Mastering services are the last step in completing a record. Mastering is also one of the more nebulous terms related to music production which not many people have a firm grasp on but it’s an essential final step which can significantly improve your recordings in a number of ways. Let’s talk about why mastering services are required and what they do as well as how you can find the best engineer to meet your needs.
First let’s talk about what mastering services add to your final product. Once the various instrumental and vocal tracks which make up a song are complete, the producer or mixing engineer mixes the tracks together in the best presentation and renders them down to just one track.
That track is then sent to the mastering engineer who applies effects like reverb, compression, and equalization to the final track to improve the quality of the sound. If there are any issues in the quality of the sound, the mastering engineer can go in and correct them by applying and tweaking equalization to take out abrasive sounds for example. Compression and reverb can be added to give the track added continuity and atmosphere, respectively.
Aside from improving the audio quality, mastering services also do some surface level things. One of these is to make sure that there is continuity and flow between tracks. This means making sure that every song gets the flow between one another which is desired by the artist on the CD itself and ensuring that the volume between each song is consistent with every other song.
Additionally while on the subject of volume, an engineer makes sure that the overall volume of the record is consistent with other commercial records of the time.
Finally, mastering services engineers can add data to a physical CD before it is sent off to the replication plant. This includes ISRC codes for individual songs, a UPC code for the record, song titles, the record’s title, and even copyright credits and info.
Once all of this information has been added to the file, the mastering services engineer will create either a DDP file or burn a replication CD. This file or CD will then be sent to the CD replication plant where copies of your record are made to the exact specs which are congruent with the file/CD.
While you don’t need to get your music mastered necessarily, it certainly is heavily recommended and as you can tell will add a lot to your final product. Now that I’ve covered why mastering services are such a crucial final step to the music production process, why not actually listen to and HEAR the difference which a good mastering job accomplishes.
I’ve got side by side comparisons which you can check out by clicking on this link for mastering services. You can even get your very own 100% FREE test mastering of any one of your own tracks so that you can experience the difference in your own music which you can check out by clicking on this link for free test master.