Mastering your music or mastering it is one of the best things you can do to significantly improve the quality of your audio.
In this article I am going to discuss what mastering music entails and why it is so important to achieve the most polished and professional sound of your music, regardless of what sound you are trying to achieve.
The most misunderstood assumption when it comes to mastering music is that the purpose or end game is simply to make it "louder." Artists become obsessed with the idea that their music must sound as loud as 40 radio hits to be taken seriously.
This is fine to think about as long as the mastering engineer realizes the true intent of music mastering, which is to achieve the best possible tonal quality.
This is achieved through the effective but moderate application of effects such as reverb, compression, and EQ. EQ simply divides the audio spectrum into different ranges or "bands" that can be adjusted, boosted, or lowered in the mix for a completely different sound.
For example, increasing the low end obviously produces a fuller, lower low end and the track as a whole, while increasing the high end can make the audio sound clearer.
Go far and abuse the high end and the recording will sound too small, so it takes an experienced and naturally talented ear to determine how much is too much to bring out the full potential of your existing audio.
Reverb is applied to a final mix to give it a more three-dimensional feel and to correct a flat sound register. Compression is used to smooth the mix and give it more drive without sacrificing the dynamics of the mix. Ultimately, the volume levels of a track being boosted are a welcome byproduct of mastering the music.
An illegitimate mastering engineer will simply turn up the volume and to the inexperienced ear a louder sounding record, when played in conjunction with the original, the louder version will seem louder as if it sounds better.
They will use this to trick their ears into thinking it is an improvement over the original when in reality it is all smoke and mirrors designed for their ears.
For this reason, it's important that you always get a handful of test masters from different mastering engineers so that you hopefully hear one that actually enhances your audio rather than just cranking up the volume.
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