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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 Mastered for iTunes Droplet is a stand-alone drag and drop tool that's a quick and easy way to encode your masters to the AAC format that iTunes uses. You can find it in your Applications/Utilities folder after the iTunes Mastering Tools have been installed. But I have put it on the Desktop for easy access. All you have to do is drag and drop the source audio file or a folder containing source files onto the droplet. Most of the time these will be either AIFF or WAVE files. Utility will create a temporary core audio file in the same folder as your source file.
When the file is finally converted to AAC, the core audio temp file is automatically deleted. You won't see a Progress Bar while conversion is taking place, and it may take a few moments. The Droplet then gives you a prompt when the process is completed. The new file will have a M4A file extension, which means it's an AAC file. Keep in mind that regardless of the sample rate, the Droplet will automatically convert the file to 44.1 kilohertz. Once again, the only reason that you'll be converting your song files to the AAC file format is to hear what the file will actually sound like after it's posted on the iTunes Store, not to use this file to submit to iTunes.
iTunes does not accept AAC files, as the conversion is done by Apple from an AIFF or WAV file. After your files are converted, give them a good listen on some monitors, high-quality headphones, and ear-buds. Know what you'll be giving your listeners before the day the record hits the iTunes Store. Better still, have the chance to make adjustments to your master if need be. (music playing)
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