Why Mastering Your Music is Important: Tips From A Mastering Pro
You have put in the work. Came up with the lyrics, added in the instruments, did a little mixing of the tracks to achieve a harmonic sound. Everything looks okay and now for the final part that gives most musicians and producers a hard time.
Mastering your song.
Unless you are a Bob Ludwig or Emily Lazar, you probably find music mastering a bit intimidating. And I know why.
Mastering music is an art. A skill that can make a lame sounding record into a professional masterpiece. And very few possess it.
So what exactly do we mean by mastering your music?
Back in the day, music mastering was all about producing multiple copies of tape or vinyl mixes for distribution. If you lived in that era, you would have an easy time duplicating your mixes with any cassette player.
But the digital age changed everything. Music distribution morphed from tapes and vinyl (though we still love vinyl) to online digital distribution. And with that, the music mastering job description had to change as well.
In simple terms, music mastering is all about one thing;
Doing one last polish on your tracks before giving it to the audiophiles out there.
Why is mastering your music important?
Music mastering should solve these problems for your mixes;
- Gives your song objectivity
- Correct balance issues
- Add extra tweaks-broad equalization, compression, or limiting- to give your mixes more zest
- Checks for consistency- sound consistency is important especially if you are mastering an entire album.
- Prepare your music for distribution- radio-ready and online music streaming services
Every producer and music artist knows how hard it can be to mix a song. It is like a complex jigsaw puzzle with all these unique pieces, call them tracks, that need the right arrangement to get the final image, the sound, right.
You don’t always get it right the first time. You spend countless hours in your home studio adding or subtracting stuff, adjusting knobs until you achieve what you believe is a great sound.
To give you a clear picture, this is what goes into mixing your track;
- You have to get the tracks recorded
- Label and organize the tracks in unique groups
- Normalize the tracks to keep the volumes in the same levels and eliminate track peaking
- Then comes equalizing part-polishing the instruments so they sound crisp
- Then there are compressors, reverb, delays, fades, effects….
You know, the whole shebang.
A lot of work right?
And you still have music mastering to think about. The same old process of tweaking things here and there to make your songs profession and radio/streaming ready.
Do you know endless hours of mixing does to you?
It helps perfect your mixes but it does little for you in terms of objectivity. And if there is one important thing in audio mastering, it is giving your mixes objectivity.
This means passing your songs through a second set of ears to catch those nitty-gritty details you might have overlooked.
Remember, mixing is an involving art on its own. You spend hours in your studio, staring at the same DAW, listening to the same monitor speakers or headphones, working with the same plugins, and so on. The same sound hits you over and over until you cannot tell the difference.
Music mastering service helps you look at your music from a fresh perspective. It helps solve easy-to-miss mixing issues in your tracks. Professional online mastering services help you level the field by;
- Correct any tonal balancing issues in your mixes. A mastering engineer also adds some character in the sonics of your songs to give them more life
- Adding some zing to your final stereo files
- Refining or reducing frequencies to better the final mix
- Fix any phase and frequency issues. Also correcting imbalances in frequency responses
- Add fades or crossfades for crispier transitions
- Sweep out clipping, clicks, pops and any unnecessary noises in the mixes
- Increasing the volume in mixes to commercial levels
- Analyze all the tracks in an EP or Album to ensure sound levels are consistent
- Figuring out the perfect arrangement of tracks in an album/EP
- Adding ISRC codes and metadata to the final tracks for easy cataloging
The bottom line, if you want your track to sound like a record label release, you need professional music mixing and mastering services.
Is it important to hire music mastering services?
Now there is nothing wrong with self-mastering your music. There are instances when you will not need professional online mastering services;
- If you are working on a demo for a personal project
- All the levels, EQ, compressions, and fades all sound well throughout the track
- When mixing music for non-commercial use.
- If you are just curious about music mastering
All these are fun avenues for mastering your music. Who knows, it could be the beginning of a new career path you didn't know about. If that is you, we also recommend researching music mastering apps that will lessen your work.
Also, here are some fun tips on how to self master your music
- Start with a finished mix
- Ensure you master in a soundproofed room. Acoustic panels are your best friend
- Get quality monitoring speakers. See our list of the best speakers for a home studio
- If speakers are pricey, find some high-quality headphones. A list of good studio headphones for you.
- Play your track on various outlets to ensure sound consistency
- Voila! You just mastered your music at home
But do you want your music to sound professional and commercial ready? Do you want to get rid of the mistakes you overlooked when mixing? Do you want to make a strong impression, among music critics and fans, with your first album?
If I were you, I would search for a music mastering service near me ASAP.
If you have made it to the end of the page, you now understand the importance of music mastering and how it can help you level the playing field. At Mr. Mix and Master, we are all about making your music sound crisp, professional, and without any novice mistakes.
We can turn your good mix into a great mastered track!