We get a lot of questions about mastering, so we thought we’d share this post Trevor Norris put together with everyone.
Mastering is the final step in the recording process. It’s the final polish that can make a song jump out of the speakers, or if not done properly, make people scramble for the Treble and Bass buttons, or worse, press Skip or Delete.
Mastering is more important than ever due to the effects of modern technology. Here’s why:
1) Compression & Reformatting: These days, songs have the hell kicked out of them. Files are compressed at different bit rates, using various technologies, sometimes repeatedly, user after user. Files are imported, converted, compressed, exported, broadcast, shared, burnt and then reformatted for the next user experience. There are dozens of public and proprietary music formats used by various digital retailers, subscription services and internet radio.
The point is, each of these reformats and compressions change something. They sometimes exaggerate things such a messy high end (cymbals will sound more brittle) or eliminate some low end (bass and drum warmth) or just make the whole thing seem flat and lifeless.