Whether you are a musician, engineer, or producer, you probably know that mastering can make a difference in your mixes. Mastering is the final, crucial step in the music-making process. However, even seasoned mastering engineers can only accomplish so much, and it largely depends on the raw materials available for them to work with. When you prepare your mix for mastering, here are pointers you must keep in mind:
Invest in Studio Sessions
Excessive low-end is a common issue in mixes that come from project studios. Often, this has to do with the mixing environment. The average project room or home studio does not have a real acoustic treatment and is rife with reflective surfaces and bass traps. This leads to an uneven response across the bass spectrum where some notes cannot be heard and others being overemphasized. To master your music, it is important to do it at a professional studio such as the Songmill music mastering studio.
Narrow the Mix
When you adjust a stereo recording’s width, you make it wider. However, you can also narrow an overly wide mix. You can use plug-ins for this but you should handle them with care because they can cause phasing problems and weaken a difficult mix. Everything should be left below 100Hz alone since this area carries no directional information and has a great impact in mono than stereo.
Remember that Mastering is not Mixing
Many mastering compressors, processors, and EQs are available, featuring a signature sound. These elements must be used moderately to improve a great mix. In the mastering stage, it is imperative to use the highest-quality, most transparent hardware or plug-in and make micro-changes. This means adjusting two dB of high shelving EQ to bring out the air or some dB of multiband compression on the low end for more punch.
Apply Loudness Maximization
Applying loudness maximization can bring the overall average level up, making the track louder and giving it an extra punch. You can achieve a louder sound by adding multi-band compression that uses various amounts of compression across different frequency bands. A lot of plugins and software packages that let you maximize the loudness using simple controls are available. Often, there is a threshold and output ceiling.
As the threshold is lowered the song’s volume is increased. Often, the output ceiling is set to 0dB or just under. It is necessary to increase the loudness decently and without distortion.