Music Mastering
Music Mastering

What Is Music Mastering? Why Master Your Tracks Before Release?

4 minutes, 9 seconds Read

The last stage in creating music that sounds professional is the music mastering stage. The basic objective of mastering is to balance the various components that make up the song and make sure it sounds nice no matter what speakers are being utilized. To give you that properly designed and well-mixed song, the mastering process uses tools like limiting, EQ, stereo enhancement, and compression.

Additionally, mastering helps in the removal of irritating noises like clicks and hisses. Although mastering can assist with some mixing-related problems, that is not its primary goal. There is no assurance that mastering will correct mix issues. The combination must first and foremost be reliable. But if necessary, mastery can be helpful.

Types Of Mastering: Stereo And Stem Mastering

There are two types of professional audio mastering: stereo and stem mastering. The two categories, which describe which components are employed to provide appropriate stereo augmentation for the finished music, essentially describe the same process.

Stereo Mastering

In stereo mastering, the audio processing is centered on a single digital file or the finished mix of a track. Since it’s challenging to accomplish audio restoration if certain faults are baked into a mix, tracks mastered using this technique should have excellent mixes.

Stem Mastering

Stem mastering is the act of applying the audio production process to each of the individual recordings, also known as stems. To attain a higher starting point in terms of sound quality, this form of mastering is more complex and may involve more interaction with the mixing engineer. A mastering engineer’s job, regardless of the method of mastering, is to provide a reasonably constant dynamic range, emphasize important characteristics through compression, and improve the music’s audio quality across all playback systems. The process is never more significant than the outcome.

How Is Mastering Different From Mixing?

How To Master Music In 5 Steps

The seven steps a track must complete are as follows. The order can change depending on the mastering engineer.

Audio Restoration

The finished mix is fixed and undesirable noise, pops, and clicks have been removed throughout the audio restoration process. Audio issues can become much more obvious once we start employing compression to raise master levels and equalization to adjust tones. Therefore, it would be wise to finish this quickly. Prior to amplifying the attractive elements of the mix, take out the undesirable elements.


To create a balanced master and fix the various frequency ranges, equalization is required. A boost in the higher bands can be required if the mix’s lower frequencies are too prominent. Additionally, subtractive equalization work is frequently used. That entails eliminating abrasive or dominant frequencies. A mixture is rarely flawless. Equalization is a fantastic way to produce superb balance, with equal quantities of power in the low and high ends.

Stereo Enhancement

Applying adjustments that reflect the relationship between the left and right channels in stereo headphones and speakers is known as stereo enhancement. Due to the fact that we have two ears, the majority of our listening takes place in stereo, which combines the audio from the left and right speakers. In mastering, stereo enhancement is used to broaden or restrict certain frequencies. Keeping the lower frequencies limited for focus and tightness is a typical approach. Higher frequencies may have larger ranges. For a fantastic master, a good stereo image is essential. Additionally, every band of your frequencies can be changed in great detail with stereo augmentation.


Sound dynamics control is essential for mastering. Additionally, we apply compression to create volume balance. Compression helps to maintain a good, even loudness throughout your mix. Peaks are lessened, while the lower volume portions are amplified. For instance, compression on the master will make the intro louder and the chorus volume quieter if the intro is louder than the chorus. Equally crucial to mastering as harmonizing your frequencies and stereo picture is balancing your volume.


Loudness refers to how our ears and brain interpret sound pressure. It’s ironic that there are ways to adjust this without impacting the levels. Loudness levels should be established during mastering to meet industry standards, which are frequently expressed as LUFS, or Loudness Units (relative to) Full Scale. Controlling the master’s volume frequently involves using a compressor and limiter. To boost LUFS, the compressor balances the dynamics. Any sound that is louder than the level you have selected will be stopped by the limiter’s ceiling setting. In mastering, we aim for maximum volume without sacrificing the track’s dynamics. However, if you’re not watchful, this could happen.


You have learned about the five standard steps to mastery. And perhaps more significantly, the methods for becoming a great master. Recall that balance is the key. Making an already fantastic mixdown even better is the goal. It involves adjusting compression, loudness, frequencies, and stereo imaging with volume and dynamics. A fantastic master sounds just as wonderful on AirPods as they do in a club with a top-notch sound system.

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