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Mandy Parnell: Mastering Audio
Mandy Parnell: Mastering Audio
Published: 2016/02/18
Channel: Sound On Sound magazine
Mastering 101: How to Master a Song
Mastering 101: How to Master a Song
Published: 2014/02/10
Channel: The Pro Audio Files
Audio Mastering with Hardware and Software
Audio Mastering with Hardware and Software
Published: 2015/11/02
Channel: TheSSRChannel
Mixing vs Mastering - What
Mixing vs Mastering - What's The Difference? - TheRecordingRevolution.com
Published: 2015/02/19
Channel: recordingrevolution
Mastering Techniques For Better Dynamics - ITL #105
Mastering Techniques For Better Dynamics - ITL #105
Published: 2014/07/07
Channel: Pensado's Place
Introduction to Mastering - Learn the Secrets & History of Mastering Audio
Introduction to Mastering - Learn the Secrets & History of Mastering Audio
Published: 2014/03/21
Channel: pureMix
NEW - Pro MASTERING Tutorial by Steven Slate
NEW - Pro MASTERING Tutorial by Steven Slate
Published: 2016/11/24
Channel: SlateTV
Quick Mastering for Streaming Online
Quick Mastering for Streaming Online
Published: 2017/06/03
Channel: Waves Audio
What is Mastering?
What is Mastering?
Published: 2016/07/22
Channel: The Pro Audio Files
Mastering Audio & The Art of Listening with Jonathan Wyner | iZotope Tips From A Pro
Mastering Audio & The Art of Listening with Jonathan Wyner | iZotope Tips From A Pro
Published: 2013/02/27
Channel: iZotope, Inc.
Audio Mastering - Before and After
Audio Mastering - Before and After
Published: 2013/02/09
Channel: Smunky Waters
Mastering Chain at Universal Mastering presented by Pete Doell
Mastering Chain at Universal Mastering presented by Pete Doell
Published: 2015/06/11
Channel: TC Electronic HD
Mastering Audio - Matching Volume Levels
Mastering Audio - Matching Volume Levels
Published: 2015/09/29
Channel: sixhatsrecording
What is Audio Mastering?
What is Audio Mastering?
Published: 2013/09/05
Channel: Toby Mountain
Mastering Audio Mastering with Mike Russell
Mastering Audio Mastering with Mike Russell
Published: 2017/06/26
Channel: Mike Russell
HOW TO MASTER A SONG - 7 Steps to Loud!, FAT, & In Your Face
HOW TO MASTER A SONG - 7 Steps to Loud!, FAT, & In Your Face
Published: 2012/04/30
Channel: Rob Williams
Audio mastering tutorial: The history of audio mastering | lynda.com
Audio mastering tutorial: The history of audio mastering | lynda.com
Published: 2013/02/19
Channel: LinkedIn Learning Solutions
Masterizacion. Aprende a masterizar. Como masterizar. Tutorial de mastering parte 1 de 4.
Masterizacion. Aprende a masterizar. Como masterizar. Tutorial de mastering parte 1 de 4.
Published: 2015/07/13
Channel: masteringmansion
Yoad Nevo: Mastering with Waves
Yoad Nevo: Mastering with Waves
Published: 2013/05/23
Channel: Waves Audio
Easy Steps for Mastering Audio with One Plugin (Hindi)
Easy Steps for Mastering Audio with One Plugin (Hindi)
Published: 2016/11/06
Channel: Beatfactory Academy
The Mixdown with Universal Audio: Part 6 – Mastering
The Mixdown with Universal Audio: Part 6 – Mastering
Published: 2017/05/25
Channel: Future Music Magazine
Audio Mastering for iPad Review and Tutorial
Audio Mastering for iPad Review and Tutorial
Published: 2013/05/12
Channel: thesoundtestroom
How To Do Your Own Audio Mastering
How To Do Your Own Audio Mastering
Published: 2009/06/26
Channel: Bobby Owsinski
Audio Mistakes 104: 10 Common Mastering Mistakes - 4. Monitoring
Audio Mistakes 104: 10 Common Mastering Mistakes - 4. Monitoring
Published: 2016/03/24
Channel: macProVideoDotCom
Logic Pro X - #77 - Mastering in Logic
Logic Pro X - #77 - Mastering in Logic
Published: 2014/11/15
Channel: MusicTechHelpGuy
Audio Mastering: Essential Practices
Audio Mastering: Essential Practices
Published: 2013/06/06
