Hi all, my name is Barry from SafeandSound Mastering, yes it's a promo post but embellished with some useful information for producers and musicians.

So if you have decided to opt for stereo 2 track mastering (as opposed to stem mastering, more on that later)
then you need to prepare audio files as follows:

When you export a file for mastering. whether it is self finalizing in a new DAW session or for professional mastering
please remove the limiter before bouncing out. In addition check for any peaks above 0dBFS (i.e. clipping). If you spot clipping then please pull down the master fader by the amount required to stop clipping. (This is an acceptable compromise compared with rebalancing an entire mix)

1)Export from your sequencer at 24 bit resolution.
2)Export from your DAW at the sample rate of your project.
3)Ensure the exported file is a stereo interleaved .wav or .aiff
4)Have a listen through on headphones to check for clicks 30pct of files received for mastering have click in them. This can stop any unnecessary delays and is always best done at source wherever possible.

If you require stem mastering you can do as above but do so for each group of instruments:

i.e. drums, bass, synths 1, synths 2, effects, vocal etc. Stem mastering uses grouped instruments as opposed
to a single stereo mix down. This can help improve the gelling of the mix and allow the mastering engineer to target specific areas of concern or sonic issues that are detected. You may also supply a limited version of the mix down in order the mastering engineer to assess, in terms of your anticipated perceived level and what you heard during mix down.

Cheers and all the best for 2012.