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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.
Most of the time, music intended for television is delivered to the post-production facility unmastered, or it's mixed in against the video. The video editor then determines the correct level against the effects and dialog, just like with film. But on the rare occasion when the television audio is coming from the mastering engineer, the first thing you need to do is obtain a technical specification from the engineering department of the network it's going to be shown on. This will tell you exactly what they want and how they want it. Among the types of things that the network spec will contain is all the video requirements, as well as all the audio requirements.
Read and follow these carefully, or else you'll end up redoing the project to their liking. Here is what to watch for, the operating level for a reference tone, how long they want the tone, and if laid back to tape, where on the tape it begins. The operating level will usually be at -20dB full scale, but sometimes it might be -18 or -16, so check this closely. The acceptable audio quality in terms of distortion and noise, the phase. Make sure you listen to mono, because they will. Audio/video synchronization or lip-synching.
Being out of sync by more than a frame might not be acceptable, the desired audio track assignment on a delivery media. Remember that the standard audio resolution for television is 48kHz/24-bit. Of all the above, the peak audio levels are the most important and are usually stated like this. Programs must have audio levels that regularly peak near but not above -10dBFS using a Peak Reading Meter. This means any peak that goes just a tick beyond -10 will be kicked back for you to redo.
Television networks are very strict with their specs and a violation will result in the project being kicked back for you to do it again. So on those rare times that you're asked for television delivery, paying close attention to all the details will pay off and a lot less hassle.
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