Demystify the Mastering Process

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This course is for you if…

  • You love recording and mixing, but you've never had much luck with mastering.
  • You think the mastering process is mysterious and confusing.
  • You've tried mastering your own stuff, but it never turns out well.
  • You have no clue how loud your final masters should be. (LUFS? RMS? True Peak? R128? Help!)
  • You have a sneaky suspicion that mastering is more than just slapping a limiter on your mix bus and calling it a day.
  • You'd love to be able to record, mix, AND master your own projects (without needing to hire an outside mastering engineer).
  • You like the idea of one day taking on paid mastering projects.
  • You want a simple, repeatable process that guarantees great results every time.

There are few things as shrouded in mystery as the mastering process. The recording process is easy enough to understand. (You put microphones in front of musicians and press record.) The mixing process isn't much harder to grasp. ("See these faders? Move 'em up and down to balance the volume between tracks.") But mastering? Mastering feels more elusive.

I released my first album when I was in high school. I recorded 8 original songs, burned 'em to a CD, slapped on a printed label, and sold 'em around town for $10 each. When I would listen to the CD in the car, I always had to turn the volume knob up as loud as it would go, and still the music wasn't loud enough. (If I wasn't careful, and I switched over to the radio while listening to my CD, the volume would be WAY louder, almost blowing my speakers.)

I didn't know it at the time, but the difference was mastering.

Without mastering, your songs sound quiet and weak. Even if the mixes are incredible, without proper mastering they will sound lifeless and anemic next to all the other music out there.

So is the difference just loudness?

Nope, there's a bit more to it, but here's the good news: It's not complicated.

Mastering engineers almost seem like wizards. We send them our music, and it comes back sounding louder…and better…and we have no clue how they did it. (Job security, I suppose.)

After years of trial and error (and studying professional mastering engineers), I've honed in on a simple 5-step process that works for me, every time, whether I'm mastering a heavy metal single or a 12-song instrumental album, the process stays the same.

That process is what I teach inside of Home Studio Mastering. In fact, it's similar to my 5-step mixing process, with a few small differences.

If you want to try it for yourself, here are the 5 steps:

  1. Project Setup - The way you set up your software for mastering has a big impact on the success of your mastering session. There are a few specific tools I use on every mastering session, and the way I set them up allows me to FLY through my mastering sessions.
  2. Set Levels - One of the primary jobs of the mastering engineer is to make the mixes louder, to get them to "commercial" volume. But once you start raising the volume, where do you stop? How do you know when it's too loud? Not loud enough? This step shows you exactly how to find the right volume every time.
  3. Fix Problems - Once we've set our levels, there will be problems to address. (Song 1 is too bright compared to Song 2. There's too much bass in Song 3. Song 4 has a high-mid frequency problem.) Sometimes these problems are CAUSED by the increase in volume, so it's important that we deal with them right away. And I show you lots of tools and tricks I use to do exactly that.
  4. Season to Taste - Once you solve the big problems, you can focus on the creative part of mastering. I used to think mastering was a cold, mathematical process, but the more I did it, the more I realized it is an incredibly fun and creative part of the music production process. Just like you blend individual tracks to make a mix, in mastering we're blending individual mixes to make an album. There are so many creative decisions you can make during this phase, and I'll show you how to think through all of them.
  5. To-Do List Method - Just like in my 5-step mixing process, this final step of the process gives us a foolproof method for knowing exactly when the mastering session is done. (And it's a lot sooner than you might think.)

Is mastering the kind of thing you can figure out on your own? Absolutely. With enough time and patience, you can become great at mastering, but I can help get you there faster. I've already done years' worth of testing, tons of trial and error, and I've distilled all those lessons down into a single, easy-to-follow system that will get you great results as soon as this WEEKEND.

In case we haven't met…

My name is Joe Gilder. I'm a music producer from Nashville. I've been making music in my home studio for more than 20 years. I launched a YouTube channel called Home Studio Corner in 2009 with the goal to help people discover how to make great-sounding, pro-level music out of their home studios. I've helped absolute beginners release their very first album. I've helped experienced musicians take their music to the next level.

