What Is Song Mastering And How To Master a Song?

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Dive into the world of song mastering, getting to know and resolve its mysteries. Explore what learning is and gain insights into the techniques and strategies that elevate your tune to its full ability. Learn the way to master your songs effectively, unlocking an expert sound that captivates listeners and sticks out in the aggressive song industry.


The process of improving a song mastering and making it as listenable as possible across a wide range of platforms, systems, and media types is known as mastering.

A recording is mastered by treating a mixed-down version of the music as a whole and adding EQ, compression, limiting, and stereo enhancement to the “pre-master.” The goal with these tools is to bring out specific nuances, bring the pieces together, adjust the volume to the right level, and create the ideal vibe for the music.

Engineers have additional options for handling a pre-master, such using saturation or exciters to give recordings more “colour.” Additionally, they could use remedial measures like de-essing to soften the track’s unpleasant high frequencies.

The mix must be completed to a high quality before mastering since mastering applies processing to the entire recording, making it hard to take out undesirable or unsightly parts. For instance, the sound of the pad in that area may change if you’re focusing on particular frequencies to address a hi-hat issue. Music will sound better with good mastering, but it’s hardly a magic trick.

What distinguishes mixing from song mastering?

Making music sound as excellent as possible is the goal of both the mixing and mastering procedures. The primary distinction between mixing and mastering is that with the former, all of the components that comprise a song mastering are worked with in their entirety. To attain uniformity in the overall sound, mastering involves treating the audio as a single unit.
Mastering should improve the mix rather than significantly alter the track’s personality. Song Mastering only affects the final stereo mixdown and does not change the levels of individual lines within the song; it deals with the music as a whole.


The step that comes before song mastering is song mixing. When getting ready to release a new musical composition, knowing the art of mixing a track is just as crucial as learning how to compose it.

Every component of a song will be addressed separately by a mixing engineer. For additional mixing, parts are frequently divided into buses, such as kicks, drums, bass, melody, vocals, and effects. In order to give the music the most effect, the mixing engineer is continuously coming up with innovative ideas for which songs to feature more prominently in the mix.

Compression is used to manage loudness and tighten grooves and reverbs, EQ is used to lessen conflicts between various components, and delays are used for effect or to drive things ahead or backward in the mix.


Before a song is scheduled for publication or public performance, it must be masterfully performed. The multitude of listening devices and formats available now make mastering much more crucial than it was before.

As the last phase of post-production, mastering also acts as quality control, making sure that no obvious technical flaws, such clicks or pops or excessive sub frequency width, are present before the song is released.


Ensuring uniformity across all parts of a song is the responsibility of a mastering engineer. Another duty of a mastering engineer is to make sure that certain aspects of an album, such as the locations of the loudest dynamic peaks, remain consistent throughout all of the tracks.

Both creativity and technical skill go into mastery. I was once informed by a renowned mastering engineer that his most similar job before becoming an engineer was being a cook. Having worked in more technical roles in the past, his background as a chef led him to consider “what the dish [or track] needs” in order to balance it. This included pushing specific frequencies and using compression to give it a snappy feel.


Professional music mastery is challenging and requires a lot of practice. Nevertheless, by following my step-by-step tutorial on audio mastering for beginners, you may start learning how to master a song right now.

You will need to invest a lot of time in your local music production facilities if you want to become a master musician. Everything from becoming an F1 driver to cooking the best scrambled eggs is difficult to do to a high degree.


Even with years of expertise, a pro will often spend 30 to 40 minutes perfecting a track. Certain tracks that require a lot of work might take a lot longer to complete. Additionally, engineers occasionally do “stem-mastering,” which takes time since it involves working with many channels.


You can master music with a home studio setup, but you’ll need a professionally sound-treated space to achieve a professional-quality sound.


To guarantee proper mastering, you must first take good monitoring. This entails acoustically treating your studio and investing in high-quality speakers and headphones. By treating your space, you may improve soundproofing and reduce reverb and unwanted reflections, which might distort your perception of the true sound of the track you’re working on.

  • Within the financial limits available to a novice home studio, you will require:
  • a PC loaded with Logic Pro or Ableton, or another DAW.
  • an interface for audio.
  • high-quality headphones and monitor speakers.

One may address absorption and diffusion with a variety of low-cost alternatives, such as floor/ceiling bass traps and absorption panels. By focusing on the key areas, you may make significant improvements to your surroundings for as little as £50.

For the primary components utilized in mixing and mastering, outboard equipment is also necessary if you’re aiming to build up a more professional studio. These come across a wide range of pricing points, and various engineers and studios will choose different models and brands.

