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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.
Probably the one area that gets overlooked in most home studios is the listening environment, but it's important because the better your room sounds the more accurate the audio from your monitors will be. While it's easy to spend a lot of money trying to improve your listening area here are a few no-cost tips that can really make a difference. Avoid placing speakers up against the wall. The further away you get from the wall the smoother the monitor speaker response will be especially in the low end. Avoid the corners of the room. A corner reinforces the low-end even more than when placed against a wall.
The worst case is if only one speaker is in the corner, which will cause the low end response of your system to be lopsided. Avoid being closer to one wall of the room than the other. If one speaker is closer to a side wall then the other, you'll get a totally different frequency response between the two, because the reflections from the near wall are different from the other side. It's best to set up directly in the center of the room if possible, avoid different types of wall absorption. If one side of the room uses the wall material that's soft and absorbent, while the other side is hard and reflective, you'll have an unbalanced stereo image, because one side will be brighter than the other.
Try to make the walls of each side of the speakers the same in terms of absorption quality. If your studio is in a room, in a house or office where you can't spend any money on acoustic treatment just following these points can make a big difference in your sound without spending a dime. For more information about improving your room acoustics, check out the room acoustics movies in the Audio Mixing Bootcamp course.
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