Music Mastering – What Does It Do?

Music Mastering  Guest post by howtomixmusic.net

Even if mastering and mixing do share the same tools and techniques, and often confusing, these two are very different. Typically, mixing refers to multi-track recording wherein mastering is the mixdown’s final polish.

The primary goal of mastering is to make sure that your audio would sound the best it could on every platform. Music was not consumed on more devices and formats than today. Although you’re mixing and recording in an expensive studio or recording in a less ideal condition, you still require the final check of mastering quality. It ensures that your sound would be the way you want it to be. The best mastering job makes the album balanced and consistent across every track. Without mastering, the individual tracks might sound disjoined in relation to one another.

The process of mastering is complex and there are various techniques involved. These techniques are as follows:

Stereo Enhancement

It deals with your audio’s spatial balance from left to right. Once done right, the stereo enhancement will widen your mix, making it sound bigger. It may also help tighten the center image through focusing the low-end.


Audio Restoration

This technique fixes hiccups in your original mix. Such hiccups include unwanted hisses, pops or clicks. Also, it helps fix the small mistakes, which set apart when un-mastered audio was amplified.

Compression

It enhances and corrects the mix’s dynamic range and keeps the louder signals in check while bringing up the quieter parts. The process also provides the audio a better feel and uniformity. Compression also helps glue together the parts that might be cohesive.

EQ

It corrects spectral imbalances and improves elements that have to stand out. A perfect master is proportional and well-balanced. It means that there’s no particular frequency range that’s left sticking out. Balance audio piece would sound great on the playback system.

Loudness

Usually, the last process in mastering is a special kind of compressor known as a limiter. The limiters set appropriate loudness and makes a peak ceiling. The process of limiting makes tracks loud without enabling any clipping that may result to distortion.


Spacing and Sequencing

These are the final steps when it comes to mastering. On an EP or album, this process basically puts the audio in order. Spacing refers on how much silence you actually put between every track.

Sample Rate Conversion and Bit Depth Reduction

Dither or sample rate conversion is dependent on the last output medium. For instance, if you’re planning to release on a CD, you’ll need to convert to 44.1 kHz and thus, you might need to dither and convert your file for you to get to the format standard.

You can think of mastering as a bridge between sharing and creation. After the process of mastering, expect that your audio will sound complete, balanced, professional, and uniform. Whether you are sharing online as free download or pressing a huge run of vinyl, great mastering enables you to release your work with high confidence, regardless of the place you played.

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