The Mastering Process. Mastering is the final critical stage of music production where the audio is optimized and prepared for its delivery format.
Processing. The energy of the music is brought out and the project is made into a consistent statement from track to track. Improvements
are made in tone, clarity, dimension, richness, dynamics and level.
used in this stage include a variety of analog processors (each with its own tonal characteristics), as well as proprietary digital devices. If necessary, additional work is done with M/S (mid-side) processing, stereo image adjustment, harmonic saturation, reverb, de-essing and denoising.
The Importance of Dynamics. Today
there is competition to make commercial music as loud as possible. A recording is made loud by limiting its dynamic range–the variations of level of sounds. However,
excessive limiting of dynamic range makes music lose its excitement and emotion which results in a strained listening experience.
mastering engineer must know where to draw the line between loudness and degradation. When mastered properly, an album can be made competitively loud and still retain its compelling qualities that make us want to play it repeatedly.
Editing. Fades are created and if desired, sections of audio can be deleted or moved to different areas. Sonic artifacts such as pops and clicks are removed at sample level and unwanted events can be eliminated using spectral editing.
Assembly. Track sequence is created and transitions between songs are fine tuned with spacing & crossfades. Delivery format is prepared (CD Master, high resolution file for vinyl, MP3, other).
Control. Levels, PQ subcode information and error rates are checked to facilitate replication stage.
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