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?
If you decide to work with a mastering engineer, here are some things to keep in mind as you hand your killer mix off for mastering.
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 around -6 dB of headroom on the master fader.
2. Clean up your master bus
Don’t leave your Ozone mastering plug-ins and bus 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
Dithering is reserved for when you’re bouncing your mastered mix down to 16-bit, CD quality. Leave the dither up to the masters. And if you’re only releasing your music on streaming services, you might not need dither at all.
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!
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 Master Your Mixes program.
Whether you’re an aspiring mastering engineer or a producer/mixer looking to add that extra spice/competitiveness/love to your music, this program shows you how to get it there and drastically elevate the quality of your work.
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