RUles & F.A.Q.

Guide to mastering the gauntlet

Pre-Season submission period

For the engineers

  • The Mastering Gauntlet chooses the music category for the challenge season.
  • Submissions may be listened to by the mastering engineers during the review process only once.
  • The engineers shall not be allowed to download or access the files to master before the challenge day.
  • The engineers may elect to search for their own reference songs for each entry before the challenge.

For artists

  • If your song is selected for the challenge, you will be notified via email from
    (please make sure you add this email to your spam filter to accept emails from us).
  • The artists may elect to supply up to two reference songs, with a brief description of what they like and/or dislike.
  • Only one song per artist may be submitted.  Multiple entries will be rejected.
    • An entry is tied to the email account.  If entrants are identified as having multiple email accounts and/or multiple aliases, only their first submission may be accepted.
The Gauntlet Challenge

For the engineers:

  • Each mastering engineer is allowed 2 hours to complete their master after receiving the file for that day’s challenge.
    • 2-hour allotment includes any ingest process, templating setup, batch processing, and uploading.
  • Each must use their own available resources:
    • Cannot dry-hire a 3rd party studio specifically for the use of the gauntlet (unless this is an existing business partnership prior to the challenge).
    • No gear-rental
    • Cannot use 3rd party services (eg: LANDR, eMastered, etc).
  • The engineers may utilize references supplied by artists and/or their own based on their own research (up to two total).
  • The engineers will not be allowed any communication with the artists during the competition.
  • The engineers will not be allowed to communicate with each other while the gauntlet sessions are running.
    • This includes any methods of live-streaming, screen sharing, teleconferencing, or alternative methods to gain any sort of competitive advantage.

For the artists:

  • The artists will have up to 24 hours to submit their approval choice.
    • If the artist does not submit their approval within 24-hours, they will forfeit their free master.
    • A “lightning round” will be opened up at the end of the season for each forfeited mastering slot, which will be drawn from a reserve list and announced within 48-hours of the lightning round.
  • Artists may share social media content and/or release their master after they have submitted their approval.


  • The Gauntlet will update the site to announce each approval on an on-going basis.
  • The Gauntlet & the engineers may share social media content after each approved master has been announced.
  • The Gauntlet reserves the right to revoke access to mastered files at-will.
    • If an artist has missed the approval window and did not download the master files, they forfeit the right to access those files as allowed within the challenge period.
    • If an artist has missed the approval window and has already downloaded the master files, they may keep the masters as-is, but the engineers may reserve the right to charge a full-rate for any revision requests.
Season Wrap
  • Artists & engineers will be allowed to communicate after the winner has been announced.
  • Artists are allowed to ask for revision requests after the season has ended.
    • Engineers may charge a small service fee for revision requests.*
  • The Gauntlet will conduct the prize giveaway portion after the mastering challenge has concluded.
  • The Gauntlet may hold an exit survey on improving the Gauntlet challenge, giveaway, and charity platforms.


