Mastering: The Final Frontier (1)

The Music Telegraph | Text 2019/09/04 [10:46]

Mastering: The Final Frontier (1)

The Music Telegraph| 입력 : 2019/09/04 [10:46]


▲ Izotope Ozone (Audio Mastering software)

© Izotope, Inc


Mastering: The Final Frontier (1)



Mastering a final mix means to maximize the audio of the mix and prepare it for duplication on CD. Several steps are involved in this process. These steps change depending on the situation. The mastering process can be applied during the mixing session or after the mix has been bounced to disk. In the first case you apply the mastering effects as inserts on the Master fader, while in the second case you apply the mastering effects on the stereo mix that was bounced previously.



The Process

Steps involved in the mastering process:


- Normalization

- Compression / Multi-band compression

- Equalization

- Limiting

- Re-balancing of the Stereo Image (this step is not always needed)


Make sure you are familiar with these terms and what they do.  





If you normalized the individual tracks during the mixing session, you will not need to normalize again. If not, you will need to normalize each tracks when you are working on a bounced stereo file. 




Compression is a crucial stage of the mastering process. Depending on the plug-ins, multi-band compression is preferred to one-band compression because it allows for a greater level of precision. With multi-band compression you can set up the compression parameters (Threshold, Ratio, Attack, Decay) for separate frequencies. If multi-band compression is not available, a regular stereo compressor will do the trick, though not with as much accuracy. Meanwhile, Stereo compression settings can change drastically depending on the type of music you are dealing with. There is no such a thing as "The perfect settings for every situation". Let your ears and instincts guide you through this crucial stage. When satisfied, move on to Equalization. 




The equalization of the mix helps to retouch the global perception of the audio frequencies of the material. You can improve an already very good mix by focusing on the global effect that all the instruments communicate to the listener and equalization can help you do that. 




A limiter is basically a compressor with a high Ratio (generally greater than 10:1). Inserting a limiter on the Master fader will help to boost the overall volume of the stereo mix without going into overload distortion. There are some very sophisticated hardware and software limiters that allow you to set up parameters such as "Look-ahead" and individual Gain for the Left and Right channels. More basic limiters are based on the same setting you would find in a compressor but with a fixed Ratio, usually set to its maximum level as default. 






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