The Basics of CD MasteringWritten by Ross MacIver
Recording a CD is a complicated process which calls on skills of a great many people. The musicians must prepare initial musical material before heading into recording studio to lay down tracks. The recording engineer is responsible for capturing sounds and mixing them together. The mixing stage may be followed by an editing and processing stage, at which point recording is ready for audio CD mastering.
Audio CD mastering is a specialized field requiring musical knowledge, a technical background, and excellent ears. The mastering engineer has to be familiar with a broad range of musical styles and able to produce a final recording that sounds good on a variety of sound systems. He has to consider requirements of artist and producer and present a final recording that is satisfying to everyone involved.
Music is often recorded on multitrack tape, and after tracks have been recorded, they need to be mixed down to stereo. Each song can take anywhere from several hours to several days to mix down before beginning on next song. Various songs may be mixed down at different time of day and with different people giving their opinions. This can result in an uneven sound between songs. The purpose of audio CD mastering is to give a consistent overall sound to entire CD project.
The Basics of Audio RecordingWritten by Ross MacIver
Audio recording has been with us for more than a hundred years. The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. It recorded sound by producing grooves on a soft cylinder which could be played back by running a needle through grooves and amplifying sound.
The next major development in audio recording was magnetic recording. Tape recorders were developed in Germany and have been in common use from early 1930s up until recently. They are still being used, but are increasingly being supplanted by digital recorders.
Magnetic tape recorders have been essential tools in development of recorded music industry. With introduction of multitrack tape recorders in 1950s, came ability to produce new multilayered sounds. Audio recording using four track tape recorders was standard during 1960s. When first four tracks were completed, they were “bounced down” to first track of a second tape recorder. This allowed creation of complex musical arrangements.
All major recording artists of 1960s used four track tape recorders for their recordings. The limitation to this method of audio recording was buildup of noise as tracks were bounced from one machine to another. This was overcome with introduction of wider magnetic tape that could record 24 tracks or more. This meant that each instrument could be recorded on its own track without any appreciable buildup of noise.