Have Your Music Mastered Professionally – Seriously!

For me it is a no brainier – I always factor in the cost of hiring a good mastering engineer for all of the projects that will be released to CD and most definitely for Vinyl! Yet, I have a lot of friends who, for whatever reason, do not understand the value this brings to the project. To have an additional, highly specialized engineer listening and correcting your work will only make it better; sometimes by a factor of 100%.

The key however, is finding the right mastering engineer. Anymore, it seems like anyone with a computer, some plug-ins an editor and a decent pair of monitors claim they can master a project. Most of what I have heard over the years (“home mastered”) is several orders in magnitude less in quality than a truly, professional mastered project. In fact, I have listened to projects (or tried) that actually sound worse than the original because someone got a new L3 Leveler or some other limiter and just crushed the crap out of the music to get it loud! that’s not Hollywood folks. I have also heard projects where every song is overly normalized -thus taking all the dynamics out of it. And finally, poor use of stereo imaging plugins create projects that are so out of phase it actually hurts to listen to them. So, Please, if you are going to release for public consumption, Have Your Music Mastered Professionally – Seriously!

Here is an excerpt from a website article by: Caro Churchill who addressed these very concerns when she was faced with a crucial decision.

Most of the commercially manufactured and popular music you may hear and buy will be produced with a healthy budget and to high professional industry standards. Which most likely will involve sending the album or single to mastering engineer, to put the final polish and tweaks on a mix before it goes into mass production. But so many independent albums and self-made creative music is now composed, produced and mixed in more budget environments – maybe even using only a laptop and one microphone. So what is the mastering process and does it really matter?

Well I would argue that it does matter and if you feel strongly about your music and want to get it played on radios, car stereos or hand-held devices such as phones. I always find if nothing else it is invaluable to bring in a fresh pair of ears to my creative music and an experienced pair at that. Before going to print CDs or even just make available a download release, one of the jobs of a mastering engineer is to consider that the music will transmit favourably on most music listening systems and devices. Of course if you are pressing to vinyl this is even more crucial as frequencies do weird and wonderful things to the grooves of the record.

Someone who has experience of listening to lots of different music in detail can make the difference if you want a professionally sounding track or album. And someone who is creatively more detached from the material can give you a more objective view and space for reflection – for example do you want the vocal to be very in the foreground or more submerged in the mix? Bass frequencies can be particularly tricky to get right, especially for the most often used listening platforms such as computer speakers and MP3 players.

A professional mastering studio will have highly specialized studio equipment such as frequency and spectrum analyzers that can pick up rogue or problem frequencies.

Agree, key word is “professionally” mastered, this is typically not your best friend in the whole wide world named Louie who lives on the next street over (well I guess it could be). This is a specialized facility, with very delicate and expensive equipment – just like a professional recording studio or a specialized doctors office. I have been recording for a couple of decades and even I would never claim to be a mastering engineer. In fact, the guys I use have always made my projects sound finished and professional.

Churchill, C., 2012, Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6818192

Vertical Menu