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Mastering audio is the final stage in music production, where the final set of mixed songs are turned into a cohesive album through a variety of processes that make the music sound the best it can, wherever it's played. Join author and producer Bobby Owsinski in this course, as he teaches essential mastering concepts and techniques used by experienced audio engineers. Follow along as he works at Oasis Mastering, a real-world mastering facility, and learn how to apply these techniques to your home or studio setup and make your projects sound better than ever.
First, discover how to configure your monitoring setup, optimize your listening environment, and prepare and print alternative mixes that will allow you to make quick fixes during mastering. Bobby then reviews a selection of dedicated mastering tools that give you precise control over select signal parameters, from compressors to de-essers. He'll discuss the differences between mastering for CD, online distribution, and specifically for iTunes, and how to achieve the best results for each medium. The course wraps with lessons on mastering for high-resolution formats like Blu-ray, as well as delivering and archiving the master recording once the project is complete.
Setting the Stereo Imaging of a mix is an important function of mastering, giving the mastering engineer complete control over how wide or narrow the sound field will be. Let's take a look at how this works, in this case we're going to use a Waves S1 Stereo Imager, and it does a number of different things to the sound field. Let's first of all look at the Width Control right over here, have a listen. (music playing) And what you heard there is the Stereo Image getting wider and then narrow to almost Mono and then Wide again.
And if you listen to the Hi-Hat you can hear it going way out to the side, and sometimes that's what we want to do in a mix, we just want to make it a little bit wider than the way it's been mixed, and this is a way to do it. Now there some of the controls here, Rotation for instance, and this is a glorified Pan Control. (music playing) Asymmetry is basically the same thing, it's another form of Pan Control.
(music playing) It's very subtle, it's mostly the Reverb here that's moving. Almost everything we do in a normal mastering session has to do the Width Control, which will widen or narrow the sound field. But occasionally, there's something that's leaning left or right, and that's when we use a Rotation or Asymmetry Controls. Now there's another tool that we can use, it's very similar.
This one is called CENTER, and what this is doing is actually affecting the center of the Stereo Image and also the SIDES. Have a listen. (music playing) Now what it did there is it moved the SIDES back into the middle and then as we moved it up to +6, it actually expanded them, so in another words, we did pretty much what the other Plug-in did, as we expanded the Stereo field where we narrowed it.
This also has a neat future, and it has a CENTER Control, watch what happens. (music playing) What this does is it uses some phasing tricks in order to get rid of the CENTER of the stereo sound field, this is almost a Karaoke mode, if you will, where just about everything leaves except for the Reverb, and you hear that off to the side and the reason why you hear that is because the Reverb was actually mixed in stereo and the stereo was panned wide, that's why you hear it that way.
But sometimes what you need is a very strong CENTER that you don't have, and this is a way to get it. (music playing) So we can actually emphasize the CENTER if we want. So in the end Stereo Imaging isn't a tool that's often used during mastering, but it's a great effect when you really need it.
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