What is

AUDIO MASTERING

Often misunderstood or overestimated, what is mastering exactly?

Audio mastering is the last step of an audio project before its release.

The purpose of mastering is to ensure that the mix will translate optimally on the different mediums, to quality check the project before its release.
It’s the place where you can eventually adjust subtly the audio content to the perfect balance, add some color if needed and optimize the release on all related systems and media formats.

You can think of mastering as the last polish & quality check that optimizes playback quality on all devices (from little in-ears to high-end audiophile monitors or huge club’s sound systems).

Mastering helps to ensure listeners will hear the sound as the artist meant it

Additionally, it’s at the mastering stage that you have your last chance to spot and fix the eventual clicks, pops, crackle or small issues that haven’t been addressed in the final mix (or earlier).

Mastering is also the place to ensure consistency and uniformity of sound over the multiple tracks of a project. Bring a cohesive feeling to it.

Why "mastering"?

The name comes from the idea of a Master Print.
Which is then used to make all copies/duplications of the project. Copies, which are then distributed under multiple formats such as streaming, digital download, CD, Vinyl, Tape, etc.

Originally the mastering engineer was charged to transfer the final approved version on tape, to a  Master Lacquer, then used to reproduce the vinyls for distirbution.

Why master?

The goal of mastering is to ensure that your audio will sound the best it can on all platforms. Music has never been consumed on more formats and devices than today.

One of the main aspects of mastering is also to have your track reviewed by a fresh pair of ears, still objective on the project, with an accurate full range monitoring system.  Who, if needed, will fix the issues or enhance it using carefully selected and well-mastered quality tools.

A good mastering helps to ensure an EP/Album is consistent and balanced across all tracks.

So what does mastering do?

Mastering is a complex process. Here are some of the techniques involved:

AUDIO REPAIR

Fixing any small clicks, clips or other similar issues .

Using audio restoration tools such as iZotope RX

CODEC(S) OPTIMIZATION

Ensuring release optimization  following the codec specifications of each platform.

STEREO BALANCE

Ensuring a proper Stereo Image

Using high quality M/S EQ such as Pro-Q3 or Bx_digitalV3

RESAMPLING & DITHERING

Ensuring best Sample Rate/Bit depth for distribution.

TONAL BALANCE

Ensuring a proper Tonal balance

Using high quality EQ such as AMEK EQ200 or the Curve Bender

METADATA ENCODING

Ensuring Metadata & tracking codes (ISRC/EAN) are properly inserted in the final files.

DYNAMICS BALANCE

Volume optimized & dynamics respectfull master.

Using Compression & Limiting.

TRACK SEQUENCING

Ensuring proper sequencing & spacing between multiple  tracks in a same project.

Our piece of advice

If you came to know more about mastering to master your own projects, and arrived until here, you may have understood that mastering isn’t that easy and between the room for it, monitoring system, pristine converters, high quality tools, the amount of knowledge and the years of experience required to achieve a great master are far from what you expected. Indeed we are talking of many years and several dizains (if not hundreds) of thousands dollars in some cases.

That being said, if mastering is really something that you want to learn more about and eventually do for other artists, we all start somewhere, and we’ll be happy to get in touch with you to provide you with a few information and feedback that may help you to forge your own opinion and way of working/evolving in this domain.

At the opposite, if you feel already a bit overwhelmed with all the production & mixdown work, please do not go for a low quality/rushed solution that might compromise the quality of you projects and therefore waste a part of all the time and effort you invested in to the original performance and mixdown. Rely on us, see below 😉

2 reviews for Mastering (1 Track)

  1. Guilou (verified owner)

    Great quality. Great communication and feedback.

    They give a professional touch to your track while still taking into account all your wishes and demands.

    I recommand !

  2. Beat Blender (verified owner)

    I had a mastering from DSP and i have to tell you that this guy knows what he does. The analysis of my mixdown was really to the point, i changed what he suggested and it my mixdown was really a REAL mixdown.
    The mastering itself was also sublime, of course every body has his own wish but the change of the track was done also if he made the track himself.
    I’m a big fan. Keep up the good work Evan.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

Learn More!

Browse more articles below

Projects & Files Management in Audio Production

Gain easy access to your projects, speed up your workflow… Less technical things to do equals more room for creativity and less headaches.

Mastering & Metadata

Get intimate with ISRC, ISWC, UPC/EAN codes and more with this article about Medata in audio masters.

Evan Hays’s FREE Download Original Samples Library

We have the pleasure to share with you the freebies created by Evan Hays: original samples, audio effects presets and more…

Mixdown 101

In this article we share with you the different steps of a mixdown along some useful tips to apply for your next song!

Choosing the right computer for audio production

In this article we cover the basics of a computer architecture and give you recommendations for a computer optimized for audio production.