Mastering – Decoded

Mastering is the final step in the process, when your music bridges that gap from the studio to the public domain, it’s a magical feeling. To get your masters back and hear how it’s made all the difference in the world and at the same time seemingly little, it’s an invigorating time for any artist. You must be careful when you send your tracks off to be mastered that you don’t make the mistakes that have spoiled so many peoples hard work in the past. Remember these few key things before sending your tracks away to be mastered.

Avoiding over compression is essential, it is an irreversible mistake that mastering cannot fix. Always export you files in 24bit resolution, 16bit will sound dreadful. When mixing your tracks leave approximately 1/2 to 1db headroom in your files, whatever you do, make sure you don’t go into the red, no mastering engineer wants to deal with that.

An important thing to remember before you send your tracks away is don’t be a hero. Do not attempt in anyway to master the tracks yourself, before they are mastered professionally. If you have had to give reference files of your tracks to people and used digital limiting to make them louder, keep in mind that when you send them to be mastered, make sure you send both mixes, both with and without digital limiting. It will allow he or she who is mastering to hear how loud it should be, but still have the original mix to work with.

When you are sending the files to be mastered it’s a good idea to send them in one batch. This way there is no chance of inconsistencies between tracks. If you send your EP or album in separate batches it’s impossible to predict track to track juxtapositions and can lead to a lot of remastering needing to be done later in the process.

Success doesn’t have a magic formula but successful people do have certain things in common. Read more here.


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