What is meant by the term ‘mastering?’ Audio mastering, in relation to music production, is the process whereby recorded audio is prepared and transferred to a medium for duplication in the future.
Typically, the mastering process begins by loading recorded audio tracks into a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) where audio problems such as tonal balance and volume level are corrected. During mastering, noise reduction is applied as well as equalization and normalization of audio volume levels; and recordings are compressed to balance out audio frequency peaks. Bandwidth, in the mastering process, may also be filtered to meet broadcasting needs, too. Then, the recorded audio is sequenced and transferred to a finalized master product.
Overall, a mix is presented for mastering to balance vocals and music. Once the mastering process has been completed by recording studio engineers, the final product is often more clear and detailed; allowing for recordings to perfectly play on an array of music systems including in cars, boom boxes, iPods and home stereos.
Mastering mediums used vary, but are often the master copy. Formerly, mastering often occurred by transferring audio recordings from magnetic tape to a phonograph lathe in order to produce vinyl records; however, during the early 1980s, and the innovative compact disc, mastering was done via digital encoder and recording devices.
A few well known, expert mastering engineers include the likes of Steve Hall, Bob Katz and Greg Forsberg.
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