The process of mastering is the final stage before an album or single is released to the public.
During this process, numerous enhancements, alterations and edits can be made, as dictated by the nature of the project and the client’s wishes.
It’s not possible to generalise about what mastering does because every recording has its own unique features; some positive, which mastering would seek to enhance, and some negative which mastering would seek to remedy.
The most important part of the process is critical listening to the audio material in a room with good acoustics and on a very accurate monitoring system. In these conditions, a mastering engineer is able to pick up even minor issues in the mix and make the correct decisions before the material gets released, in order to enhance the sound of the material and optimize its translation on various playback systems.
There is more to mastering than making your music loud.
What the process does:
- Correct possible flaws that the tracking and mixing stages may have caused.
- Achieve an appropriate overall tone for the project.
- Achieve definition, detail and punch.
- Optimize dynamic content focusing on micro and macro.
- Find the right volume and loudness to add sonic consistency and the right flow between the songs of an album.
- Adjust the spatial sensation (horizontal) and 3d effect.
- Quality control, that includes artifact removal, using several tools to remove unwanted noises such as digital pops and clicks, distortion, etc…
- Get the album to the desired level, in accordance with release formats (vinyl, digital, streaming…) with the least amount of negative consequences.
- Always respecting the previous mix and artistic intention… creating a pleasant listening experience.
- Create DDP image, add metadata, ISRC codes.
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Gyraf G14: (E.Q.) A classic passive, smooth character, slow, cuts are cool, boosts are better, creates space, all tubes.
Airfield Liminator: (Dynamics) a groovy, musical, opto character, smooth operator. Hard to stress out, vintage style tone, 2 transformer option, loads of headroom.
Foote P3S: (Dynamics) a swiss knife…invisible, fast, versatile, cleeeeannnn.
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Sound Skulptor tape: (Saturation) natural analog simulation, Studer circuitry clone, lovely harmonic saturation.