Helping thousands of people over the years puts me in a unique position to help you, because I've seen it all. Whatever problems you have, whatever obstacles you're facing, I can help.

"Hey Joe! You got me through this course in half the time I gave myself…Before the course, I was just a dabbler. Now I'm much more serious and committed to the professional process. I've recorded and mixed a couple songs of my own, so far, without any formal instruction, just trial and error; so I'm looking forward to taking your recording and mixing courses as well (I did it backward)."

- Leah Kirrane

"Even if you're not interested in mastering your own recordings, this course is worth investing in just for what you'll get back in the way of enhanced mixing (and listening) skills! The trilogy of courses you've created is going to be my primary resource for whenever I need to refresh my understanding of a particular recording, mixing, or mastering technique. Well done, Joe! Can't wait to see where you go from here. Bring it!!"

- Mike O'Baugh

"I found this to be a great course, demystifying the art of mastering in a brilliantly simple and easy to understand way. So many great pieces of advice on what to do and possibly even more importantly what NOT to do. I feel at least half of the course was on the philosophy of mastering, which is probably just as important as all the technical stuff, if not more. I feel confident to go and master music now, which is just as well because I took on a mastering job, got paid in advance and used the money to do the course. ūüėä Anyway fantastic course, I can't recommend it enough, Thanks Joe."

- Acko Atkinson

Home Studio Mastering

Home Studio Mastering is my flagship training course on mastering. Not only do I teach you the concepts you need to know (the 5 steps, how to use things like limiters, multi-band compressors, mid-side processing, metering, and more), but I do so in the context of mastering a project. It's not just teaching, it's teaching while doing. Demonstration. A fly-on-the-wall experience, except the mastering engineer stops to explain everything he's doing.

The core Home Studio Mastering course consists of 6 modules, walking you through my 5-step mastering process as I master a 5-song EP. It also includes the following bonuses:

"All in My Head" Mastering Tutorial - Repetition is a key component of learning. This bonus tutorial walks you through my mastering process for a single song, which is slightly different from mastering for an album or EP, but a lot of the principles remain the same.

Album Artwork Hacks - Once you finish mastering your project, it's time to release it, but you can't release an album without some sort of album artwork. Over the years I've designed quite a few simple album covers, and this bonus training will guide you through how to do that yourself (and how to avoid the most common mistakes).

Music Distribution Blueprint - You may have noticed, there are a LOT of ways to distribute your music once it's finished. Which platforms should you use? Which ones should you avoid? This blueprint answers those questions and more.

Mastering Practice - Once you learn the 5-step mastering process, you'll need to get some practice time in. I've included over 30 unmastered mixes for you to use to practice these new skills.

Golden Ears Program - Critical listening is an integral part of the entire music production process, but especially in mastering. The mastering engineer is the last line of defense, the last chance to address any problems in the song before it goes out into the world. With that in mind, I developed this Golden Ears program to help you develop your critical listening skills.

Your Mastering Business - What if you became the go-to mastering engineer in your area? What if you could develop a side-business mastering other people's music? It's one of the easiest ways to dip your toe into the music business, because so many people are scared off by the mastering process. They would rather hire a professional. You could be that professional. This bonus training takes you through the process of making that dream a reality.

Personalized Feedback on One of Your Mixes (Advanced Bundle Only) - If you choose the Advanced Bundle, you can submit one of your mixes for private, recorded, personalized feedback from me, redeemable any time. My normal rate for this $200. This is one of the BEST ways to jump-start your creative process, having someone give you specific, actionable feedback on exactly what your song needs.

You can see pricing for Home Studio Mastering below, but I highly recommend purchasing the Home Studio Trilogy, which gives you access to my three flagship music production courses: Home Studio Recording, Home Studio Mixing, AND Home Studio Mastering. If you're serious about taking your music to the next level, purchase the Trilogy, and let the adventure begin.


"What an awesome Journey it has been for me. I've been sharing my time with you Joe since last November when I bought the 3 courses bundle. I have learned more as an engineer in 7 months than in the last 5-7 years. Mastering was a mysterious art/science for me until now. I always thought we couldn't fix little mix problems in mastering. But your course proved me wrong. One phrase that stuck with me in the beginning of my journey. You said at one point: Let's invest in ourselves instead of buying more gear!!"

