Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Why Get Your Song Mastered?
I find that there is a lot of amateur producers out there that approach their mixes with the mentality that they need to make the snare sound it's best, their bass needs to sound it's best, thier vocal needs to sound big and full.. etc. Though it sounds viable, they are really working against themselves. Think, what will the end user really hear? They will hear the stereo output. Not just the snare, not just the bass, and not just the vocals. Everything needs to sound great together. It truly does not matter what anything sounds like on it's own.
But please do note, a bad mix can not be fixed in mastering. Make sure you get things leveled and sitting well in the mix before sending off to mastering. Personally if I am mixing or producing the song, I will "rough master" it, go back and adjust the mix, and then remaster is. There has been a few times I've gone back and forth multiple times. When you start compressing your master, things may not maintain the same sonic balance.
There is a lot more to mastering then what most people think. It's not just about getting things loud, but giving it more life. There is multiple things an engineer will do to your audio. Multiband dynamic processing, harmonic excitement, equalization, dynamic range processing (more then just compression) and limiting, just to name the 'basics.' They will also use all these tools in a different way then you or even different tools all together. Thing allows the master engineer to add to your sound not just exaggerate it.
From the master engineer's point of view, there is a sort of "magic" that happens when they don't really know exactly what was done on each instrument track. They essentially have no idea how it got this far. That 'ignorance' helps them get more creative. It makes them dig. It makes them want more. Master engineers are like Archaeologists of sound.
Another great point to make here is it will be mastered in different environment, a controlled one at that. This will make sure your song does not only sound good in your studio, but it will sound great everywhere else as well. The master engineer's ears are also fresh, so he may be able to pick out trouble areas a little easier.
There is no reason you shouldn't be getting you music mastered if your distributing it to the public. You need to let your music be as much as it can be. Don't let someone pass on listening to your song just because it doesn't have enough volume, life or punch. What if it was an A&R rep from your favorite label?