Mastering is the final refinement that helps to provide the best sound that a finished recording can have. Good mastering can perfectly create well-engineered recording sounds on the radio and audiophile systems. Mastering also helps restore and present very old recordings with the best possible visuals.
In the business of creating sound recordings for release, mastering is the final creative stage of the production process and the first stage of commercial product manufacturing. What entering into the mastering room is a mix that is completed in the recording studio.
Commercial formats from vinyl records to compact discs, DVD-A and mp3 have inherent qualities. To successfully transfer from studio tape to release format, the mastering engineer needs to know the limitations of the target format, the nature and nuances of the music, and the market in which the finished product will compete. Despite the great deal of compromise between the fantasy world of recording studios and the manufacturing requirements, a good mastering engineer will try to find all the ways to improve the quality of the recordings they can work with.
Every mastering session begins by playing back the mix you want to master, so the type selection used for the mixdown determines how the mastering session starts and proceeds. There are three basic steps in process of mastering session: First, you play back a studio recording and decide on the best way to transfer it to your hard disk system. Step two is to do all the sequencing, editing, fading, etc. to make the finished album. All this work is done using Digital Audio Workstation (eg. Logic Pro, Pro Tools, etc.). The third step is called "rundown", a term that continues from the vinyl days. The edited hi-res (high-resolution) file is played through the digital console.
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