Behind the Tunes - How Audio Mastering makes Music Complete
Who wouldn’t agree with the above statement made by the popular American country artist, Zac Brown? Good music is not just about a songwriter’s catchy lyrics or an artist’s astounding vocals, but also about the creativity and craft of the producer and engineers who work in the making. Once the stems of a song are ready and mixed, the music is only half-baked. The tracks are subsequently sculpted, shaped, polished and refined to perfection and this process is called mastering.
Mastering makes music complete. It makes every song sound loud, crisp and clear to let anyone groove. And that’s why songs like Taylor Swift’s ‘Bad Blood’ is so good! (No pun intended) Here’s a detailed view as to how mastering plays a big part in music production:
Final Touches to the Sound
In this step, any issues in mixing are accurately addressed and specific sonic characteristics are enhanced, thereby the final touches are made. This also includes adjusting the levels and doing everything to make the mix sound professional and complete. Some of such refinements include limiting, applying compression, broad equalization and more.
Consistency Throughout the Record
Once the individual tracks are enhanced in the above step, the engineers will analyze if the songs in an album sound consistently. The differences in levels between the songs are identified and adjustments are made, so that the listener doesn’t have to adjust the volume, every time they skip to a different track. The mastering engineer will try and ‘maintain relations’ between the tracks whilst preserving the characteristics of individual tracks.
Preparation for Distribution
The final step in mastering is to prepare the song or an album ready for digital downloads or distribution of physical copies such as CDs and Vinyl. Different techniques are executed depending on the mode of delivery. When it comes to CD, the song is converted into required audio format through resampling, track indexes and track gaps are set and so on. As for digital distribution, the levels shall be adjusted and conversion to formats such as MP3 or AAC is done, alongside feeding the metadata.
The difference mastering brings in songs is tremendous and the results are quite fascinating. Christmas is around the corner with artists from Kylie Minogue to Pentagonix bringing their festive albums, so it’s time for you to introduce your own! Deal with a reputable online mastering service and get your Christmas tunes mastered today!
The author is a professional mixing and mastering engineer, working in a popular mastering service in California. He has years of experience in audio production and has mastered several tracks of renowned artists including Kanye West, Cake and more. Visit http://mercurymastering.com