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So you think your mix is ready for mastering?


After a long week of mixing a smokin’ hot album, it’s time to stop and master all the different tracks together.

Will you be mastering your mix?

Or do you hand it off to someone else for a different touch?

1. Level Check

Give the mastering engineer some room to work with. It’s not the end of the world for him anymore if your track is too hot. He’ll simply turn the gain down. But for best practice purposes, leave some headroom on the master fader.

2. Clean up your master bus

Don’t leave your Ozone mastering plug-ins and buss compressors on the master bus when you bounce your mix down to a stereo track. Leave that processing up to the mastering engineer.

3. Ain’t nobody got time for dither

Once again, dithering is reserved for when you’re bouncing your mastered mix down to 16 bit, CD quality. Leave the dither up to the masters.

4. Mono?

As a last run-through, check your mix in mono to make sure everything sounds the way it should. You don’t want to be caught off guard with a mastered song that has phase issues and vanished instruments because you got a little heavy handed on the stereo processing.

5. Conversation is King

Create a relationship with your mastering engineer and let him know exactly what you hope to get from him. There are different ways of mastering a song or an album, so make sure you communicate your needs clearly.

Even if you can’t explain exactly how you want your songs to sound, a good mastering engineer is great at extracting meaning from your mess of an explanation.

Or maybe you want to do it yourself?

I don’t know about you but I do all my mastering in the box. All inside my computer, with only plug-ins.

I’m sure you’re the same way?

Well…ok, maybe not all of you. Some of you might be holding out until analog becomes the standard again?

Who knows, it happened to vinyl so it might happen to your outboard gear too!

Me? I’m not holding out. I’m mastering In. The. Box.

If you’ve been trying to get your masters to sound better, using the plug-ins you already have then you’re probably interested in the latest mastering tutorial from The Pro Audio Files.

It’s called Mastering in the Box (natch!) and is taught by Los Angeles musician and engineer Ian Vargo.

The course includes:

Thirteen topic-specific workshops and eight walkthroughs in various genres, plus all the song files so you can practice alongside.

Whether you’re an aspiring mastering engineer or a producer/mixer looking to add that extra spice/competitiveness/love to your music, this course shows you how to get it there and drastically elevate the quality of your work.

Image by: seeveeaar


We Transform Musicians Into Pro Producers So That They Can Earn an Income With Their Music

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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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