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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.
It's interesting to note that just about all of the major record labels and most of the larger Indie labels still choose to master all of their projects with a major mastering house, even though extensive mastering resources are widely available to just about any engineer. Since you are watching this course to learn many of the tricks of pro-mastering engineers, let's look at some of the differences between the product that you might get from a mastering pro and what you might get from mastering at home. If we really break it down, a mastering pro usually has three things over what you do at home. A real pro-mastering house has many things available that you probably won't find in the simple home or small studio digital audio workstation room, such as high-end analog to digital, and digital to analog converters, a great sounding listening environment, and exceptional monitoring system.
The monitoring system of these facilities some times cost far more than many entire home studios. Cost isn't the point here, but quality is. The commonly used near field monitors that most recording studios use, rarely allow you to hear what you need to in order to make the adjustments that you need to make while mastering. The vast majority of monitors in the rooms in which they reside are just not precise enough. The mastering engineer is the real key to the process. This is all he does day-in and day-out.
He has what audio pros call big ears, because he masters at least 8 hours every day and knows his monitors the way you know your favorite pair of sneakers. Plus, his reference point of what constitutes a good sounding mix is finely honed, thanks to working hours and hours on the best and worse sounding mixes of each genre of music. I don't know who said it, but this phrase rings true. The difference between a pro and an amateur is that a pro always has a backup. That's good advice for any part of recording, but especially for mastering. You wouldn't believe the number of times masters get lost.
This is the one thing that you can do just as well as a pro with no trouble at all. Now you know some of the advantages of using a mastering pro, but by following the tips outlined in this course, you can get your masters into the same ballpark. By doing the mastering yourself, you can save a ton of money and get your product out faster. And if you decide that your project warrants an A-list pro, this course will show you how to get the most out of that too.
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