Why Pay for professional Audio Engineering?
While many producers/songwriters are competent engineers themselves, having a third parties’ perspective provides an objective point-of-view on a track’s strengths and weaknesses. A fresh, and well trained, set of ears can turn a song from good to great by hearing and understanding what type of emotion the song is evoking. A proficient audio engineer can take that emotion of a track and enhance it to create a stronger emotional response.
What is Mastering?
Mastering is taking the mixed single audio file, that is the song, and ensuring it translates well to all mediums. Having a song that sounds great on car speakers, ear buds, or a home theatre system is the end goal of mastering. Using similar tools to mixing, EQs and compressors, mastering provides clarity, punch, depth, and volume to a song. In addition, a mastered song will have all the individual elements of a song glued together making sure the end result feels like a finished track, rather than a work in progress. Whether it be radio play, iTunes, or Spotify streaming, a mastered track is ready for distribution.
What is stem Mastering?
Stem mastering takes place after mixing and is usually considered an optional step, before mastering, in the music production process. While mastering deals with a single audio file, that is the song, and mixing with each individual instrument track, stem mastering takes groups of instrument tracks and processes them, primarily, with EQ and compression. Once each stem is processed on their own the stems are then processed together in order to glue, and unify, the stems. Stem mastering usually has between 4-6 tracks to work with. The tracks (stems) used in the example below include: Kick + Snare Stem, Percussion Stem, Melody Stem, Bass Stem, and Effects Stem.
What is Mixing?
Mixing is taking the individual recorded tracks of a song and massaging them into place to create more depth, space, punch, and clarity for a given song. Each track within the song is processed separately to give each element its own space. This is accomplished by using a combination of plug-in software, and in some cases analog hardware, EQs, compressors, reverbs, delays, choruses, flangers, and many more effects. The end result of mixing is a track that sounds clear, pleases the ear, and is ready for mastering.