Many musicians don't master their audio because they don't see the importance of it or don't think they can afford it.
It's a lot more affordable than you probably think (we'll get to that later), but now we're going to cover 3 substantial advantages of mastered audio over audio that isn't mastered.
- In particular, getting mastered audio means that you are improving the audio / final mix that you or your producer created.
There are many effects both analog and digital that the audio mastering engineer can use to improve the quality of the audio as a whole.
For example, EQ is used to boost particular ranges in the mix to make it sound clearer / less muffled without going too far.
Equalization can even be used to correct errors in the audio that went unnoticed during the mixing phase, so it's not ideal, but the engineer has the ability.
The reverb is used to give more ambience to the mix and to correct a "flat" rendering. Compression is used to ensure that the track is completely in unity with itself without sacrificing the dynamics created in the track itself.
It is obviously useful to hire a qualified and experienced engineer to produce your mastered audio who knows how to use these effects effectively.
- Mastering audio means you have new ears that give you a new perspective on your mix.
If you have a producer doing your mixing for you or worse if you are doing it yourself, whoever is in charge may have a hard time distancing himself from him after being around him for so long.
So it helps to have that different perspective to determine what is missing or wrong in the mix so that you can dominate accordingly.
- The levels of your final mix will likely not be on par with the contemporary records of the day and will likely be much quieter than a track from another artist.
The problem with this is that anyone listening to your music in a mix will have to adjust its volume accordingly when your track is turned on in the mix, as it is probably much quieter than any other professional record you are listening to.
This also comes into play if you want your record to play on the radio, as it should be comparable to other records that are playing.
A mastering engineer knows how to turn up a track's volume (usually through other edits he makes) to make sure it's in sync with other current recordings.
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