Mastering means taking your final mix whether stereo or surround sound and applying enhancements to it to produce the best possible sonic quality results. But what enhancements? And where should I start?
Read on to…
Mastering involves a variety of activities:
- Track volume optimization
- Equalization levels
- Tonal balance adjustment for consistency
- Edit the final arrangement of spacing between songs
- Create and edit PQ sub-code
- Creation of CD master ready for mass duplication
Tip: Use a professional! He’ll find and fix problems you would probably miss
What problems are fixable in the mastering process?
- Relative levels between songs
- Poor fade-ins/outs at the start or end of tracks
- Application of reverb or other effects to the whole song
- Use of compression to adjust the average sound level of the track
- Use of equalization to adjust the overall tonal balance
- Adjustment of silent time in between tracks for best overall flow through the CD.
What is Not fixable?
- Poor original recording
- Overdrive distortion
- Over-use of reverb, or other effects
- Poor sound source balance – for example, vocals and guitar in conflict as far as panning or equalization are concerned
Did you know:
“Sweetening” is the mastering engineers’ term describing changes to be made – for example, in reverberation or other effects.
Of course, sweetening is a matter of personal preference. Yes, during mixing, you’d add equalization and reverb, but at the mastering stage you can increase the application of these effects.