CD Mastering, Music Masters St. Louis, MO
firstname.lastname@example.org PO Box 1144, Cape Girardeau, MO 63702
Mastering is the step beyond where your recording sounded good in the studio, making it sound great over the radio, at a low volume, on a cheap boom-box, then sound incredible on an audiofile multi-media system. How's this done? Knowledge, experience and equipment!
Audio Mastering used to be the process of transferring audio recordings on magnetic tape to a phonograph lathe for the production of vinyl records. Mastering was a process to get audio louder and more consistent to vinyl without distortion. The mastering process was performed in real-time to lacquer disc, with any mistakes appearing on the master. With the advent of the Compact Disc, the lathe was replaced with a digital encoder and recording device.
There was also a standard in the U.S. called the "NAB Standard." All radio stations output the same frequencies and volume levels. All reproduction systems were very similar. Now, every radio station sounds different. They're all fighting to out-due one another. Some sound good while others sound horrible. Stereo, surround and car audio systems have pre-set EQ's, different Bass boosts and user adjustable settings that the normal Joe can't figure out. Then we have mp3, SACD, HD, low-fi, hi-fi, differing multi-channel surround systems etc, etc...Mastering properly in this environment is a challenge to say the least and not for the novice!
These are just some processes that could be applied. This is determined by the source media, They are simply general rules.
Steps of the process typically include:
1. Sequence the recorded audio as it will appear on the final product.
2. Correct any problems with the audio, such as volume level, tonal balance, or undesirable artifacts.
3. Transfer the audio to the final master format.
Examples of possible actions taken during mastering:
1. Apply noise reduction to eliminate hum and hiss issues.
2. Normalize the tracks to set the highest peaks in audio volume to a preset level; the overall audio should never exceed 0 dBFS.
3. Equalize audio between two tracks to ensure there are no jumps in bass, treble, midrange, volume or pan.
4. Apply a compressor (for example, 4:1 starting at -6 dB) to compress the peaks but to expand the softer parts.
5. Apply a dynamics compressor to compress only specific frequencies that generate the audio peaks.
6. P&Q code editing - Applying the start and timing cues within the data section of a CD.
7. Spectral enhancement - A process of widening the stereo image and enhancing the sub-harmonic frequencies.
8. Cross-fading - Manipulating a song or section to fade under while another song or part starts.
9. De-essing - Removing the sibilant factors of a vocal within the mixed audio. (Harsh frequencies that occur with improper vocal miking techniques.) Should be done in the mixing process.
Let us master a song for free before you decide to use our services.
We charge by the minute for audio mastering. Check out our rates.
Please check out our extensive list of credits. We're very proud of the folks we've had the opportunity to work with over the years.
All content © 1999 Music Masters CD Mastering is a very mis-understood event. Making your audio sound good after your mix from the studio is really called CD Pre-Mastering. Commonly, most say "CD Mastering." The CD Mastering process is really the process of making the glass master which is used in CD Replication. The glass master is used to make the stampers. The stampers make the clone CDs. For the production of CD-R, (CD Duplication) the master is a CD-R. Each CD-R is a copy of the original CD-R burned by a laser. For complete information on the CD production process, check out our CD Manufacturing cycle.