Many artists are still confused as to what goes on during a mastering session. This article will try to shed some light on last step before fame and riches (well, at least last step before duplication), and help you with preparing your music before sending to a mastering studio.
Mastering is last stage of production, right before master CD is sent for duplication. It is extremely important for your product and can dramatically improve quality and consistency of your recordings. Since many musicians have home studios, it is more important than ever to get your final CD mastered properly. It will bring your home-recordings closer to a "radio ready" professional level.
Some of work done at mastering stage include:
-> Equalization and harmonic balancing for consistent sound throughout your entire album. -> Adjusting micro/macro-dynamics (volume changes) of your songs for consistency and loudness. -> Checking inter-channel phase and polarity for mono compatibility. -> Final CD layout with proper song spaces, segues, fades and crossfades snapped to CD frame boundaries. -> Sample and bit rate conversion with dither to Red Book CD Standard.
It's amazing how a good mastering job can bring out width, depth and dimension of a song. You'll hear sounds that used to be buried in mix, vocals will shine through, reverb and effects will be heard, and whole CD will be more enjoyable over a varying range of playback systems. At Digital Sound Magic Studios, we have a one-free song policy. Send us a song (usually through www.yousendit.com) and we master it for free. No catch, no obligation.
But don't assume all work lies on our shoulders! You have to do some legwork too by giving us best source audio and as much information as possible. This will make final mastering process run more smoothly and ensure that you get absolute best master.