In professional mastering studios, common hardware components include:

  • EQs
  • Compressors, including multiband ones.
  • restrictors.


Get your track ready.

Making sure your music is ready for mastering is crucial, even before you begin using any of your tools. If you are the one who mixed the music, make sure to take a break from it for a little before returning to it and comparing it to other songs when you believe you have the final mix. Select references that you wish to feel similar to and see whether the frequency distribution and dynamic range are comparable. For this, the Metric A/B plug-in is quite helpful. Check it out.

Do check out the song on a few different sound systems as well. Some rappers make their swears by listening to the mix on their car music! However, your headphones and monitor speakers should always be used as the oracle. This step shouldn’t be stressful; just work fast and listen to your instincts!

When working on your mix, keep in mind that you should leave at least -3dB of headroom. Most engineers will want a headroom of about -6dB, which will enable you to master by pushing certain frequencies through EQ, compression, and distortion. It’s not a big deal to peak a little beyond the desired level; however, avoid peaking far below it as this may raise the “noise floor,” a phrase used to describe undesired electrical noise that is picked during recording of music.

Get your track ready.

If possible, take a separate day off and make sure you return with a new perspective. It’s likely that you’ll hear elements in the mix that you’d like to adjust. You could go back and correct things, but it would only mean that the process would never end. That’s obviously up to you, but eventually you’ll have to accept what you have and draw the line because the first thing you’ll do will be to listen for anything that you feel like you need to “fix.” Therefore, I would advise against going back and changing the mix unless you are unable to fix it or it is so severe that it prevents you from moving further.


There is debate on the ideal way to approach your track and the sequence in which to apply EQ, compression, and limiting. Once more, the key to determining your preferred working style is experience. Additionally, if a lot of adjustments are needed, an engineer may choose to apply EQ both before and after compression, first to further shape the sound and then to eliminate any harsh frequencies or resonance. Whichever option you select, remember to use critical thinking and record what you are doing and where you are in the signal chain.

As with mixing to deal with resonance, it’s often advisable to start by addressing any individual frequencies you believe are problematic with a very modest and abrupt cut. Be really discrete Since there will be other activities in that frequency band, it is here (1/2dB).


Multiband compression, which you may use in conjunction with EQ to improve tone, is all you should be concerned with here, aside from more experienced engineers who could utilize certain outboard compressors for effect. When applied to a certain frequency band, this is the ideal tool for bringing out tones you want to be more constant throughout the track.

However, take care not to adjust any makeup gain since this would increase the “soft” noises and practically negate the compressor’s effects. If you wish to add extra low end to the recording, adjust the range to 30-120Hz and max out the gain reduction by a few dB. Once more, use subtlety in your application. If you’re unsure about what audio compression is, be sure to comprehend it first, as it’s a really potent instrument for any creator.


Although this stage is optional, many mastering engineers will expand the stereo image and apply a little amount of tape saturation or an exciter to the track (being careful to preserve the sub frequencies in mono, which you can achieve with a standard plugin in your DAW). Stereo widening is used to give a track the glossy shine of pop songs and make it appear as though it fills the space; however, using too much width can lead to phasing problems. Similar to distortion, saturation provides colour when used sparingly, but too much of it can result in a terrible, crunchy sounding music. You risk ruining your track if you are not extremely delicate. When in doubt, cut back!


It’s time to turn it up loud now. The last and most important step in mastering is limiting, which gives your audio the perceived loudness in addition to the required level. Simply turning up the master would result in a terrible-sounding distorted rendition since the peak would be clipping. Limiters function similarly to compressors in that they force the track to duck at a certain volume, but at an ∞:1 ratio, ensuring that nothing exceeds the output level. The reason your music feels louder without clipping is because of this “brickwall” restricting.

To get the desired outcome, first set the ceiling between -0.3 and -0.5 dB.


Use a dither option to bounce your music with the same specs as the premaster. Make careful to select one of the pow-r parameters (probably 2). These effectively implement safeguards against further distortion during the file bounce process. POW-r 1 works well with low dynamic range content, such as spoken word; Pow-r 2 works well with medium dynamic range content, such as rock music; and Pow-r 3 works well with broad dynamic range content, such as orchestral music.


In conclusion, understanding what music studying is and mastering a tune efficiently are crucial steps in handing over a polished and expert musical product. As we’ve explored, the studying technique entails refining the final blend, optimizing it for numerous playback structures, and ensuring it meets enterprise standards.

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