I have a CD burner and music software at home, can't I do this myself?

Please don't consider it an insult when an audio mastering engineer tells you "don't try this at home!" Instead, consider it honest and sound advice (no pun intended). Untreated bedrooms, garages, and other typical home studios do not make accurate listening environments, and even good speakers in a bad room can cause major trouble. Even a home mastering studio that is treated for sound will contain peaks and dips across the spectrum that you may not recognize. For example, a small untreated room makes bass frequencies seem louder than they really are. Attempting to work in such an environment may actually cause final mixes to lack bass after overcompensating for what's heard in the room. The process turns into a game of guesswork and more overcompensation. On the other hand, a mastering engineer who has trained his or her ears, using quality speakers in a properly treated room, can hear what is really happening with your music. The result will sound more consistent when moved from the studio to your home system, to your friend's car, to the radio, etc.

The other issue with amateur CD mastering arises when the album is sent for replication. Unless you press all of your CDs yourself, the replication plant is going to want a PQ sheet. This specifies the technical details of a CD, and must be accurate or you risk having your album sent back to you unreplicated. Aside from the PQ sheet, not all CD burners actually produce Redbook-compliant audio CDs. Burning software likes to do tricky things like leave discs open for editing, or encode software-specific files so it can recognize its own discs. While these CDs may play fine at home, many CD players will only read Redbook-compliant discs. If you don't get your album professionally mastered, you risk sending that Big Label a demo they can't even listen to.

All master discs shipped from Chi-Squared are burned on quality Plextor drives and tested with Plextools Professional software. One of the most important tests includes checking for C1 and C2 errors which can render your disc unreadable by some CD players. Any CD must have fewer than 220 C1 errors per second to comply with Redbook standards. Many well-made CDs contain fewer than half that amount, but any disc leaving Chi-Squared is guaranteed to contain fewer than 40 C1 errors per second and not one single C2 error.