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The term Mastering is either completely misunderstood or shrouded in mystery, but the process is really pretty simple. Technically speaking, mastering is the intermediate step between mixing the audio and preparing it to be replicated or distributed. But it's really much more than that. Mastering is a process of turning a collection of songs into a record by making them sound like they belong together, in terms of tone, volume, and timing, which means the spacing between songs in an album. Here's what mastering is not. It's not a plug-in that you run music through, and it automatically comes out mastered.
It's more of an art form that mostly relies on an individuals' skill, experience with various genres of music, and good taste. Just to be sure that we are clear on what you are trying to accomplish by mastering, you are trying to raise the level of the song so that they are competitive with others on the market. Make a group of songs all sound the same in relative level and tonal quality. Finish them by editing out count-offs and glitches, fixing fades, adding PQ and ISRC codes and creating spreads for CDs and vinyl records.
Mastering is a simple process, but like most simple processes, it's a lot more involved than it first seems, once you really get into it. As long as you know all the things that go into the mastering process, you can make your song sound as finished and complete as others on the market. That's exactly what we will be covering throughout the rest of this course.
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