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WHAT IS MASTERING?

To simplify mastering would be to say that it is the final step in the music production journey. 

The eclectic thought of what mastering brings is usually coined with terms like, “bringing the music to life”, “the final polish to make it sound like a record” and “glueing the track and making it loud”. This all feeds into the mystique of mastering being a dark art when in reality a mastering engineer uses the same tools used in production and mixing e.g. EQ and Compression. 

 

It would be impossible to define the process extensively as each project is unique and needs to be approached in an individual way. Yet I can give you a general idea of the goal of the process. Adjusting the frequency balance and dynamic content of a recording in ways that respects the original content, allowing it to translate well on the playback system intended. Bringing out what is great about the music and smoothing out problematic areas that indeed does feel like magic. And yes, the music will be louder, able to stand up next to other material in a similar genre without audible distortions.

 

For albums or EPs the process creates a cohesive sound between multiple tracks within the project to give an artist a defined identity whilst maintaining each song's individual character. Balancing levels between tracks, along with applying necessary fades to perfect the flow between songs and enhancing the listening experience for the audience. 

 

Preparing the music for the distribution format is also a part of the role. Sample rate conversion, dithering, track indexes and gaps for CDs. Eliminating  aspects of the track that damage vinyl reproduction. Bringing appropriate levels for streaming platforms.

WHAT ABOUT AUTOMATED MASTERING?

 

It is undeniable the convenience that services like LANDR provide. But to me music is an art form that conveys emotion and feeling which an AI cannot interpret. If you like some proof then use one of these services and send the track to me, I will send you back a sample of the track(1/2min clip) for free so you can make your own decision.

Recording studio equipment
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