Mixing and Mastering are two of the biggest final components in making your recording sound professional and radio-ready. While they both involve equipment and software to enhance the sound of the recording, they are two very different distinct steps in a music production.
A high-quality recording always begins with the source – the musicians. In a full music production, each individual instrument is mic’d up and recorded. This yields a collection of audio tracks that need to be independently treated and adjusted to form a full, cohesive sound recording.
So, what exactly does mixing do?
Simply put, mixing involves adding effects to each individual instrument audio track, as well as adjusting volume levels, making sure that each instrument sounds proportionate to one another and has its own space within the recording. Effects may include EQ, reverb, delay, and compression – all of which affect the tonality of each distinct instrument.
Engineers also play around with the placement of instruments within the stereo field to give the recording a sense of “space” in a mix. Ever listen to a song on headphones and wonder why you may hear a guitar in the right ear, while a piano may be in the left? This effect is called panning and is another big component of mixing. Collectively, these little tweaks and sweeteners contribute to the overall quality of the recording, enhancing it to give you that hi-fi sound.
Putting the final mastering touches on your recordings.
The recording sounds solid, each instrument can be clearly heard, and the volume levels have been equalized, so we’re finished right? Well, not exactly. Now that you have a good “mix”, the mastering engineer will take the stereo audio file (usually a .WAV or AIFF) and apply “master” effects to enhance the sound of the overall recording (rather than affecting each instrument individually).
The mastering engineer will make sure that the recording has a volume that is competitive to other professional recordings. They may also apply treatment to harsh or muddy sounding frequencies (lows, mids, and highs) that take away from the overall clarity and punch of the recording. Volume fades are also typically added to the beginnings and endings of songs so that each track on a CD can seamlessly flow into the next.
Mastering is the final step in a music production — the icing on the cake that glues your mix together to make it sound polished and professional on any listening device.
Mixing and mastering your songs with StudioPros
Do you record at home or in a local studio? Our engineers at StudioPros can take your session files and professionally mix them and turn them into radio-ready recordings. All we need to complete a proper mix are the individual .WAV files from your session without effects. You will be able to conveniently upload your mix files within your StudioPros account and they will be sent securely to the engineer assigned to your project.
Already have a mix, but need it professionally mastered? Just send us a 24 bit stereo .WAV file of the recording and we’ll master it in three days!
To read more about our mixing and mastering or order online:
Contact an available producer at: 1-310-928-7776 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the next steps of getting your music mixed and mastered by the StudioPros team.