Channel: Jonathan Wyner
Free Online Audio Mastering Website
Free Online Audio Mastering Website
Published: 2016/05/21
Channel: Anonymous Musician
How to Prepare Your Audio For Mastering
How to Prepare Your Audio For Mastering
Published: 2014/07/15
Channel: Tuts+ Music & Audio
10 Steps to a Quick Master | iZotope Ozone | Audio Mastering Platform
10 Steps to a Quick Master | iZotope Ozone | Audio Mastering Platform
Published: 2015/03/25
Channel: iZotope, Inc.
LANDR: Automated online mastering - but is it any good ?
LANDR: Automated online mastering - but is it any good ?
Published: 2014/09/17
Channel: Production Advice
Dynamic EQ in Audio Mastering
Dynamic EQ in Audio Mastering
Published: 2014/10/30
Channel: iZotope, Inc.
FR: Audio Mastering Vol.1 Excerpt
FR: Audio Mastering Vol.1 Excerpt
Published: 2010/06/14
Channel: Friedemann's Sound Kitchen
Audio Mastering an Album With Audacity | How To Make Your Songs Loud and Even (Remake)
Audio Mastering an Album With Audacity | How To Make Your Songs Loud and Even (Remake)
Published: 2015/07/18
Channel: Demonic Sweaters
Audio mastering tutorial: Understanding compression | lynda.com
Audio mastering tutorial: Understanding compression | lynda.com
Published: 2013/01/31
Channel: LinkedIn Learning Solutions
Mastering in 7 Schritten // Mastering Video Workshop // Audio Mastering im Infogramm // delamar
Mastering in 7 Schritten // Mastering Video Workshop // Audio Mastering im Infogramm // delamar
Published: 2016/08/15
Channel: delamartv
Free Audio Mastering Plugins from iTunes and SSL
Free Audio Mastering Plugins from iTunes and SSL
Published: 2014/01/30
Channel: Bob Sell
Mastering Audio: Metadata, ISRC, UP and QC
Mastering Audio: Metadata, ISRC, UP and QC
Published: 2011/08/24
Channel: Jonathan Wyner
Aria Automated Analog Mastering + Audio Examples
Aria Automated Analog Mastering + Audio Examples
Published: 2016/07/07
Channel: The Pro Audio Files
Final Cut Pro: Mastering Audio Levels
Final Cut Pro: Mastering Audio Levels
Published: 2012/03/07
Channel: MrPistoneTechtips
Audio Mastering 2.0 demo
Audio Mastering 2.0 demo
Published: 2014/01/27
Channel: Igor Vasiliev
iZotope | Audio Mastering Toolkit
iZotope | Audio Mastering Toolkit
Published: 2015/07/15
Channel: iZotope, Inc.
Mixing and Mastering Audio for Video In Adobe Premiere
Mixing and Mastering Audio for Video In Adobe Premiere
Published: 2016/04/02
Channel: MotionDad
iOS Audio Mastering App Review
iOS Audio Mastering App Review
Published: 2017/03/20
Channel: Lieu Tenant
AAMS Audio Mastering Showcase
AAMS Audio Mastering Showcase
Published: 2015/10/30
Channel: Denis Van Der Velde
Audio Mastering an Album With Audacity | How To Make Your Songs Loud and Even Sounding
Audio Mastering an Album With Audacity | How To Make Your Songs Loud and Even Sounding
Published: 2015/02/20
Channel: Demonic Sweaters
How To Make Your Music Louder - Audio Mastering Tips
How To Make Your Music Louder - Audio Mastering Tips
Published: 2015/03/29
Channel: Reuben Chng
How to Master A Song (My Current Mastering Technique) - ModernMixing.com
How to Master A Song (My Current Mastering Technique) - ModernMixing.com
Published: 2015/01/14
Channel: Modern Mixing
Audio Mastering Philosophy and Loudness Normalisation Practices in Logic Pro X
Audio Mastering Philosophy and Loudness Normalisation Practices in Logic Pro X
Published: 2017/01/14
Channel: Unlock Your Sound
Bettermaker Mastering Limiter Review - Audio clips, menus, functions
Bettermaker Mastering Limiter Review - Audio clips, menus, functions
Published: 2017/10/09
Channel: MixbusTV
Adobe Audition CS6 Mastering Audio
Adobe Audition CS6 Mastering Audio
Published: 2012/06/07
Channel: totaltraining
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Magnetic tape was commonly used to create master copies.

