Mastering audio refers to expressly improving the audio itself. There are other aspects of mastering audio when it comes to the post-production of creating the actual data or image file for a record which will be sent off for replication. In CD format and vinyl format to a lesser extent you have to consider sequencing or how each track flows into one another, whether or not there’s a break, whether or not the tracks overlap, etc.
If you want to forgo the CD pressing altogether and focus on a digital release through a site like BandCamp, then you are exclusively interested in just mastering the audio. Let’s talk about 3 reasons for why mastering audio is truly important and should never be considered optional but unnecessary.
First off, as I mentioned in opening, mastering audio will significantly improve the quality of your audio itself in the hands of a skilled and knowledgeable mastering engineer and yield a much more professional quality to it. Likely the most common effect used in mastering is equalization because it gives you so many options and so much control over the quality of the sound. This breaks a mix into different bands of frequency which can be more closely edited, boosted, or diminished as necessary.
You can compensate for voids and inconsistencies left by the recording stage if you know what you’re doing and the difference between an unmastered and a well mastered track are overwhelmingly palpable.
Secondly, mastering audio ensures that every song which makes up your record is harmonious in terms of volume with every other song on that record. This is important because most songs aren’t recorded in the exact same setting and even if they are then it’s likely that they weren’t recorded at the same levels or with the same instruments. Less sonically dense tracks will likely come out as sounding quieter than one with dozens and dozens of tracks, so the engineer has to make sure that there are no inconsistencies when listening to each one back to back in that record’s mix.
Lastly, mastering audio works to get your music on the same volume as industry standards dictate. Even if you’re a purist who doesn’t believe in compressing and boosting a mix’s overall volume, you still likely don’t want to annoy your fans which is what you’ll do if your music is substantially quieter than other contemporary records so that when played back to back in a mix someone has to continually change the volume between your tracks and everyone else’s.
The ultimate goal in mastering audio is to unlock a final mix’s true potential. Discover your music’s true potential by entrusting one of your songs to a free test master from Music Guy Mastering today and hear how good your music could be sounding in less than 24 hours.