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    Question Question about mastering for newbie

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    Hi. Just like to know what exactly is mastering? I thought it was to make an older song improve the sound quality of it. When I see mastered beside a song title, isn't it supposed to be better quality compared to the original recording?

    Thanks a million.
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    Mastering is putting the finishing touches on a mix so it translates optimally via a given medium. Mastering for vinyl has a set of requirements that don't apply to digital media, for instance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    Mastering is putting the finishing touches on a mix so it translates optimally via a given medium.
    That's the basics right there. A final QC check. Maybe looking for anomalies, pops, clicks, etc.; sort of gently (typically) "massaging" them in a common direction (even mixes done in straight-through sessions can sound like they were done by different engineers in different spaces) to bring a level of coherence; adjusting relative volume from mix to mix; establishing the final playback level for the genre and medium, blah, blah, blah.

    Whether it improves the quality is sort of dependent on the engineer (and the mixes he was given of course).

    That all said - Is there a possibility you're mixing (no pun intended) "mastering" with "remastering?" Not that remastering is a guarantee of an improvement either... I've heard plenty of remasters that were just pushed louder. Many sounded worse than the original masters. Then there are some that are actually completely remixed - several Megadeth albums come to mind that were labeled "remastered" but were obviously completely remixed from the ground up. And then mastered of course - But not just a remastered version of the original recordings.

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    At risk of sounding ambiguous, you do what the mix tells you to do. Theoretically, you did that already while mixing.

    That said - Line 'em up in a project so you can bounce around between tracks and do what they're telling you to do. You'll probably find EQ tweaks from track to track that might make them sound a bit more cohesive, you might find that some tracks are "unusually dynamic' compared to others that might need a bit of compression, you might find that one or two feel like they have a stereo image that seems off by comparison (at which point you'd be better off revisiting the mix in most cases), you might need to adjust the apparent volume from mix to mix, you might find that they're all fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by annaxamr View Post
    Hey there to anyone who's reading this. I am finishing one of my latest projects that is almost ready to be mastered, and I would like to know which are the main tips (plug ins, techniques, or things that I should watch) for mastering my own track.
    If you've created the best mix that you can then there's little point in doing any so called 'mastering'. If you feel the mix could sound better then change the mix to make it sound better.

    Mastering is all about having another set of ears adjust the sound in a good acoustic environment. The best way to simulate this is to leave the project for a few weeks and come back to it with fresh ears.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesperrett View Post
    If you've created the best mix that you can then there's little point in doing any so called 'mastering'. If you feel the mix could sound better then change the mix to make it sound better.

    Mastering is all about having another set of ears adjust the sound in a good acoustic environment. The best way to simulate this is to leave the project for a few weeks and come back to it with fresh ears.
    I disagree. Mastering is about preparing a mix or a bunch of mixes for a specific format. That likely includes some sort of target level that isn't necessarily part of the mixing stage. For any kind of album release it should include making the songs work together from a tonal and level perspective.

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    Yes there's that side to mastering too but I got the impression that the original post was more about processing than preparation for release.
    JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration
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    "That side" is literally the definition of the word. That said, certainly, it's a good idea to just get it out of your head for a week or two and try listening to it with fresh ears. THAT said, it's a good idea when mixing also.

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