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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.

Video: How to Mix Background Vocals

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Improve Your Mix With These 3 Music Theory Tips

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This article originally appeared on the DIY Musician blog.

 

So your band is finally in the studio. You’ve been working hard in rehearsals to create great songs, and you know that your lyrics and melodies are strong. You finish your last rehearsal and feel like your band has a huge sound. You show up, set everything up, record your first song, listen back to it, and discover that the mix is falling flat. What do you do?

Why Your Demo Isn't Enough to Make It in the Music Business

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In today’s world, musicians are expected to be a one-stop shop for their own marketing, production, PR, and everything in between. Long gone are the days of A&R managers, discovering your raw talented un-branded and undeveloped. As if it weren't hard enough to complete your demo, you also have to figure out how to promote it and when you should follow up.

Today, there are so many tools that offer ways to automate these added responsibilities, but they don’t handle everything. You still need a strategy and plan to know how you’re going to get your music out into the world.

5 Albums Recorded in Strange Ways That Still Sound Great

Brian Wilson in the Studio in 1976. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Most audio engineers will tell you that there’s a right way and a wrong way to record music, and if you’re going into the studio to make an album, it’s worth taking the time to do things right. Not every great album, however, was recorded using the “right” methods. In fact, some of the greatest albums of all time were recorded in ways that would seem totally wrong to most experienced audiophiles. Here are some of the best examples of albums that used the wrong techniques to get the right sounds.