Mastering is a highly technical and complex part of music production, but what do you as the artist need to know about it? We give you the low down
What exactly is mastering?
Mastering is a process done to a final mix of a song which increases its volume, adds “punch”, “tone” and other characteristics to give it that final polish. Often the song is “referenced” against similar songs that have already been mastered. It might be a good idea to mention songs that you like the sound of to your mastering engineer so that they can use them to compare.
Often it’s a good idea to choose a separate mastering engineer. This will give you the benefit of having another pair of ears on the mix. They will often hear things that you haven’t picked up on and bring a fresh perspective to things.
Why you need mastering?
When a song is mixed it may still be at a relatively low volume compared to other songs. Mastering is needed to make sure the track stands up against others in the genre and get your track the attention it deserves. It’s not all about volume, though. it’ll also give your song a cohesive tone and if you have a few tracks to release together make them sound like they belong on the same record. Finally, mastering uses high-quality algorithms to create the final selling format, be that on CD or digital download.