Why Mastering is Crucial: Top 5 Reasons

Last Updated on May 6th, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Mastering is Crucial

Mastering is the crucial and final step in the music production process.

It’s the part where your track gets its last polish and presentation for release.

However, mastering isn’t just an extension of the mix. And it’s much more than window dressing.

Mastering plays an important role in your listener’s experience—in more ways than you may think.

In this article, we will explore the top 5 reasons mastering is crucial to how we listen to music today.

In case you’re on the fence about whether to master your track before people listen to it, this guide will explain why skipping mastering is a mistake.

Let’s jump right into!

1. Modern music is loud

High budget tracks from professional producers sound incredible. They’re big, bold, and punchy even once you listen to small speakers.

However, above all, they’re exactly the best volume—for the available headroom in the medium!

One of the most important jobs in mastering is to deliver the level of your mix up to match with the rest of the tracks in your library or streaming platform.

However, loudness and the level of audio signals is more difficult than it might seem.

Getting a track to sound loud, balanced, and punchy without clipping the listener’s playback system is a highly technical feat.

Maintain good gain staging throughout your mix, however, leave it to the mastering process to maximize the loudness for playback.

2. Your fans listen everywhere

Keep in mind these small speakers I was talking about? They’re everywhere.

From earbuds to Bluetooth speakers to iPhones, many listeners’ first experience with a brand new artist is under less than perfect conditions.

Your tracks can sound great everywhere people hear them. However, there’s no chance with a raw, unmastered mix.

Your tracks can sound great everywhere people hear them. However, there’s no chance with a raw, unmastered mix.

Another key job in mastering is to optimize the frequency balance of your track so it works anytime, anywhere.

That means fans will hear your track as you intended it whether they’re listening on a massive club sound system or a pair of earbuds on the bus.

The mastering process takes your mix as a whole and brings its overall sound into balance. Getting it right requires some sophisticated tech and know-how.

Why Mastering is Crucial

3. Streaming services have standards

The most important platforms for today’s artists are the main streaming services. These are the libraries where the majority of listeners go to listen to music and discover new artists.

However, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and others have strict standards for the content they host. After all, these platforms put your songs up alongside the biggest names in music.

That’s why digital distribution requires a certain level of quality. That is true for your album artwork and metadata, but also your sound.

Get something wrong and your release might be rejected. That’s the very last thing you need after working hard on your songwriting and mix.

Mastering takes care of your audio quality control. With mastering, you never have to worry about audio issues in a raw combine stopping your release.

Why Mastering is Crucial

4. Mastering fixes problems you might have missed

It’s simple to get lost in your world while working on a track.

Without an outside perspective, you can mix yourself right into a corner without even realizing it.

Producing music from home has never been simpler, however, there’s still so much to overcome for a truly nice sound.

Most beginner and intermediate producers underestimate the effect of their listening environment on their results.

In case you’ve only just started setting up your home studio, you probably don’t have any acoustic treatment yet.

And even if you only mix on headphones, you’re still up against the main problem with DIY mixing—you’re not hearing a neutral, transparent version of your tracks.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a mix that sounds nice to you. It just might not translate to different listening environments, and that’s a problem.

Mastering is a crucial, unbiased ear that can solve these issues. An excellent master should help your mix sound its greatest even when you can’t identify the problems yourself.

An excellent master should help your mix sound its greatest even when you can’t identify the problems yourself.

That’s not to say that mastering can fix a mix that’s not working. However, it may help reduce the effects of producing music in situations where truly accurate monitoring is impossible.

5. Mastering is part of the artistic process

Mastering used to be nothing more than a technical process to transfer a recording from the production medium to the playback medium.

Not anymore.

Today, mastering is a part of the artistic life cycle of a song. Modern mastering is an art form with a high level of attention to detail.

Modern mastering is an art form with a high level of attention to detail.

Why Mastering is Crucial

The mastering style used says a lot about the identity of the track and the stylistic elements of the music itself.

Would you like a warm, dynamic master with smooth vintage highs? Or a loud and hard-hitting one with the airy, open-top finish?

That decision is a part of the artistic process that’s as essential because of the arrangement or mix.

Missing out on the chance to sculpt your sound during the mastering process is a mistake. You need to make your mark on every single phase of your track’s development, don’t you?

Mastering matters

A lot of effort goes into making the recordings you’re keen on.

As you develop as a producer you’ll see more and more how each part of the process adds its magic to the result.

Mastering is no different. An excellent master can enhance your songs in ways that make an enormous difference to your listeners’ experience.

Now that you understand the basics of why mastering is crucial, get back to your DAW and keep working on your tracks.


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