Mastering:

Mastering is the last but not least process in music production. Often a high quality fully mixed stereo file is exported from the sequencing software and reloaded into the same or into a dedicated mastering/editing program. Mastering styled plug-ins are also available that can be inserted over the output buss of the sequencer allowing the mix to be completed whilst gleaning some idea of how it will sound after the mastering process. Mastering normally consists of:

Finally when the editing is complete the mastering or sequencing program will need to export or save the file in its final format. For burning to CD save the file as 16bit 44.1kHz sample rate. For use on the internet and iPod styled deviced a number of compression setting are available. MP3 is most commonly saved at 128 or 256 kps 44.1kHz stereo.

Mastering is often termed a 'black art' and music producers will often send off their mix to be mastered by specialists engineers.

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TECH TIP

Kilobytes per second and refers to files size and dowload time. 128/44.1/stereo is approximately 10% of CD audio file size.

 

TECH TIP

The trick being to make the mix sound O.K. on different speakers etc. Not the best on your speakers.

TECH TIP

These could be badly recorded tracks or a bad mix i.e. the bass is too loud.

TECH TIP

In some fancy mastering houses tape is still used. Usually in combination with software.

TECH TIP

The RATIO is how much compression is applied relative to the peak level.

TECH TIP

This is differnt from audio compression, called data compression and renders the file as a smaller size than CD files.

TECH TIP

Often 3 or more frequency bands can be compressed or amplified individually.

TECH TIP

The is the loudest level measured in deci-bells dB that a CD player or iPod can usually deliver without distortion or errors.

TECH TIP

The difference between the loudest and softest parts is the Dynamic Range.

TECH TIP

Used as an INSERT effect on the main out of the music sequencing software.

TECH TIP

For details on these please see the Production Tools section.

TECH TIP

It can be saved in the same 'song' but is best saved separatelsy and a new song created for the mastering.

TECH TIP

If you work at a higher bit or sample rate such as 24 bits 96kHz it is a good idea to make your mix using these settings.