Why Professional Audio Mastering is Important for Musicians, Bands, Artists and Labels
Updated: Feb 11
A good song mastering is an important key to success for every musician, band, artist, producer or label, simply for everyone, who wants to get sound-wise the most out of his musical recordings.
Mastering is final processing of an audio project before it's been sent off for replication or digital distribution. It's necessary to finalize any audio project professionally. The process itself brings a quality boost for every production. It makes no difference, whether a recording was done in a high-end or a budget recording studio - or even at home. Mastering adds the final touches to the audio, adding clarity, transparency, depth and detail to a track. The process alters the dynamics, the frequency spectrum and the stereo field in a very musical way. After a professional mastering studio session, the music will have that 'major label' feel, all artists are aiming for. The audio will sound more balanced, more 'commercial', as the tracks gain punch, impact and perceived loudness.
Why should audio mastering done by a professional mastering service, not at home or in the recording studio?
While recording and mixing a track, even the best and most professional engineers can get used to a certain sound and with it, to a couple of sonic 'problems' hidden in the mix. Listening to the same songs again and again, can lead to little mixing mistakes, you are simply not aware of anymore. This is why mastering is of such importance for a music production: In a professional mastering studio, an experienced audio engineer with well-trained ears will carefully evaluate his clients' material under optimized listening conditions with fresh ears. The mastering engineer listens to the music in an acoustically treated room, using a high-end monitoring system and best signal converters, so he will instantly be able to locate and fix those mixing mistakes and even more: The engineer will use the latest and best digital mastering tools coupled with finest analog outboard gear to apply precise processing a track, in order to balance the sound and alter it in a very musical way. After all sonic adjustments are done, the mastering engineer will also create the required production parts, e.g. the master PMCD (PreMaster CD), which will be the original, used by the pressing plants for replication.
Traditional mastering facilities vs. online mastering studios
Traditionally, mastering studios offer client-attended sessions, with the customers sitting next to the engineer, watching the mastering process. Now, with the internet giving musicians and producers the possibility to work with every studio, located everywhere in the world, artists have a lot more options to search and find a mastering facility that perfectly suit their needs. Browsing the web, you will discover a variety of companies providing so-called online mastering or mastering services. In comparison to a conventional client-attended attended session, an online mastering studio communicates and exchanges all audio project files with their customers online. The final masters will often be delivered via digital download as well. That means, an artist from Greece can get his music processed by a studio in San Francisco, for example.
The advantages of audio mastering online
People, who are looking for a pro for finalization of their musical productions should consider to test one (or more) of those internet mastering studios, that offer their services online. There are a couple of advantages for the customer, for example, access to professional studios from anywhere in the world, usually faster turnaround times (compared to a traditional mastering studio session) as well as cheaper rates (many services offer fairly calculated flat rates per track). A problem remains. Searching the web, you will discover dozens of professional mastering companies, offering web based mastering studio services. How do you find a company, that delivers the exceptional sonic results, you're aiming for? A good idea is to check first, whether an emastering service offers a try-before-buy demo mastering of one of your own tracks. It's always better to judge a companies' work, based on your own music, instead of simply listening to audio samples on the website. A mastering demo instead gives you a correct idea of the sonic benefits that you can expect from a professional audio mastering - before making any payments.