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​​MASTERING - You Really Do Need It!

Flatlander Sound - Recording Studio

A Recording and Music Production Studio in Mascoutah, IL

What is Mastering?

Mastering is the special process of transforming ordinary final mix files into finely polished pieces of music that meet all commercial standards.  Mastering is both an art and a science.  Besides a pristine listening environment, great monitors, special equipment and software, mastering requires a skilled engineer who can discern what adjustments are needed to make your mix files shine.  

Great masters start with an excellent mix--they're just made better in the mastering process.  Skillful mastering can rescue some "less than stellar" mix files, but if the mix is bad, we'll tell you.

Why Should You Have Your Tracks Mastered?

To sound like a professional, not an amateur--that's why.  If you want to achieve truly professional results that sound like you spent a fortune in New York, L.A., or Nashville, have your tracks mastered by an experienced engineer.  A properly mastered project ensures that your project can compete with commercially-released CDs.  You'll get airplay only if your project sounds as good as anything coming out of the big music meccas.  Airplay is only given to professional artists whose product attains the same standards of excellence all other artists must meet to compete.  The business side of this is demanding.  We'll help you achieve professional results, and Mastering is the icing on the cake, the bow tied around your musical package to be delivered to your fans, followers, and supporters.  It's worth every dollar you spend on it.

Who Does It?

An experienced Mastering engineer who can listen to a mix file and determine quickly what processing steps will be required to bring each track up to professional standards.  The mastering engineer applies a discerning ear and a great set of world-class tools to transform your mix files into something special.

What Happens During Mastering?

Some, or all, of these possible steps below can happen during your mastering process.  Each mix file will drive what mastering steps are needed.  Generally those include:

  1. Transfer the mix file into the DAW.  We prefer mix files to be at the highest possible resolution possible and can handle stereo files up to 96KHz at 32-bits.  Ultimately, CDs are created with audio files at 44.1 KHZ at 16 bits.
  2. Arrange the songs in the final CD order.
  3. Carefully listen to each song, noting clarity, frequency equalization (bass, mid-range, treble), stereo and spectral balancing, ambience, etc.
  4. Apply required tools and processes to achieve professional product.  This may include any of the following: single-band compression, multi-band compression, EQ, de-essing, filtering, noise and glitch removal, dynamics expansion, peak limiting, aural exciting, panning, and volume.
  5. Volume is optimized to meet all current standards for streaming, digital download, YouTube soundtracks, and CD production.
  6. Transitions are programmed according to client requirements.  This may include cross-fades, fade-ins, fade-outs, and spacing adjustments between tracks.
  7. All pertinent data is entered into master file, including song titles, artist names/credits, song markers, International Standard recording Codes (ISRCs).
  8. Burning the Master CD for client review and approval.  All mastering session files are backed up and archived on appropriate media.
  9. Once approved, a physical CD Master can be sent to a CD production facility for replication, or the mastered digital files and data can be uploaded.  Either method produces the same result.