Renegade Music Mastering...
Music mastering is the stage of the music production process after the final mix has been done, right before the manufacturing or duplication takes place.
A good mastering engineer provides not only another set of professional ears, they are responsible for producing a well balanced master of your track or album, ready for manufacturing commercial release and distribution.
The process of mastering a CD involves using EQ, compression, phase correction and other tools to create a balanced master ready for public consumption. Most mastering engineers tend to apply very subtle tweaks to your mixes. The trick is that they know which subtle tweaks to make, something only picked up through great listening skills and experience.
You'll find different equipment in a mastering studio not present in the normal recording studios. It's very important to be sure about what you're hearing when you master so most top mastering studios will spend a lot of money to create the right acoustic environment.
I've written a brief mastering tutorial which shows you how to find a mastering engineer and how to prepare your tracks for the mastering session.
Mastering engineers will usually charge by the hour or on a per-track basis. Be prepared to shell out some money for professional mastering as this is one area where you'll get the quality you pay for.
Yes, you'll find a whole litter of cheap mastering services available. These services are usually not worth your time and money.
You do not want to skip over the process of mastering your CD as non-mastered tracks rarely sound as clear and balanced as mastered tracks.
Disclaimer: The owner of RenegadeProducer.com is also part-owner of a mastering service called clickmastering.com. Check out the website if you're interested in more information about mastering and want quality mastering for your music.
"What is mastering?"
Watch this great non-technical explanation of mastering by Ronan Chris Murphy should you be new to mastering...
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