Advanced Audio Engineering
Course 10: Mastering in the Box

In course ten, you will be covering the final step in a song’s lifespan: how to master a song. Here you will uncover the art of mastering a song and learn some important facts about mastering other songs in an album so that they all fit perfectly together as a whole. You’ll cover the importance of mastering, the creative and technical aspects of song mastering, and the difference between mastering your song or having someone else do it.

Mastering is an art form in and of itself, giving you the control to shape and mold your mix into whatever you desire. Using mastering creatively, you can bring out or push down various frequency bands, creating space for new elements or making an element stand out more than before. For example, adjusting the primary frequencies of a lead vocal will make it more present in the mix, allowing it to be heard more clearly and powerfully.

Creative mastering can be a game changer for many mixes, adding vibrancy and dynamism to a track that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Technically, compression is the foundation of mastering. In the same way that compression is essential for getting a piece of music up to industry standards, having control over the dynamics can ensure that your listeners are hearing the track exactly how it was intended.

You will explore the reason for mastering a song and the difference between a mastered and mixed song, learn the reasons why in most cases why it is better to have someone else master your song or album instead of doing it yourself, and discover that there are different ways of mastering music, and most producers have their own style (although there are some core fundamentals that are applied in nearly all mastering processes).