All this talk about mastering this week, but you may be wondering:

What can mastering do for me?

Some people view mastering as unnecessary and that mastering engineers are scam artists.

Others see mastering as a magical process that will make their crappy mixes sound like a million bucks.

Neither of those are true, pumpkin.

Here’s what mastering CAN do for you:

– Tighten up the low end in your mixes, making it much more consistent from song to song.

– Maximize the loudness of your song without overly-compressing it.

– Give your mix a “polished” sound. (But keep in mind the whole “polished turd” thing.)

– Add warmth and punch to your mix.

On the flippidy-flip, here’s what mastering CAN’T do for you.

– Fix balance problems in the mix.

– Un-compress an over-compressed mix.

– Add low end to a mix when there’s none there to begin with.

– Fix timing issues in the recordings.

– Make your mediocre mix sound better than mediocre.

So there ya have it.

I’ve seen mastering work wonders on my mixes. I’ll be super happy with a mix, not thinking that anything could be improved.

Then I hear the mastered version and I’m blown away by how much better it sounds.

I’ve also had mixes that I wasn’t too thrilled about, hoping that mastering would “hide” all the mistakes.

It doesn’t. It just makes them louder. 🙂

So do all your homework during recording, editing, and mixing.

Then, when it’s time to master, either hire somebody or do it yourself.

If you’re doing it yourself, it’ll behoove you to take Ian’s class. You get in at a great discount.

Go forth and enjoy:

Joe Gilder