In order to produce a good master, a mix needs proper headroom and dynamic range.
WHAT IS HEADROOM? Headroom is the distance between an audio tracks peak level (when the meter is at its highest) and 0 level on the output meter.
As a song plays, the output meter on the stereo/main out bounces up and down with the music.You can see how high (loud) an audio track peaks by looking at this meter.Anything peaking over 0 level usually means distortion, so at all costs stay below 0 level.
How far is your peak loudness below 0 level?That's the simple definition of what headroom is.So, if your meter is peaking -3dbs below 0 level, you have 3dbs of headroom.If your meter is peaking right at 0 level, you have NO headroom.
Note - +3dbs to +6dbs of headroom is the standard recommended amount, but many times a song with more or a little less headroom can still be mastered with no problems.Although it really makes no sense to give a mastering engineer a mix with 0dbs of headroom and risk the chance that it's slightly distorted.There's no reason to do it because overall song volume is done in the mastering process, not in mixing.
WHAT IS DYNAMIC RANGE? As a song plays, the output meter constantly goes up and down.
Dynamic rangeis the area between the peak level (when the meter is up) and the low level (when the meter is down). Roughly, 3dbs to 6dbs of movement between the high and low meter level is a typical amount of dynamic range, but this does depend on the genre of music.
Note - One problem you want to watch out for (if you're mixing your own music) is dynamic range between song sections.You don't want a +10db or more difference between the verses and choruses.This creates a mastering problem because the verses will never be loud enough compared to the rest of the song.Roughly a 6db difference is as high as you want to go. Read more....
The Music Production Secrets Series by John Rogers
Why do songs need to be mastered? I've seen this question on the Internet many times.The answer I always see is "Because all songs on the radio have been professionally mastered, yours should be too."This is a true fact, but not an answer.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Millions of people suffer from tinnitus. A new study shows around 10% of the U.S. population suffers from it in some form, but many have never even heard of it until they get it! Unfortunately, I was one of those people. It can happen quickly and it lasts a lifetime...
What does mastering do to a song? Your main goal in audio mastering is to replicate the sonic qualities of a well professionally mastered commercial song, in the same genre and style as the song mix you are working on.
This article discusses what is the reverb effect in music and how to use it?The reverb effect is used to simulate space. When reverb is applied to a dry vocal or instrument track, it will sound like it was recorded live in the space size that was selected on the processor. Common space size options include a small room, vocal plate, large hall, etc.