Chapter 4

Fundamental Mastering Tools and The Primary Colors of Mastering

I’ve reviewed how an effective mastering studio represents a symbiotic component of the entire mastering system. Next, we will focus on the equipment used to make the tonal or surgical adjustments and sonic enhancements. These include the following five fundamental tools for audio adjustments: analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters (AD/DAs), equalizers (EQs), compressors/limiters, expanders, brickwall limiters (BWLs), and digital audio workstations (DAWs). I refer to three items on this list—EQs, compressors and BWLs—as The Primary Colors of Mastering due to their seminal importance in audio mastering. In this chapter, I will review the function and desirable ...

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