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9 what is audio mastering

What is audio mastering?  I've seen a lot of different answers on the Internet to this simple question.  Some were pretty technical and confusing.

 

A lot of people think audio mastering is only making all the songs on a CD a comparable volume level.  Yes, this is done in mastering, but it's only one of many processes, not the only process.

The simple answer – Audio mastering is applying effects to a full song mix (on the stereo/main out bus), in efforts to replicate the sonic qualities of a well mastered industry standard commercial song.

In mastering, you're adding effects to the entire song as a whole.  Effects such as compression, spectral enhancement, EQ, etc.

An example of a mastering process would be adding bass to a song you're listening to on your car stereo.  When you add bass, the entire song gets it.  You can't add bass to only the vocal track.  This is comparable to a mastering EQ process because it affects the entire song.
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My Best Mixing & Mastering Articles

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17 how create headroom in mix

To create a mix for mastering with proper headroom is pretty simple. 

 

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John Rogers - Danceur Magazine Interview (July 2018)

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Top 20 Audio Mastering Tips, Techniques, And FAQ
 
 

 

 

 

 

Here are the top 20 audio mastering tips, questions, and answers that I've been asked over the years.

 

 

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Why Do Songs Need To Be Mastered?

12 why need audio mastering

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.

 

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How Much Should I Charge For Mastering?

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....

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Can Anyone Become A Great Sound Engineer?

11 become great sound engineer

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7 mastering hardware equipment daw recording studio

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Cheaply Soundproofing Your Room For Audio Mastering

1 cheaply soundproofing room studio

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!

 

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How Much Headroom Before Mastering Should I Leave?

mastering headroom

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audio music mixing mistakes
 
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If you're into "do it yourself projects" my mastering book will show you EXACTLY how I mastered every style of music on this website.  Get it here Audio Mastering Secrets!

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9 what is audio mastering

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Learning And Calibrating Your Speakers For Your DAW In Audio Mastering

3 calibrate speakers audio mastering daw

Learning and calibrating your speakers for your DAW in audio mastering is a very important step in the audio mastering process.  When I first start out with NEW speakers (though I never change them now), I listen to my favorite hit songs in every genre and style.  Songs that I know from my years of experience have X amount of bass, X amount of brightness, etc.  I know how these songs are "supposed" to sound.

 

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Which Is Better For Audio Mastering Analog Gear Or Digital Software Plugins?

18 analog digital equipment

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What Software Do You Need For Audio Mastering?

2 software for audio mastering

If you've mixed songs in the past, you more than likely can use that same software for audio mastering. As long as you can add effects to the stereo/main out bus, you're good to go.  Read more....

 

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10 what is audio mastering

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.

 

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