engineers follow in order to submit the highest quality master to Apple for sale through iTunes.
The SoundLAB is certified by Apple to provide this service. Only masters from certified mastering facilities can be submitted to Apple as a Digital Master.
In order to be Apple certified the client must provide a high resolution master to us for the mastering session. The master must be at least 24-bits, with a sample rate of at least 44.1K, though higher is recommended if possible. If a 16-bit master such as an audio CD, upload through our MUA, or 16-bit WAV files is submitted, we cannot complete the Apple Digital Masters process.
The second part of the Apple Digital Master process happens during the mastering session. Using tools provided by Apple, the mastering engineer will preview the mastered files through the same encoding process that Apple will use to create the AAC files that will be sold through iTunes. Based on that preview the engineer may make some adjustments to the mastered files in order to optimize the sound after the encoding process is completed. Another tool alerts the engineer to any clipping of the audio signal that is occuring during the AAC conversion. Based on this info the engineer can reduce the overall volume to avoid this clipping.
The result of this process is a file submitted to Apple that will yield the highest quality conversion to an AAC file for sale on iTunes.
Since the Apple Digital Mastering process process does add time to a mastering session there will be an additional charge of $10 per track when a client is requesting this service. In order to request this service, please call us at 1-800-468-9353 to get a custom quote.
To submit Apple Digital Master files to iTunes you will need to do a second submission through CD Baby.