Too many times a mixing engineer won't understand the role of mastering yet advertises their services to master music. There are amazing engineers out their who can mix and master music but a select few can do both properly.
An amateur engineer may attempt to “master” a track in detrimental ways. The result in this case is often a mix that sounds worse than your original work. This shouldn't scare you away from mastering. However, you should make sure you exercise caution when hiring someone.
At its core a mastering engineer is someone with a wealth of experience in the industry. They have amazing ears and within the first listen will have a strong idea of what your music needs.
Always remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to mastering music. Don’t always believe someone if they say they’re a mastering engineer either. Ask to hear their portfolio and look for mastering engineers who’ve worked with notable acts and musicians in your genre.
Where To Master Your Music and Where Not To
7. What Not To Do
As already mentioned, it’s recommended that you stay away from online services that advertise automatic mastering. You upload your track to these sites and a computer tries its best to mimic the mastering process.
Mastering however relies on what the engineer hears more than anything else. A computer may be able to look at things like dynamics and frequency content. However, it has no sense of things like groove, emotion and feel.
Because of this your tracks will end up sounding flat, lifeless and worse off if mastered by a computer. The same goes with mastering plugins that act in exactly the same way.
You also want to avoid those charging hardly anything for their mastering services. Those $5/track deals seem tempting at first. However, the price translates into a lack of experience and effort put into your music.
If you go this route you’ll receive a less than satisfying master and end up spending more for revisions to improve it.
Get a Professional
So, where should you go? The first option is to find a reputable local source you can work with. Talk to some of your local studios or speak to other respectable artists in your genre. Find out where they master their music and approach the same engineers.
The second option is to find a reputable mastering engineer online. It can be difficult to sift through the mass amounts of people claiming to be mastering engineers but Sundown Sessions has you covered!
Our online recording studio connects independent artists to many of the industries top mastering and mixing engineers. We offer quality mixing and mastering at a competitive rate. Our engineers are the best around, having worked on more Grammy and award winning albums than we can count!
Mastering music goes beyond simply compressing a track and adding a bit of EQ. It’s the last stage of the music process and therefore the most important to get right.
The mastering engineer acts as a second set of highly trained ears that can catch mistakes in your mix, create a cohesive listening experience and bring your audio up to broadcast standards.
Stay away from cheap or computer generated, automatic services. Instead hire a professional mastering engineer with a wealth of experience in the industry. This gives your music a professional edge necessary to stand out and take your music career to the next level.
If you enjoyed this article be sure to check out the rest of the Sundown Sessions Blog for more tips and tricks of home recording and mixing music.