- Sébastien Savoie

"The mastering program is wonderful and I cannot think of anything that was not covered in great enough detail that any person would finish the course without a great understanding of the processes and tricks involved. It was great to take mixed tracks and finish them as mastered track singles, and then to take single tracks and collect them into a sonically cohesive album format. It was also great to have the many wonderful practice tracks to work on. Well worth the money. Excellent job Joe! BIG smile from me.!"

- Anthony Capparelli

"Hey Joe, I have just finished your mastering course, and as usual you have a winner ūüŹÖ with is one! I have been finishing this one at the same time that I have been doing your Recording and Production course. I have to say that all 3 courses compliment one another, and you are covering all the right info in your excellent method of teaching that has made me much more comfortable of the whole process. Keep up the great work!"

- Michael Geiser

A Question For You…

How much money have you spent on your studio? With computer, software, instruments, and other equipment, studies show that the average home studio owner will spend anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000+ on their home studios in their lifetime. If you were to enroll in an audio school, you could easily pay $80,000 or more for an audio degree.

For the price of a microphone, you can completely transform your music with this course. It's one of the only investments in your studio that is guaranteed to completely transform everything you do.

It's all GUARANTEED (no really)

If you follow this course and apply the system to your music, you will see transformational results. You won't believe how great your music sounds. If not, you can request a FULL REFUND. I call it The Most Ridiculous Guarantee on the Internet. You have ONE YEAR to decide if this was worth the money. (Try returning a microphone after a year.) I want to take the risk out of the equation for you. You've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Ready to join?

You've read this far, which means you're interested. The only thing left to do is to choose your option below and place your order. And then the adventure begins!

Thank you,

Joe Gilder
Home Studio Corner



  • Home Studio¬†Mastering
  • "All in My Head"¬†Tutorial
  • Album Artwork Hacks
  • Music Distribution Blueprint
  • 30+ Songs to Master
  • Golden Ears
  • Your Mastering Business
  • Personalized Feedback
  • Home Studio Recording
  • Home Studio¬†Mixing



Save $100

  • Home Studio Mastering
  • "All in My Head"¬†Tutorial
  • Album Artwork Hacks
  • Music Distribution Blueprint
  • 30+ Songs to Master
  • Golden Ears
  • Your Mastering Business
  • Personalized Feedback ($200)
  • Home Studio¬†Recording
  • Home Studio¬†Mixing

4-Course Bundle


Save $397

  • Home Studio Mastering
  • "All in My Head"¬†Tutorial
  • Album Artwork Hacks
  • Music Distribution Blueprint
  • 30+ Songs to Master
  • Golden Ears
  • Your Mastering Business
  • Personalized Feedback ($200)
  • Home Studio Songwriting ($299)
  • Home Studio¬†Recording ($299)
  • Home Studio¬†Mixing ($299)

Frequently Asked Questions

"This was an amazing journey! I came from the analog world of Reel to Reel, DAT tapes and 24track hard drives using 100% analog mixing. About 4 years ago I started recording all Digital / DAW (with lots of help from your YouTube videos). This was a step-by-step training that tied up so many loose ends. I highly recommend this training to beginners and advanced."

- Phil Guida

"This course put me into the mastering engineer's room. It opened a whole new world to me. The more I study your lessons, the keener my ear is becoming - and feeling more confident about the tools used and where to apply them. I also get DAW training at the same time that is embedded into the fabric of every lesson. Brilliant."

- Nathaniel Edmonds

"HSC Course Trilogy: Completed. What an amazing journey of rediscovery for another engineer who cut their teeth on analog and early digital gear back in the late '80s and early '90s - old analog concepts and workflows refreshed and revitalized for an ever-changing landscape! This mastering course has been so essential to reaching a bigger understanding of music production as a whole, and it fills a void by shedding a bright light on a discipline unfamiliar to so many musicians. Thanks, Joe - you've distilled so many audio building blocks into accessible nuggets of learning. You should be mighty proud to count your HSC courses among your body of work."

- Phil Ruokis