Understanding Mastering Process
What is mastering?
To put it simply, it's the final polish on your music before you showcase it to the world. The Lab Mastering Room offers Hi-End services for audio CD’s, digital streams, stem mastering, re-mastering and audio restoration. Experience the clarity that professional mastering brings out in your music with an effective combination of knowledge and state-of-the- art equipment.
Mastering is a mysterious necessity. Here are answers to some common questions:
What really happens during mastering?
What can I expect from it?
Why do I need a mastering engineer?
Can’t I just master my own project?
Let’s start at the beginning...
Mastering, in essence, is the last step of the artistic process, and the first step of the manufacturing or digital delivery stage. Like every step in the recording process, mastering incorporates both art and science.
Mastering engineers create a cohesive body of work from a collection of songs. Creating that “packaged” sound requires a clear understanding of the artist’s goals.
The songs on any given album were recorded and mixed over a period of time—and often, in different studios and with different engineers along the way. This process often introduces sonic variety from song to song.
Mastering is a Zen-like process, let’s break down the stages for a minute.
Recording engineers make choices about capturing individual sounds—from choosing the correct mics and mic placement to configuring gain structure, signal flow, etc. The mixing engineer’s job is to balance recorded elements and create the presentation that the artist or producer envisions. Mastering is all about translatability and presentation of this completed body of work. In other words, the mastering engineer makes sure the meal is presentable to the diner: the proper portions (EQ) in proper places. The right timing (pacing and fades) and temperature (dynamics). The final phase of quality control between creation and consumption—here, between the artist and the listener.
Remember that in mastering, we only have two channels to work with. We cannot change the mix; we can only change the perception of the mix—shifting the focus, perhaps, using EQ to get rid of problem frequencies while adding others that may be lacking. In mastering, compression is a way of bringing the mix forward a bit, or to glue the instruments together a bit more. At this stage, these are finishing tools, not construction tools. If someone is recording and says, “let’s just capture it; we will fix it in the mix,” they are already starting on the wrong foot. The same goes for mastering. If mixing engineers say, “let’s fix it in mastering,” they are passing the buck and not doing their job.
We believe mastering is an art form, and should be approached as such. Since mastering is about the presentation, it is subjective, yet still requires an objective perspective of the music. There are as many opinions about how mastering is needed and used as there are engineers. Music is art. And art is not a competition; it’s an expression. When clients leave at the end of the day , they have a representation in their hand of all their hard work. all of the time and money spent, all of the emotions and hardships they went through to make their record, We want them to be proud of their body of work. We want their fans to be able to listen into the music. We want them to be drawn into what the artist has to say. We are honored to be entrusted with an artists creation. Our job is to help artists fine tune their self expression and have a great product that connects them to their fans and we love it !