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What is mastering in music and why it matters

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Mastering the music is an important part of the production process. Music production involves 4 stages: arrangement, recording and mixing, mastering. Mastering is the final stage of music production and it is responsible for the overall sound of the song.

What is mastering?

Mastering is the process of taking a mix and making it sound like a commercial release. The mastering engineer applies compression, EQ, and limiting to make the song sound as close to industry-standard as possible. The mastering engineer can prepare your music for physical release or simply make it sound optimal on digital platforms. It’s like the final filter before your music is released to the world.

10 reasons to do professional mastering

  • You can’t release your track without mastering it. All music in the industry is mastered and your song will be much quieter than others.
  • Mastering makes your track louder and cleaner. This is the final step in polishing your track and making it radio-ready. Mastering usually makes good mixes even better. But it can’t fix bad mixes.
  • Mastering is important if you want your track to sound great on different systems. People listen to music on different gear, and it’s important that your song sounds great on as many systems as possible.
  • Mastering gives your track a commercial touch. It makes your song cohesive and professional. You’ll get a more consistent level of quality across all your songs. This one is really important for mastering an album because you want the whole album to sound like it’s part of a project.
  • Mastering brings your song up to industry standards.
  • Mastering can add depth and dimension to your track. It can make low-end sounds fatter and high-end sounds brighter. This is especially important for electronic music producers.
  • Mastering prepares your song for distribution. If you are going to publish your song on iTunes or Spotify, it must be mastered first in order to meet their requirements.
  • A good mastering engineer can give you feedback on your mix and suggest ways to improve it. It’s a great way to learn more about production and improve your mix.
  • Mastering can make your track more radio-friendly. Commercial music is mastered to have a certain sound that will appeal to the masses.
  • Mastering can add extra punch to your track. If you want your song to sound louder and more aggressive, mastering is the way to go.

How to prepare files for mastering?

Now that you know all the reasons why mastering is so important, it’s time to learn how to prepare your files for mastering.

There are a few things you need to do before sending your track for mastering:

  • Make sure your levels don’t exceed -6 dB.
  • Remove any unwanted noise from your song.
  • Make sure your mix is ​​done right
  • Remove all processing from the bus master
  • Make sure your sample rate is above 44.1 kHz and bit depth is above 24 bits
  • Export your song.
  • Name it correctly and provide a text note with all the necessary information.

Now that you know how to prepare your files for mastering, it’s time to find a good mastering engineer. There are many, but they are not all the same. Do some research and find someone who has a good reputation and knows what they’re doing. The last thing you want is for your song to sound worse than it started.

Featured Image: Inga Seliverstova, Pexels.