New album is being mastered....but what is mastering?
April 23, 2015
All of the music for the new album has been written, recorded and mixed. Now it is time for the final part of the audio process, the mastering. But what is mastering?
Mastering is the last stage where each song that has been mixed to a stereo track is fine tuned for its final release to the public. There is a lot an engineer can do during the mixing process to achieve that final level of audio nirvana. But the mastering process takes that final mix and elevates it to a more polished, balanced, and refined state before the album is replicated at the factory.
Mastering begins with fine tuning the tonal balance of each song with equalisation. With EQ a song can be brightened, darkened, have certain edgy frequencies taken down or certain ranges elevated.
Along with equalization comes the fine tuning of the dynamic range of each song. Controlling unwanted explosive volume changes is a good place for applying audio compression. Audio compression can also bring up areas that are too soft in comparison to the rest of the music.
The process of mastering also includes organizing the song order, the spacing between songs, and any fade in or out of each song.
Mastering has always been my favorite part of the process. It is a time to put on the surgical high end audiophile hat and bring the whole album to that exciting final state. It is the last part of the process before releasing it to you the listeners.
I will have the mastering completed by the end of this week and will finally take the massive leap of sending the music off to the CD replication factory.
The countdown to the May release is on! Stay tuned!