Mastering, a form of audio post production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage medium (the master); the source from which all copies will be produced (via methods such as pressing, duplication or replication). In recent years digital masters have become usual although analog masters, such as audio tapes, are still being used by the manufacturing industry, notably by a few engineers who have chosen to specialize in analog mastering.

Mastering requires critical listening; however, software tools exist to facilitate the process. Results still depend upon the approach taken by the engineer, the accuracy of studio monitors, and the listening environment.[1] Mastering engineers may also need to apply corrective equalization, dynamic range compression, and stereo reconfiguration processes in order to optimise sound for all playback systems.[2][3]

History[edit]

Pre-1940s[edit]

In the earliest days of the recording industry, all phases of the recording and mastering process were entirely achieved by mechanical processes. Performers sang and/or played into a large acoustic horn and the master recording was created by the direct transfer of acoustic energy from the diaphragm of the recording horn to the mastering lathe, typically located in an adjoining room. The cutting head, driven by the energy transferred from the horn, inscribed a modulated groove into the surface of a rotating cylinder or disc.[4] These masters were usually made from either a soft metal alloy or from wax; this gave rise to the colloquial term waxing, referring to the cutting of a record.[5]

After the introduction of the microphone and electronic amplifier in the mid-1920s, the mastering process became electro-mechanical, and electrically driven mastering lathes came into use for cutting master discs (the cylinder format by then having been superseded). Until the introduction of tape recording, master recordings were almost always cut direct-to-disc.[4] Only a small minority of recordings were mastered using previously recorded material sourced from other discs.

Emergence of magnetic tape[edit]

In the late 1940s, the recording industry was revolutionized by the introduction of magnetic tape. Magnetic tape was invented for recording sound by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928 in Germany, based on the invention of magnetic wire recording by Valdemar Poulsen in 1898. Not until the end of World War II could the technology be found outside of Europe. The introduction of magnetic tape recording enabled master discs to be cut separately in time and space from the actual recording process.[4][3]

Although tape and other technical advances dramatically improved audio quality of commercial recordings in the post-war years, the basic constraints of the electro-mechanical mastering process remained, and the inherent physical limitations of the main commercial recording media—the 78 rpm disc and the later 7-inch 45 rpm single and the 33-1/3 rpm LP record—meant that the reproducible frequency spectrum, dynamic range,[a] and running time[b] of master discs were still limited compared to later media such as the compact disc.[3]

Electro-mechanical mastering process[edit]

From the 1950s until the advent of digital recording in the late 1970s, the mastering process typically went through several stages. Once the studio recording on multi-track tape was complete, a final mix was prepared and dubbed down to the master tape, usually either a single-track mono or two-track stereo tape. Prior to the cutting of the master disc, the master tape was often subjected to further electronic treatment by a specialist mastering engineer. After the advent of tape it was found that, especially for pop recordings, master recordings could be made so that the resulting record would sound better. This was done by making fine adjustments to the amplitude of sound at different frequency bands (equalization) prior to the cutting of the master disc.

Record mastering became a highly prized and skilled craft, and it was widely recognized that good mastering could make or break a commercial pop recording. As a result, the independent mastering studio was born.[3] Early independent mastering engineers included Doug Sax, Bob Ludwig, Bob Katz and Bernie Grundman and Denny Purcell.[4]

In large recording companies such as EMI, the mastering process was usually controlled by specialist staff technicians who were conservative in their work practices. These big companies were often reluctant to make changes to their recording and production processes—for example, EMI was very slow in taking up innovations in multi-track recording[c] and they did not install 8-track recorders in their Abbey Road Studios until the late 1960s, more than a decade after the first commercial 8-track recorders were installed by American independent studios.[6]

Digital technology[edit]

Optimum Digital Levels with respect to the Full Digital Scale (dBFSD)

In the 1990s, electro-mechanical processes were largely superseded by digital technology, with digital recordings stored on hard disk drives or digital tape and transferred to CD. The digital audio workstation (DAW) became common in many mastering facilities, allowing the off-line manipulation of recorded audio via a graphical user interface (GUI). Although many digital processing tools are common during mastering, it is also very common to use analog media and processing equipment for the mastering stage.[2] Just as in other areas of audio, the benefits and drawbacks of digital technology compared to analog technology are still a matter for debate. However, in the field of audio mastering, the debate is usually over the use of digital versus analog signal processing rather than the use of digital technology for storage of audio.[2]

