Amateur question: Mixing vs. Mastering
I have always been interested in the technical aspect of music production. Many years ago back in Germany I mixed a cover band for quite some time, using a Peavey 24 channel mixer. I always loved to play around with the synths, samplers and other equipment (built a few things too), it all came pretty natural (well, the FM based synths required a little more to wrap my head around).
Even though I do not play an instrument (I used to call the mixer 'my' instrument), when I saw Reason I knew I had to have it... I'll be taking Piano lessons now. Amazing bit of software, loads of fun.
Anyhow, to my question: What exactly is the difference between mixing and mastering? From what I read in the various threads about mastering and avoiding a 'thin' sound with Reason I gather that mastering involves equalizing, compressing etc. But doing that means changing the mix!
So am I guessing right that the mixing process is the artist's idea of how the sources should be combined, and in the mastering process someone with a more technical background takes that 'rough cut', cleans it up and 'fine tunes' it?