Mastering has all the time been a bit of an enigma within the music-making process—its definition has shifted over time and over time its significance has modified.
At present, having a great mastering engineer is still key to releasing a good-sounding record.
However, what precisely can a mastering engineer do for your tracks in 2021 and when should you hire one?
In this article, I’ll break down what you may expect from mastering engineers and highlight a handful of instances in your music.
What’s a mastering engineer?
Mastering engineers are expert audio engineers who focus on preparing a recording for launch. A mastering engineer will make sure that a track is competitive with different commercial recordings and can sound good on all speaker combinations.
Historically mastering meant transferring a bit of music from a recording medium like analog tape to a manufacturing medium like vinyl records. Back then mastering engineers were more like technicians who oversaw the method.
Mastering got here into its own as musicians and listeners demanded higher fidelity from vinyl records. Engineers developed strategies for processing whole mixes to maximize their sonic efficiency on a physical vinyl record.
Of course, today mastering has advanced far beyond the physical specs of vinyl.
However, lots of the identical principles of the original mastering engineer remain identical—streaming services, radio playlists, and digital audio all include their own specifications.
Briefly, if you’d like your tracks to sound as good as the other tracks on the radio or streaming services, it is advisable to master your music.
Make your track louder
Mastering engineers perceive the specific processes wanted to make a track louder whereas holding it lively and musical.
Mastering isn’t just about turning your track into a sausage-looking waveform with completely no dynamics.
A great master will make a track peak at the right times whereas holding the feel of the song, not flat and lifeless.
We’ve written about how precisely mastering engineers make tracks louder, however briefly, this process makes use of a combination of EQ, dynamics management, stereo processing, and different strategies.
Make your album sound more uniform
An album ought to feel like a single connected experience.
Your listeners are going to note if the sound of your album isn’t uniform throughout. Worse, a song that’s too quiet won’t stand out among the rest of your louder songs.
That’s why album mastering is tremendously vital for holding the sound of your tracks consistent—each track must match in terms of total volume and quality.
A great mastering engineer is aware of easy methods to hold the levels and frequency balance of every track in check—without hurting the unique dynamics of every track in your album.
Bring out the most effective in your mix
You want a superb mix before going to the mastering phase. However, a superb master ought to solely bring out the great qualities of your mix, not hurt them.
Mastering does use a few of the identical strategies in mixing. However, they’re utilized in numerous methods.
We’ve written about how EQ, compression, and stereo effects are used during the mix phase. However, these instruments are used in a different way in a mastering context.
A great grasp may have touches of EQ, stereo widening, and compression. However, these instruments control the volume and dynamics of your whole track or album.
In contrast to mixing where you may use these to vary the quality of particular parts or instruments. Mastering engineers perceive easy methods to use the subtleties of compression, EQ, and stereo widening without squashing the overall feel of your sound.
One of the best ways to discover a mastering engineer?
There’s a couple of factors to consider when discovering a mastering engineer.
To get the most value out of your budget think about your wants.
In case you’re about to do a significant commercial launch and are in need of a final mastered model of your album it might be worth hiring a seasoned professional.
The price of hiring a super-experienced engineer could be very high—expect to pay anywhere from $100 and $600 or more per track.
However, for those who’re getting began, have a small budget, or simply wish to turn around a quick mastered version of whatever you’re engaged on there’s a compelling case to show to an AI mastering solution.
Sure—we’re biased right here, however, we’re pleased with our mastering AI platform that’s democratized entry to nice mastering for almost a decade.
LANDR Mastering is certainly the most effective in the game when it comes to automatic AI mastering options.
Actually, we recently launched our latest mastering engine, Synapse. It constructs almost a decade of AI research and machine learning. That is why LANDR Masters sound simply as good as an expert master.
We’ve helped lots of thousands of artists get pro-quality masters, so In case you’re searching for a quick and budget-friendly answer to get your tracks mastered take a look at LANDR Mastering.
Discover professionals via Network
AI mastering is better than ever, however, skilled human mastering engineers will all the time be in demand amongst discerning artists.
When you work with a mastering engineer, your greatest bet is to work with revered suppliers in the industry. You seemingly won’t get the results you’re searching for those who don’t rent a professional.
Fortunately, we’ve assembled a small army of veteran mastering engineers on LANDR Network.
At a variety of price factors, you may hire a human mastering engineer and get that remaining custom master.
Sound loud, get heard
Regardless of the way you select to master your tracks—whether it’s via AI mastering or with an engineer—getting a final master of your track is crucial for getting your music heard the best way you need it to be heard.
Your track risks getting buried towards different songs in streaming playlists and radio in case your master is subpar.
A mastering engineer can assist you to place an added level of shine and polish in your track. Besides, it provides your music each alternative must grab the attention of your listeners.
Now that you realize one of the best ways to method mastering engineers. It’s up to you to decide what avenue is greatest to get your tracks master!