Mastering engineering is an important and oft misunderstood aspect of music production. Most casual listeners as well as artists themselves are familiar with the recording and mixing process, but mastering engineering still tends to be a bit nebulous. In this article we will identify what is mastering engineering and give you a better idea of why it’s so important in getting the most out of your music.
What is Mastering Engineering?
Mastering engineering is frequently misunderstood as simply being the process of making music louder. This is oftentimes simply a useful byproduct of a good mastering job when mastering engineering really refers to the process of bringing out the true potential of the audio quality of a song.
A skilled and consummate mastering professional understands how to carefully and sparingly apply careful equalization, reverberation, and compression to bring out the true colors in your audio, boosting and diminishing different ranges of your audio map, adding atmosphere, and providing unity to the track, respectively.
A good way to think of a good mastering job is to take the plastic wrap off of your song. Listening to your final mix of your song before mastering makes it sound flat, two dimensional, and restrained. Once the engineer is able to play on the strengths of the audio and let them shine through it’s like listening to it on a different level which comes off as sounding much glossier and professional no matter what sort of music you are creating.
One final aspect generally associated with mastering engineering involves the engineer constructing a final image of the entire record which will be sent off to the CD or vinyl replication plant for reproduction. This involves getting the various songs in the sequence which the artist wants, setting the spacing between the songs in terms of should some songs flow into one another immediately or should there be a 2 second gap, creating the table of contents of the record, and adding data such as ISRC/UPC codes, artist/title data, copyright information, etc.
Ultimately if you take nothing else away from this article, you should understand that mastering engineering simply makes your final product much more professional in so many different ways in addition to “raising the volume”.
The best way to understand the true virtues of mastering engineering is to hear it on something which you have created. Upload one of your songs and receive a free test master to experience how much better your music can be sounding in the qualified and skillful hands of Music Guy Mastering today.