  1. How Many songs can I submit?
    1. Artists are allowed only one song and one entry into the challenge portion.  You may, however, generate multiple entries in the giveaway portion by performing bonus actions that earn bonus entries.
  2. What if I have multiple aliases?
    1.  Unfortunately, we only allow one entry per unique person.  We want to be fair to helping as many people as possible!
  3. When do I have to submit my song by?
    1. Our last day for submissions is July 26th, 2019.  However, you can continue submitting bonus entries for the prize giveaway through the 31st!
  4. Do I have to submit a song to enter the contest?
    1. Yes, all entries require a song for consideration.
  5. Can I submit a remix?
    1. Yes!  We welcome all records, original and remixes.  Please just make sure that you have clearance for any copyrighted material used.  We are not liable for any copyright infringement on your behalf.
  6. Can I submit more than one song?
    1. No.  We will only accept one song per person (even if you have multiple aliases).
    2. If you have a collaboration with another person, each person can submit one song only.
    3. Subsequent entries will be disqualified beyond the 1st entry.
  7. Season 1 is all about electronic, what genres wouldn’t count as electronic?
    1. If your primary or driving sound is focused around industrial, pop, alternative, rock, metal, jazz, R&B, or other genres, and sounds less like an electronic-based production, it may be rejected.  The primary genre or driving sound should be focused on electronic.
  8. Do I have to produce a new song for the challenge?
    1. No.  You can submit a mix of a previously published work you have done.  However, our goal is to provide you with an opportunity for free mastering, so we recommend submitting something you haven’t released yet in order to take the fullest advantage of this opportunity.
  9. Does my song have to be a certain length?
    1. While we find that industry trends tend to be under 5 minutes in length, we have no limitations for this challenge!  In order for it to count, it must be at least 30 seconds, as most outlets like Apple Music and Spotify require the same.
  10. How will I know if my song has been selected?
    1. We will contact you via the email address you provided in the signup form.  Please make sure to add to your white-list so that it does not get blocked or sorted to spam folders.
  11. When will we be notified of our song being used in the challenge?
    1. We will announce each selected entry the day of, but in order to ensure a smooth process, we will contact the selected challenge slot (day) at least 48 hours in advance.
  1. How can I submit my song?
    1. Follow the entry form instructions, and provide a URL link to your file on Dropbox.
  2. Must we use Dropbox to share our file?
    1. Due to our file organization system, we find Dropbox to be the best solution.  In order to avoid potential issues with receiving your entry, we recommend you use Dropbox as well.
  3. How long do I have to keep my file on Dropbox?
    1. From the time you upload it, until at least September 1st, 2019.  This will ensure that any last-minute changes to the challenge will go as smoothly as possible.
  4. Can I switch my song after submitting?
    1. No.  Even if you submitted early, we may not notice any changes to files shared.  If you manipulate your shared file in any way from the time of submitting (7/1/19) until the end of the challenge (9/1/19) it may break the URL link, and this could forfeit your place in the selection process.
    2. Remember, the mastering engineers are not allowed to download the files until the day of the challenge.  If your file is taken down or removed before the end of the contest, it can affect your entry to the challenge portion.
  5. What format should I make my song?
    1. Please export your song as an uncompressed WAVE file.  To keep things simple, turn off any mastering chain processing you have on your master bus, turn down the master output so that the song doesn’t peak above -18 LUFS.
  6. What sample rate should I export my song as?
    1. We recommend sticking with your working project rates.  As mastering engineers, we like to work at the native resolution of the mix we receive.
  7. What bit depth should I export my song as?
    1. We recommend either 32-bit float or the same bit depth as the working project.  In either case, we recommend not applying any dither.
  8. What if I need to make mix revisions?
    1. For the purpose of the challenge, we cannot provide any opportunities for mix revisions.  The file we receive will be considered as final.
    2. After the Gauntlet is complete, any mix revisions or revision requests on the mastering engineer can be done directly with the mastering engineer(s), but they may charge a small revision fee.  The Gauntlet is not involved in this 1:1 process.
  9. How can I let the engineers know what my references are?
    1. For the sake of efficiency, we will ask only those who have been selected if they would like to provide references.
  1. What do I have to do to enter for the giveaway?
    1. Simply enter the challenge with your song submission!  Everyone who enters the challenge will be considered in the giveaway portion.
  2. What if my song is not selected in the challenge?
    1. This does not affect your chances of winning the giveaway portion.
  3. Can I increase my chances of winning?
    1. Yes!  Below the challenge submission form there is a way to enter for bonus tickets by performing actions.  Each bonus action will yield a bonus ticket toward the giveaway.
  4. What if I forgot or haven’t done the giveaway portion entry form?
    1. Because we have two separate events – and due to legal circumstances, we had to create separate forms for each.  Make sure you enter both for equal consideration.
  5. What’s the deadline to enter?
    1. August 31st, 2019 will be the last day to enter the giveaway portion.
  6. How will I know if I’ve won?
    1. The giveaway winners will be notified via the email they filled out on the giveaway form.
  7. When will I know if I’ve won?
    1. We will announce the winners of the giveaway on or around September 8th, 2019.

have questions?

Reach out to us and we will do our best to respond swiftly.

Please note: please anticipate 24-48 hours for us to receive and process communications.  We have limited staffing and will do our best to consider all inquiries.