To get a great musical composition, the author should pace the track through all the stages: from recording vocals & instruments and mixing to song mastering. And although the final stage provides only about 10-15% of the music quality, don`t forget about its undeniable significance. In the article, you will find out the benefits of mastering and its importance for the overall result.
What Does Mastering a Song Mean?
Generally, mastering is a complex of processes aimed at improving the sound of the final mixed track or adjusting it to some standard (for example, in the case of balancing tracks for an album). First of all, the sound engineer processes the track for various metric systems (RMS, LUFS, True Peak), so that later the composition sounds equally good on:
- various acoustic systems.
Depending on the tasks and the quality of the source material, audio recordings are processed with noise suppressors and various processors that expand or narrow the stereo base. At the end of the process, the track parts are collected in the desired order, supplemented with transitions or pauses, and assembled into an album or single. The result of the work is a master disc or master recording, completely ready for distribution on any media.
This technique helps prevent clipping for the listeners (a form of audio distortion due to limiting the signal amplitude). In addition, tracks that have passed professional song mastering do not so critically load the broadcast equipment of radio stations and virtual streaming services.
Further, with the help of STEM-mastering, the final refinement of the track takes place. It does not work on the technical parameters of the sound, but is necessary for the artistic qualities:
- the low frequencies density;
- the stereo width and transparency;
- the dynamic transitions sharpness and so on.
When people turn on a track playlist in a particular style, they don’t want to suddenly have a noticeably louder composition in the middle of listening. This will at least shock them and discourage the desire to listen to the music of this style. At worst, it can burn out the acoustic system, amplifiers, and injure the listener`s hearing.
If musicians conduct mixing and mastering on their own, they will receive several advantages at once:
- full control of the process from A to Z;
- low costs (even when using paid services — thanks to a large selection of platforms, you can find an affordable monthly subscription);
- even minimal track processing will significantly increase its quality.
And if the author ponders “How can I master my song so that it will be really catching?”, it is worth contacting professionals. In this case, the benefits are even greater:
- the author gets the highest quality result with the minimum amount of time;
- the composition will be adjusted to modern sound standards;
- if edits are needed, the sound producer will add them at the request of the client.
In addition, some services offer an additional pre-mastering service. Experts provide a free demo version for classical mastering so that the author can listen to how the track will sound with professional processing, and also give comments from a specialist on mixing errors.
Is Mastering Necessary?
The final processing of a musical composition is certainly important and necessary. However, the improvement in sound quality isn`t the main reason. There is an interesting effect: after mastering processing, musicians perceive their work a little differently and see mixing errors that were previously unnoticeable. This usually refers to:
- general volume balance;
- the amount of compression;
- also, at this stage bass problems can pop up.
All these mistakes suddenly become more obvious — this allows to make them less and less in the future. This area seems complicated and confusing only at first, in fact, online song mastering is just polishing the track with the help of equalizers and compressors to achieve the perfect sound of the final phonogram (as much as possible). As you already understood, without mastering, it is simply impossible to create first-class music that will reach a large audience and is suitable for the widest possible broadcast.