1. Computing

Mastering

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Definition: The process after mixing which recordings are taken into a 2-track editor, fades are applied to the beginning and end, and the engineer begins to use several tools to improve the overall quality of the mix. Usually an engineer will run the mix through a compressor, equalize the frequencies in the recording, and sometimes use other more specific devices for a variety of problems that can occur. In general, mastering is done to produce a master recording that is loud (as the "commercial" sound is very loud and able to be heard easily on smaller, lower quality speakers) and balanced.

Mastering can be done two ways: in an analog environment, or a digital environment. While analog is generally considered the best quality method for mastering, many home studios are confined to using digital software for the task because of limited budgets. Popular software programs include the Waves L1+Maximizer and the Bias Peak software package.

Audio mastering can be expensive; be very cautious when using a low-priced per-song mastering service. Always request an equipment list and references. A lot of low-priced services offer simple services that can be done at home using normalizing and compressor plug-ins, and the side-by-side comparison of original material versus the mastered material shows little improvement.

Also Known As: Audio Sweetening
Examples:
We just got done mixing the album, and it's now in the mastering phase.

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