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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.
One unique aspect of Mastered for iTunes is something that's not been publicized called Test Pressing. To all artists, labels, and mastering engineers in the Mastered for iTunes program, iTunes will send the AAC file back via a time link to check before it's posted. The mastering engineer is then able to either audition the file with a quick listen or do a Null Test in the Digital Audio Workstation, In order to the Null Test, the Test Pressing is dropped into the Audio to WAVE Droplet. And both the original Source file and the new WAVE file are imported into the DAW.
One of the WAVE files is inverted out of phase by using an Invert tool. When both files are played at the same time, they should cancel each other out and result in no audio output. Any audio output after a Null Test means that a different master might have been sent to iTunes to encode. Once a Test Pressing is signed off on, the song then goes on sale in the iTunes Store. This has been found to be a great tool, not so much for catching bad encodes, but for finding more egregious errors, like the wrong master or even entirely wrong songs being submitted.
Hopefully, the Test Pressing feature will be used more and more in the future. Mastered for iTunes is a great reason to record your mix at high-resolution, and Apple has provided the tools to help you make sure that your songs sound better than ever when they are posted to the iTunes Store. Best of all, your fans will love what they hear.
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