How To Prepare Your Music For Mastering

Waveform that was recorded too loud and has distortion

Waveform that was recorded too loud and has distortion

Digital waveform ready for Mastering

Just what is Mastering?  I get this question all the time. Mastering is a vital part of the recording process. It’s basically the process of preparing the final mix of the  recording into the (Master) which is   the source from which all copies will be produced (via methods such as pressing, duplication or replication).  Do I really need Mastering?   What I tell my clients is that if they are still working on a project and have more songs to add, or if they are just going to send the songs off for copyright, then hold off on this right for now. But if they are going to realease the songs for sale and publication, then you want your music to be heard in all it’s glory!  If you are only going to release a single then you want to master that one song. If you are going to release and entire album, then you should wait untill the album is finished because an important part of the mastering process is to maintain the consistancy and flow across the whole album. A mastering engineer can do a better job if he or she are given all the pieces of the puzzle (songs) so they know what they are working with up front and not just a song here and there. The exceptions are when an artist just wants to release a single and doesn’t have a whole album ready. You still want to master that one song.

The job of a Mastering engineer, is to enhance the music that has already been recorded and mixed  to elevate the quality of the recording to prepare the music for distribution. Some Mastering engineers choose to use vintage analog equipment, digital software plug-ins, or sometimes a combination of both. They use their ears and knowledge to identify what is needed in a specific circumstance and employ specialized tools that are designed to be able to specifically target any problem areas and correct them. When you employ a mastering engineer you are not just buying the use of a special piece of equipment they own, but also their trained ears and experience they have garnered over the years.

-Eliot Slaughter  (Slaughter Sound Music)


                    Mastering breakdown and how to prepare your songs for Mastering

    •    Get The Best Mix Possible of Your Songs
    •    Make Sure Your Songs Are Not Distorting.
    •    Keep The Volume Levels Moderate – Let The Mastering Engineer Bring Them Up!
    •    Do Not Add Any Compression On The Master Bus Fader
    •    Road Test Your Mixes – Check Them Out In Your Car or Phone and different systems
    •    Do Not Attempt To (Pre-Master) The Songs Yourself – you don’t want any distortion




About The Author


Eliot Slaughter is a Musician who started on piano and developed a passion to record and produce music. A Berklee College of Music Graduate, he has used his musical background and knowledge when he is composing, producing and recording music in his Midwest based recording studio.

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