Chapter Twelve

Mastering

Whenever we visit a home studio, or host a Q&A session somewhere, one question that comes up on a very regular basis is, “what does ‘mastering’ actually do?” The perception of mastering in music production and delivery has actually changed quite significantly over the last couple of decades, and the job itself has evolved with the way music is distributed and the public’s adoption of new ways of listening.

Back when vinyl ruled the earth, the job of the mastering engineer involved equalising tracks recorded at different times to make them sound as though they belonged on the same album, sort out the optimum running order and gaps between tracks, and get the resulting master transferred onto the lacquer. While the first ...

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