To create a mix for mastering with proper headroom is pretty simple.
In mixing, never let your levels go over 0db on ANY of your individual instrument or vocal tracks.If you do this, 99% of the time you will be under 0 level on the stereo/main out meter, which leaves you some headroom (not necessarily +3db or more but at least +1db).Don't compress your tracks heavy and you'll have adequate dynamic range too.
That's usually all you need to do to achieve proper headroom, but there are always exceptions. If most of your tracks are hot and peaking right at 0 level, your song mix could be at 0 level with no headroom.It won't be distorted (if not recorded distorted), but you still won't be leaving the audio mastering engineer much to work with.If this is the case, after finishing your mix, link all the channels together and just pull them all down a few dbs.Now you have headroom.
Remember, loudness maximization is done in mastering not mixing. DO NOT keep raising your faders way over 0 level in an attempt to match the volume level of your favorite song.This will distort it. Yes, you matched the volume level, but now you have a scratchy distorted mess! Read more....
The Music Production Secrets Series by John Rogers
Why do songs need to be mastered? I've seen this question on the Internet many times.The answer I always see is "Because all songs on the radio have been professionally mastered, yours should be too."This is a true fact, but not an answer.
I had to write a quick note on this, as I was reminded about it while thumbing through a popular mixing book that had a 15 page section on speaker resonance and room sound proofing.I must say, a very exciting 15 pages!Ha!
In this video I do a quick A/B comparison of a few songs. In my audio mastering secrets video series, I get a lot more in-depth into exactly what you are trying to achieve sonically for your genre/style of music.
Would you like to know how to master a song or how to master your own music? So many people think just making the volumes the same level for every song is "mastering" their CD. Well, mastering is a lot more than just that!
So, what is the best room size for audio mastering in your DAW home recording studio? Technically, you can properly mix or master in any room size.But, I believe a smaller room is better than a very large one for someone who's just starting out. And when I say smaller I mean closer to 12'x15' than to 20'x30'.I've mixed and mastered songs for a number of years in a 20'x30' room.It took me a few days to get used to it, but after that I could do it.
What does mastering do to a song? Your main goal in audio mastering is to replicate the sonic qualities of a well professionally mastered commercial song, in the same genre and style as the song mix you are working on.
I've mastered over 40,000 songs since 1999. I've charged $10 a song, $20, $30, $50 even $100! Some prices worked better than others. Here are a few facts to consider when deciding on what prices to charge. Read more....