So what is ‘Mastering’ ? Put simply, it is the art of equalising, balancing and enhancing recorded music to attain the most pleasing listening experience possible. Have you ever wondered why some recordings sound noticeably better than others on your home or car stereo system? As expected, the actual recording and mixing process has a major role in determining the sound. However, mastering is the process after mix down that can also make a significant difference.
It’s important to understand that the need for mastering is no reflection on the calibre of the mix, it is a separate and critical step in the production chain, applied to all standard of mixes. It’s all about presenting the mix to the listener in the best possible light.
This is where Mastering takes place in the production chain;
4. Manufacturing/Digital Distribution
Why do I need mastering?
Well here’s just one classic example of why CD Mastering is so crucial to your music. Let’s just say the artist is in the studio and is hearing the mix just the way they like it. Clear, bright, full of excitement, but when they leave the studio, the CD sounds dull and lifeless in their home stereo. It’s most likely that the artist was hearing their mix in a recording studio with very bright and lively monitoring. This is where mastering takes over. The mastering engineer will make sure that the sound the artist loved in the recording studio, is translated to all playback systems. This is achieved because the mastering engineer is able to appraise the mix in a different environment. One that is highly accurate and clearly reveals what the mix is lacking. It also helps that the mastering engineer has the right tools to bring out the best in the mix.