Chapter 19

Mastering Your Final Track


check Enhancing the mix with EQ

check Controlling dynamics with compression

check Reaching competitive loudness with limiting

check Using audio references to improve your mix

After a track has been mixed, a mastering stage puts the final polish on the track. The level is matched to reference levels, and if needed, EQ and dynamics processing is applied. In the case of an album project, the mastering stage can include making global refinements and song sequencing and cataloging.

For professional situations, the best practice is to hire someone to master your track. Someone with a fresh set of ears and nothing but the best equipment can raise the level of your mix and turn it into a golden master. Sometimes, just sending a signal through a high-end compressor or EQ can improve the sound. Other times, a mastering engineer will need to adjust the sound to compensate for a poorly tuned room. If the project warrants it, let go and let your work be improved.

However, not all projects need outside mastering. Sometimes it’s not practical to pay for a mastering ...

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