All posts tagged “Mastering”
Version alert! This article was written for Reason 2.5. Though the Reason mastering tools and tricks have changed a lot, the general mastering techniques and tips are still valid.
This month we will be taking a break from Reason device dissection, and instead focus on a hot topic – mastering. Traditionally, mastering has been an isolated domain outside the music production perimeter, but today, more and more aspects of production and distribution are brought closer to home – mastering included. Artists are exploring ways of bypassing the traditional music distribution channels altogether, opting instead for mp3 files or home-made CDs – and if you’re planning on going all the way with the do-it-yourself working model, you also need to master this final step of the process (as if being a composer, musician, producer and mixing engineer wasn’t enough…!) Needless to say, there’s a reason why people can make a career and a living on audio refinement – and if you’re dead serious about your material you should consider taking it to a professional, as mastering would be considered by some as a “don’t try this at home” thing. But if you’re one of those adventurous spirits, here’s a basic primer in the art and science of audio mastering – have your MasterCard ready and step up to the counter.
First, let’s get this out of the way: If your burning question is “Why doesn’t my music sound as loud as my commercial CDs? The peak meter tells me both sources are equally loud!”, there are two things you should know: 1) This article will answer your question; in fact, it was written for you. 2) While we will focus on the subject of volume (real and imagined), there’s so much more to mastering than just loudness. In fact, many mastering engineers resent the “loudness race” and favor a more conservative approach – but what’s a poor home studio owner to do when every other CD you play is so loud it jumps straight out of the speakers and lumbers around the room like the Incredible Hulk? Let’s crank it up!