Mixing and mastering are two significant procedures, which polishes a track and prepares it for a launch in the commercial market. Being extensive, tedious and time-consuming; both these processes need dedication, patience, hard work, competence and utmost professionalism. It is due to this reason that artists are often advised to send their tracks to experienced audio engineers, where they can get mixed and mastered.
But, a large number of contemporary musicians in an attempt to save money disregarded this instruction and indulged in the procedures on their own. They did suffer because the tracks never turned out to be seamless and pleasing. What could be the reason behind this? Do you think that they lacked the basic expertise? But isn’t it possible to cultivate the necessary skills through practice? So, is there any other reason? Of course. The professional audio engineers make use of advanced paraphernalia in an acoustically treated studio for the job that plays a significant role in churning out success.
In the following discussion, I am going to talk about some of the essential tools that reputed sound engineers use for mixing and mastering. Let us take a look at them as they are mentioned below in brief:
- The foremost goal of mixing and professional audio mastering is to make a record ready so that it can keep its quality on all the devices it is played, starting from music systems to earphones. Well, to achieve this feat, you would require monitors that show poorly done stereo imaging, an uneven frequency response and other kinds of issues in details so that they can be got rid of.
- The most critical equipment to be used in the processes is an EQ (equalisation) device. It is primarily used to end all sorts of phase distortions, which are generally caused by time delays between each track or at the beginning and at the end of the track. EQ is noted for maintaining the transients and waveforms in a song quite accurately.
- Compressors are mainly used for regulating the groove in the track. The entire process of compression is aimed to either smoothen out or emphasise the basic punches kicks, and pumps in the song. You must choose a compressor carefully for there are some that go well with faster tracks while there are others that are ideal for slow songs.
- The multiband dynamics are tools that are utilised to compress as well as limit different frequency levels in a song. This equipment is essential for it can amend a bad mix by controlling the bass, reducing the harshness, highlighting the vocals and fixing other impediments.
Apart from the aforementioned four, one would need signal analysers, processor and a variety of other stereo tools for getting done with affordable mixing and mastering services. These are key facets that offer a record with the necessary sparkle and make it melodious and sweet-sounding.
A large number of musicians in the modern era tend to make some common mistakes while mixing and mastering their recorded tracks. They must realise that the two mentioned procedures are extremely significant and hence not performing them properly would most surely affect your work and that too in the adverse ways.
If you desire your music album to please the listeners and do remarkable business in the commercial market, you need to choose an audio engineer carefully and avoid the slip-ups mentioned below in brief.
The Don’ts of Mixing and Mastering
- Hiring your friend for the process of online mixing and mastering is not at all a viable solution. If he does not have the proper experience and tools, he is most certainly going to destroy your records. It is significant to contact someone professional, who understands the necessary changes that are to be made so that the records sound great when launched in the market.
- If you think that you would be able to indulge in the process on your own, you are surely wrong. Just because you have recorded the songs and instruments properly does not mean that you would be able to mix and master it. There are many examples, where an artist has generated disastrous results while mixing and mastering a song on his own. A professional audio engineer is trained in the process. He has the necessary skills, gears, a proper studio to prepare the songs for the market.
- Choosing a random engineer would be a blunder. You should conduct a thorough research, in order to detect the capabilities of varied experts out there. An ideal engineer would have certain samples on their site so that you can form an opinion about their work. You could also visit the testimonial section to view the customer reviews. Taking help from a veteran musician is also a good idea. He would be able to offer some valuable advice on hiring a mixing and mastering professional.
- Hiring an audio engineer just because he is offering affordable mixing and mastering services would be unwise. Things that come with a low price tag catch our attention readily. However, before making the purchase, we ought to give a thought about the quality of the products. The same rule applies while you look for the services of an audio engineer. You wouldn’t want to comprise the standard of the tracks only to save some money, would you? That would be the perfect example of ‘penny wise, pound foolish.’
So, keep the aforementioned points in mind and try to avoid them while getting your songs mixed and mastered.
Mastering is apparently the optimum and ultimate step to improve mix; it has been rightly acclaimed as the final polish for a song to prepare it for mass consumption. Mixing and mastering both are the basic components of record producing. Mixing being the intermediate step between recording and mastering needs to be executed with utter proficiency. However, the difference between mixing and mastering often remains incomprehensible to the greenhorns.
A Brief Study on Mixing
Mixing denotes the very process where multiple layers of the recorded audio are put together to produce the final track, it also refers to the stage of modifying the existing track. It entails combining and adjusting the individual tracks and producing a stereo audio file. While mixing the recorded song, the mixing engineer tinkers with every component you have recorded like adjusting fader, EQ the tracks, put the drop in effects and so on. It’s all about putting together the recorded parts, ensuring everything is hanged together and putting some finishing touch to refine the songs. To ease the hassles of working with mixing and mastering engineers separately some of the best online mastering service offers both of these services.
It starts by labelling and sorting out the tracks into analogous groups. The song is then normalized to ensure all the tracks are at a similar volume, afterward, each of the songs will be equalized to bring out the finest tones and high and low pass filters will be used to remove any unwanted frequencies. The goal of equalizing is to introduce modifications that enable the tracks to inhabit in their particular frequency areas and make the song clear and each instrument is distinguishable. Moreover, manipulating the fades and effects all through the songs makes it possible to deal with the emotion sonically.
Let’s Have a Quick Glimpse on Mastering
On the other hand, mastering is all about optimizing the overall sound; the process involves optimizing each track of the album or individual track by compressing, making stereo enhancements, equalizing and adjusting the echo or reverberation effect. The primary goal of mastering is to impart a high fidelity, professional sound with high clarity that can be thoroughly enjoyed by the audiences on any source.
Although different programs are out there to make you learn the mastering process but paying for professional mastering service is certainly a good investment, indubitably conducive when you plan to release the recording. The emergence of online mixing and mastering services makes it possible to get the advantage of having professional service within means.
mastering, is a mixture of art and science.