Your audio journey – Part 38 – Mastering

In Part 38 it’s mastering that we’re looking at. Everyone will have heard of mastering but may not understand it. Look in your CD or mp3 collection and I bet you’ll have a re-mastered album in there.

Mastering is adding the final production to your audio. The main work should be done in the mix and then think of mastering as adding a final polish to your audio.

Most audio producers will tell you mastering should be the absolute last phase of your production but I go against that theory. In the case of a voiceover with a music background I would split the mastering into two parts.

In Audition mastering comes with different settings.

Reverb, Exciter, Widener, Loudness Maximiser, Output Gain.

Reverb is quite self explanatory, exciter is upping the high end frequencies to give a crisp sound, widener is an effect that makes stereo effects appear wider, loudness maximiser is a powerful compressor and output gain is to either add or subtract volume from the final mix.

As suggested in the video I would happily use parts of the mastering tool in the mix before completing the mix. If you’re mixing music with voice remember the music will already have been mastered so you can happily add reverb, exciter and widener in the mix to just the vocal track. When the mix is then finalised and mixed down you can complete mastering by adding the widener again, and the loudness maximiser and output gain.

One word of warning, as I said in the compression parts don’t overdo the compression, well the same applies here with the loudness maximiser. Don’t forget your production will probably go through processing if it’s for radio or television so leave room in your final mix for that processing.