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What Is Online Audio Mastering?
Online audio mastering is the process of taking a completed mix which has been rendered down to a single file, preferably in 24 bit WAV format, and making final global tweaks to that song to ensure that it sounds as good as it possibly can.
It’s this last bit of audio production which gives a song its gloss and ensures that it’s ready to be released commercially so that people can listen to it. Common tools used in the online audio mastering process include EQ, compression, limiting, saturation, and reverb.
If any of those sound familiar, it’s because they’re the same tools used in the audio mixing process on an individual track level. The difference is that the mastering engineer applies these tools to a single track/mix which affects the entire song globally.
In addition to simply making a song sound better, online audio mastering ensures that the volume of that song is comparable and competitive with the volume levels of other contemporary releases of the day so that it doesn’t sound weaker or out of place when played against other songs.
Making a track louder is generally a combination of both the byproducts of applying the above mentioned tools (EQ, compression, etc.) along with using a limiter whose sole purpose is to increase the volume of a song without sacrificing quality in any way.
While any issues in a mix are best corrected in the mixing stage, a good mastering job can seriously improve the quality of a finished mix, even a good one.
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