October 1, 2013

About Mastering

Congratulations, it’s Mastering time! Please read this document carefully as it will help you to understand my process for mastering your music.

At this point in the process we are done tracking and mixing 100% of your project and ready to move to the phase where I apply final processing to your mix: The Dark Art of Mastering.

This is the final stage of your production in the studio and is the final polish on your mix, your mix will be clearer, more focused and louder. I pulled this description from Wiki…

In order to make a deterministic process, mastering requires critical listening; there are software mastering tools available to facilitate this last step, but results still depend upon the accuracy of speaker monitors. In addition, “music mastering” engineers may also need to apply corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement in order to improve upon sound translation on all playback systems”

This is a screen shot session of the Country Band DoubleBack using PreSonus Studio One

click for larger

In my mastering sessions I listen for and address-

  • Overall tone of the song and how its tone relates to the other songs on the album or songs in the same genre of music.
  • I check phase and stereo width of the track and enhance or narrow as necessary
  • Multi-band Compression is used to control the peaks of the music so it gels nicely together and no one instrument pops out of the mix too much
  • Additional “saturation” of pleasing harmonics may be added to give the track warmth etc…
  • A Mastering Limiter will be used to carefully control the final output level of the mix so it will sound loud and clear compared to other modern tracks.
  • Dithering, controlled ultra low-level noise, is used in the final step when converting high bit rate files to final CD or MP3 formats.
  • MP3 tags will be added

Note: If you have mixed your own material and are using my mastering services, please remove limiting on the master buss, leave -6db at peaks on the master meter and output files at their original recorded resolution.

After revisions are approved we will coordinate for digital transfer of all files and completed masters to your possession, preferably a portable hard drive. You will then have your final copies in WAV (CD Quality) and MP3.

Atomic Disc

Your music is finished! Your CD and MP3 files are ready to release to the world.  Whoo hoo!

If you are going to have your music pressed to CD I would highly encourage you to consider my partners at Atomic Disc.