What is Mastering?

Easily the most nebulous aspect of audio product is the final step of audio mastering itself. We've got all the answers here in this brief but informative overview of what exactly is mastering.

What is Mastering

Mastering refers to the final step of audio production where the various stems or tracks which make up an overall song have already been mixed together as per the producer/artist's preference. That final mix is rendered down to a single file, typically a WAVE or AIFF file. Technically that final mixed down file is ready to be released as it is, but there is still a lot which can be done to improve the audio in the mastering stage. The final mixes for each song on an album are sent over to the mastering engineer who then applies different types of audio processing in the form of analog and digital plugins and effects to sculpt and improve that final product as a whole. Compression is one such form of processing which can act as a bit of glue to bring an overly dynamic mix together and sound more complete. While it's not the express purpose of mastering, limiting can be applied, as well, to bring the volume up to be at parity with industry standards of contemporary records of the day, all without sacrificing the quality of the music. EQ can be applied to emphasize and diminish the effect which particular frequencies of the mix have on the overall sound which can yield a number of different aesthetic effects, making that final master sound more bass heavy at the low end, crisp at the high end, or warmer in the middle.

In addition to simply adding audio processing to improve the audio quality itself, the mastering engineer is responsible for putting together the album itself to be ready for replication if the album is being prepped for a physical release either in CD or vinyl format. This includes in some cases writing artist data to the audio itself as well as getting the sequencing in order, setting the tracklisting and gaps and fade outs between the tracks accordingly in accordance to the artist's wishes. Virtually every artist on a label has their music professionally mastered because it simply makes the music sound that much better, and we at Online-Audio-Mastering.com are committed to offering the most quality for the lowest price. Begin with a sample master and experience for yourself the benefits of a good master.