10 Things To Know About Mastering if you’re not a Mastering Engineer

Mastering music is one of the most important stages of technical refinement. In this article, we have prepared 10 interesting facts that will be informative for you to learn about this process and its characteristic features.

1. Mastering=Standardization

Some people who are just starting to make music are very often mistaken, thinking that mastering will be able to improve the mistakes that may have occurred at the initial stages of work. The main task of mastering is standardization. Professional music engineers adjust the track to generally accepted standards of loudness, frequency characteristics, dynamic range, peak loudness. All this is done in order to ensure high-quality sound on any speaker system, headphones, portable speakers and even radios.

2. Mastering is not helps to fix EVERYTHING

It is worth remembering that mastering will not help you improve the quality of the track. Of course, while working with the recording, dynamic processing, timbre correction, volume alignment of the phonograms will be carried out, so that the track can acquire more pronounced strengths and rich sound. However, if your mix was originally recorded in poor quality, mastering will not help you fix it.

3. Mastering can’t be done on ordinary devices

Every professional mastering-engineer should have the best studio monitoring at his disposal. This is an ideally constructed acoustic space and the presence of mid- or far-field monitors that need to be calibrated. All these points are important, since the mastering-engineer is essentially the final person in the production of music. He is responsible in the form of listening to the final result (and most often this is done more than once), the conviction that there are no possible shortcomings. This is really important, as the music industry has always been characterized by strict requirements. Absolute flawless sound, this is what everyone should strive for.

4. Analog mastering is not superior to digital

The next fact about mastering in general is that analog mastering is no better than digital mastering. Many people have the illusion that analog mastering at the expense of expensive equipped systems and devices will look more advantageous than digital. However, even such a seemingly “perfect” mastering has its drawbacks.Of course, he can give the track a warmer sound, but it may not always be appropriate for the composition, and sometimes, on the contrary, spoils it, and, of course, no one has canceled the possibility of errors and nuances.

5. Mastering engineer isn’t a loner

An important fact in mastering is the communication of a mastering engineer with a mix engineer. When receiving a mix, the master should listen to it, evaluate it and make small edits to it, if necessary.There are cases when the balance may change after mastering when applying compression. For example, if the mix engineer was mixing the mix without correction for mastering, then the mastering engineer, while listening to the track, can hear the balance change and contact the mix engineer to change the volume of a certain instrument. Therefore, the interaction of these two engineers often results in the highest quality work that will exceed the expectations of all listeners.

6. Artificial intelligence is not our promising future

The next thing worth mentioning is an artificial mastering-engineer. Making music is the most human occupation, but in recent years artificial intelligence has begun to actively manifest itself in this area. Now he is involved in almost every stage of music production, from the creation of beats to the writing of the melodies themselves, which can hardly be distinguished from the creation of mastering-engineers. Mastering is the final step in post-processing audio and its task is to make the track sound balanced, regardless of which devices it is listened to on. The process itself combines an accurate calculation and a personal approach of a mastering engineer. With a high-quality mix, a specialist will easily understand what kind of sound the performer is striving for, and will help to achieve it. Artificial intelligence is completely unsuitable for commercial work and will not soon be able to replace professionals who know their business from top to bottom.

7. Mastering-engineer prepares a laser-disc

Talking about artificial intelligence, it is worth adding that it is the mastering-engineer who can prepare a release for you on physical media, which will always be relevant. A specialist can prepare a laser-disc for you, which will later be sent to the factory to receive other CDs or a blank for vinyl, through which other vinyls will then be printed using a press.

8. Mastering engineer is not only engaged in the final processing

Also, it is always worth remembering that it is the mastering-engineer who is responsible for adding all the metadata to the track. The title of the track and album, the cover for them, the writing of the artist and the year of release of the track, all this falls on the shoulders of the mastering-engineer. However, in addition to this, the specialist adds the ISRS code( i. e International Standard Recording Code). The ISRC code is assigned to each song separately. It is an international standard code for the precise definition of a unique audio or video recording, if the owner of the rights has not changed after the assignment of the code.

9. Generally accepted standards from a regular vinyl record

A very interesting fact that allows us to delve into the history of mastering creation about how generally accepted standards appeared in general, why this system works at certain frequencies. After listening to the popular tracks of the same Beatles group and modern tracks, you can certainly feel the difference, but it will not be so significant, since certain samples have already been formed over this century. These standards appeared in the ability of vinyl to transmit sound. It is generated during the movement of the needle along the outer surface of the disk, during which vertical and horizontal profile vibrations are produced, which are converted into a special electrical signal.You can’t make too big a furrow on the vinyl, as the needle will just start to fall out from there. It follows that the volume is limited by the width of the furrow, on which the balance of the tops and bottoms also depends (the needle will also fall out if this balance is broken). We can conclude that all the music on the planet sounds based on this “vinyl story”.

10. Every mastering engineer understands all genres perfectly

Do not forget that it does not matter at all to a mastering-engineer which genre of music to interact with, since this process does not affect the mix, but is standardization.Therefore, turning to specialists, you can be sure that at the final stage you will get a good track that will only please you. Of course, there are specialists who, while mastering, choose a certain genre of music. This is not because they understand it better, but they just like the genre itself.

Modern music consists of various details, inclusions and nuances that a mastering-engineer who knows the basic principles of mastering that will make your music worthwhile can always help you figure out.

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