Mixing And Mastering Forum with John Rogers • What Is Audio Mastering?
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What Is Audio Mastering?

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:42 pm
by John_Rogers
I've seen a lot of different answers on the Internet to this simple question. Some were pretty technical and confusing.

A lot of people think audio mastering is only making all the songs on a CD a comparable volume level.
Yes, this is done in mastering, but it's only one of many processes, not the only process.

The simple answer – Audio mastering is applying effects to a full song mix (on the stereo/main out bus), in efforts to replicate the sonic qualities of a well mastered industry standard commercial song.

In mastering, you’re adding effects to the entire song as a whole. Effects such as compression, spectral enhancement, EQ, etc.

An example of a mastering process is adding bass to a song you're listening to on your car stereo. When you add bass, the entire song gets it. You can't add bass to only the vocal track. This is comparable to a mastering EQ process because it affects the entire song.