What is audio mixing and mastering? Learn what the difference is between mixing and mastering audio and how you can leverage these skills.
What is Audio Mastering?
Audio mastering is the bridge between your artistic vision and a world of listeners. It is the final step in the post-production process to get your music to a level that competes with everything out there.
The post-production process involves signal processing with equalization, compression, saturation, stereo enhancement, limiting, audio restoration, and other final touches.
The goal of mastering music is to give your music a balanced, cohesive, uniform, professional, and ready for commercial release sound. Mastering also ensures playback optimization across various speaker systems and media formats.
Currently, there are various streaming platforms, media formats, devices and speaker systems used to play music, audio mastering will allow you to finalize your production to have uninterrupted quality over all of these devices.
Have you ever heard an international artist have inconsistent track volume levels, or have you ever had to turn up the volume between one track and another? No? That is because the master engineer of these productions knew what he was doing.
Audio Mastering Skills:
- Sound quality improvement for the best listening experience
- Reduction or emphasizing of frequencies for sound balance
- Solve phase issues and frequency imbalances
- Ensure quality translation of sound on various playback systems
- Manage ranges, spikes and loudness
- Remove background noise
- Enhance stereo sound for a balance and dimension
- Create cross-fades and/or fades
- Arrange songs in a final sequence for release
What is Audio Mixing?
Audio mixing is the process of combining multiple audio layers to create a final track. This process ensures that all elements sound well together.
Audio mixing involves the process of balancing track levels, panning individual instruments, equalizing and compressing sounds, applying automation, enhancing harmonies, correcting phase issues and improving sound clarity.
The audio mixing engineer needs to create a cohesive mix as a stereo track file that the mastering engineer can use to optimize for release.
As we now understand, the process of mixing and mastering a track is integrated. One can not go without the other. In a world of evolving technologies and an increase of competitors, it is encouraged to improve your skills. You might already be creating great sounding mixes, but strengthening your mastering skills will empower you to add the final polish to a great sounding track.