Course 11: Mastering

Mastering is the final step in producing a finished product of the highest quality. It uses specific gear tailored to a given song and adjusts a mix to improve its sonic qualities. This takes an astute set of ears and develops over time, as even slight changes can make tremendous differences. It’s also useful for preparing EPs and LPs across multiple songs, ensuring they all come through sounding great but consistent.

Mastering might seem like an intimidating task at first but understanding its basics will lay the groundwork needed to take on more complex scenarios in due course. These listening skills take time to develop, and in this course, we put you on the right path to developing your sonic tastes and mastering abilities. Your mentor is another key resource to help you become acquainted with this specialized craft.

This course will cover relative loudness, signal processing, and even song order–you’d be amazed at how much of a difference the order of the songs is. How the outros and intros work together and how it shapes the overall album. You’ll also learn about the different formats the music will be played on (CDs, radio, streaming, etc.).

At the end of this course, you’ll be able to describe mixing and mastering, translate the different mastering formats, and demonstrate the function of mastering. You’ll be able to tell incorrect methods from correct, explain the differences in those methods, and explain when it’s time to master. You’ll also do the standard Listening Library (Everything is Love by The Carters), investigate the Ozone mastering plug-in from iZotope, and condense your bio into something smaller and easier to digest.