What is Mastering?
What is Mastering? It is the polish that completes a song and gets it ready for distribution. This means it prepares music for listening platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Mastering gives a uniform sound to an album, genre, and artist. This removes the final problems on the tracks.
What is mixing?
Mixing is the process of combining the instruments and/ or vocals of a song. Beginners might attempt to do both at the same time. I myself am guilty of this. Before, I used mix and master the music on the same file as the original MIDI mix and everything. However, mixing focuses on blending different tracks with reverb, delay, and different plugins. Then you master the tracked out mixes for a polished uniform sound. You can read more about mixing here.
How to master a song?
If you have ever mixed a song, you know how many plugins, groups, and subgroups go into creating the perfect mix. It is best to leave mastering simple and effective. At most, you might need four, maybe five plugins. A nice set to use is an EQ, a compressor, and limiter.
So which order should you layer your plugins? This question has as many answers as DAWs have plugins.
It’s best to limit the song to a good level. Limiting the song will give you the most audio to work with for compression and dynamics. You should aim for as much audio as possible, without distorting the signal.
You should focus on the range with the most instrumentation for dynamics. Dynamics include separation of frequencies, db levels, and compression. When mastering, you should keep in mind that each track is different and should be analyzed differently.
Equalizing out the heavy frequencies after compressing dynamics is the final step. However, EQs should not be too strong. Subtle EQ is best to keep most of the musicality there.
Mastering comes different for every song. Mainly because no mix is ever the same