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Mastering: Decoding the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of It All

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This article originally appeared on Soundfly.

 

Your music has been carefully recorded and painstakingly mixed, but there’s still one more step before it’s ready for the listening public: mastering.

Mastering is the bridge between the studio and the listening room; the last round of tweaks before calling it done.

But why is it necessary at all? “I wouldn’t have approved the mixes unless my music sounded exactly as I intended it to sound,” you might say. “Why would I pay someone else to keep changing it?” As it turns out, there are several very good reasons, many of which require some experience to fully grasp. Mastering, perhaps for this reason, seems mysterious to many.

Let’s pull back the curtain on this process and its objectives, bit by bit.