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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.
The way the various processors are inserted in the signal path can make a big difference in the sound of the final product. Here are a couple of different possibilities. The Compressor will give you the apparent level and is equally as important as the Limiter to the mastering process. If you want a master like the pros you must use both. Although the Equalizer might change position from after the Compressor to before, the usual signal chain looks like what you see here. An Equalizer placed before the compressor will cause the compressor to act on any frequencies that are boosted first.
This might not be the sound you are looking for, and that's why you might want to place the EQ after the Compressor instead. A Limiter is always the last in the signal chain, no matter how many of the devices you add and in which order, because it add any additional level and stops any overs from happening. Some mastering engineers also use a separate side signal path known as a Side Chain. This is used in order to gain even greater control or to make sure that no one processor is driven too hard. The signal path is critical to mastering success, whether it's a simple three processor chain or something much more complex, be sure that Limiter is the last processor in the path.
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