Do I Need To Go To School To Become An Audio Mastering Engineer?
Written by John Rogers
Do you need to go to school (college) to become an audio mastering engineer? The short answer is definitely "NO!"I never went to school, and I'll go head to head with any of the top audio mastering engineers in the world!
I don't have exact data on this, but I would say most audio mastering engineers do not have a college degree. The ones I know, most of them don't.And I know a lot of them.
And when I say school, I'm talking about a bachelor's degree from a major university.This is not a requirement.
But, you do need training. Books, videos, a 6 month to a year audio engineer trade school or course, and then either a hands on apprenticeship at a local studio, or even working at your own home studio using all the techniques you've learned.You have to put the time in and hone your craft.
How To Become A Great Mastering Engineer!
You become a great mastering engineer by learning the craft, practicing, and becoming great at audio mastering. This may sound like a silly answer, but these are the steps everyone takes.
The "learning the craft" part is where you have many options. You can go to a university, to an audio engineer trade school, take an online course, you could even learn from videos and books.
Of course, the best place to start is with my audio mastering book. 17 years of information wrapped up into 180 pages! You can read it here - Best Song Mastering Book.
The Music Production Secrets Series by John Rogers
Would you like to know how to master a song or how to master your own music? So many people think just making the volumes the same level for every song is "mastering" their CD. Well, mastering is a lot more than just that!
I started my career using the old analog stuff, since that was the only option.I incorporated digital software plugins as soon as they became available, but it took many years before computers were fast enough to run them in realtime.And also before they started making very high quality plugins.
Since the begining of his solo career in 2008, I mastered over 80 songs with the top French recording artist NYLS. Great pop dance music with a lot of remixes. During his entire career (as of now), I mastered most of if not all the song he released. It was a great pleasure working with NYLS and Nico at Icon Records!
I had to write a quick note on this, as I was reminded about it while thumbing through a popular mixing book that had a 15 page section on speaker resonance and room sound proofing.I must say, a very exciting 15 pages!Ha!
I would say YES, most people can become a great mastering engineer. I say this because most of the mixes I receive from clients are pretty good and I know the audio engineer (the band member with a computer) has only minimal training.He could easily be great if he put a little more study and practice time into it.And if he had this book to teach him what took me over 17 years to learn!Ha!
Here are a few great stereo widening techniques and how to use them in music. When you listen to music on a car radio, you want that wide stereo sound that extends from the left door to the right. Not just two feet wide right above the stereo!
This article discusses what is the chorus effect in music and how to use it? The chorus effect makes a single audio track sound like a group. It achieves this by taking a single instrument or vocal track, multiplying it, and then slightly detunes each newly created track. The result is a fuller lush sounding audio track.
So, what is the best room size for audio mastering in your DAW home recording studio? Technically, you can properly mix or master in any room size.But, I believe a smaller room is better than a very large one for someone who's just starting out. And when I say smaller I mean closer to 12'x15' than to 20'x30'.I've mixed and mastered songs for a number of years in a 20'x30' room.It took me a few days to get used to it, but after that I could do it.
Here are the series of audio mastering software processors I've used on the over 30,000 songs I've mastered since 1999. In this video, I use mostly izotope ozone plugins because it's easier to explain using them. In real-life, I do mix in a few hardware pieces, and a waves plugin.
Learning and calibrating your speakers for your DAW in audio mastering is a very important step in the audio mastering process. When I first start out with NEW speakers (though I never change them now), I listen to my favorite hit songs in every genre and style.Songs that I know from my years of experience have X amount of bass, X amount of brightness, etc.I know how these songs are "supposed" to sound.