Mastering has a special significance for house, techno and other styles of electronic dance music:

...the product of mastering, regardless of the type of format, is re-actualised into a performance in the hands of the DJ. In this regard, the shift from vinyl records to digital formats in many DJ scenes and the appearance of new digital formats for DJs have encouraged new practices also among mastering engineers, whose targets are not only music listeners but, specifically, music performers as well.[7]

Process[edit]

A common mastering processor for dynamic range compression

The source material, ideally at the original resolution, is processed using equalization, stereo-field configuration, compression, limiting, noise reduction and other processes[8]. More tasks, such as editing, pre-gapping, leveling, fading in and out, noise reduction and other signal restoration and enhancement processes can be applied as part of the mastering stage. This step prepares the music for either digital or analog (e.g. vinyl) replication. The source material is put in the proper order, commonly referred to as assembly (or 'track') sequencing.[3]

If the material is destined for vinyl release, additional processing, such as dynamic range reduction or frequency dependent stereo–to–mono fold-down and equalization, may be applied to compensate for the limitations of that medium. Finally, for compact disc release, Start of Track, End of Track, and Indexes are defined for disc navigation. Subsequently, it is rendered either to a physical medium, such as a CD-R or DVD-R, or to computer files, such as a Disc Description Protocol (DDP) file set or an ISO file. The specific medium varies, depending on the intended release format of the final product. For digital audio releases, there is more than one possible master medium, chosen based on replication factory requirements or record label security concerns. Regardless of what delivery method is chosen, the replicator will transfer the audio to a glass master that will generate metal stampers for replication.

The process of audio mastering varies depending on the specific needs of the audio to be processed. Mastering engineers need to examine the types of input media, the expectations of the source producer or recipient, the limitations of the end medium and process the subject accordingly. General rules of thumb can rarely be applied.

Steps of the process typically include the following[8]:

  1. Transferring the recorded audio tracks into the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
  2. Sequence the separate songs or tracks as they will appear on the final release.
  3. Adjust the length of the silence between songs.
  4. Process or "sweeten" audio to maximize the sound quality for the intended medium (e.g. applying specific EQ, or mid-side compression for vinyl).
  5. Deliver the audio to the final master format (CD-ROM, half-inch reel tape, PCM 1630 U-matic tape, etc.).

Examples of possible actions taken during mastering:[3]

  1. Editing minor flaws.
  2. Applying noise reduction to eliminate clicks, dropouts, hum and hiss.
  3. Adjusting stereo width.
  4. Adding ambience.
  5. Equalize audio across tracks for the purpose of optimized frequency distribution.
  6. Adjust volume.
  7. Dynamic range compression or expansion.
  8. Peak limit.
  9. Dither.

To finish mastering a CD, track markers must be inserted, along with International Standard Recording Code (ISRC) and other information necessary to replicate a CD. Vinyl LP and cassettes have their own pre-duplication requirements for a finished master.

It is standard practice to make a copy of a master recording, known as a safety copy, in case the master is lost, damaged or stolen.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dynamic range was limited by the fact that if the signal level coming from the master tape was too high, the cutting head might be damaged during the cutting process or the stylus may jump out of the groove during playback.[4]
  2. ^ Running times were constrained by the diameter of the disc and the density with which grooves could be inscribed on the surface without cutting into each other.
  3. ^ In multi-track recording each signal input is recorded to its own track on a multi-track recorder. This multi-track tape is mixed down to a mono or stereo tape from which the master tape is copied. A multi-track tape may be remixed many times, in different ways, by different engineers, giving the possibility of several masters (mono version, stereo version, LP version, AM radio version, single version, etc.).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cousins & Hepworth-Sawyer (2013). Practical Mastering. Focal Press. pp. 1–30. ISBN 978-0-240-52370-5. 
  2. ^ a b c Mix Magazine: Issues in Modern Mastering Archived May 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Shelvock, Matt (2012). Audio Mastering as Musical Practice. Ontario, Canada: ETDR: University of Western Ontario. pp. 1–72. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Robert Auld. "Mastering Then and Now". Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  5. ^ "New Technique Aids LP Waxing", Billboard, 1950-03-25 
  6. ^ Martin, George; Hornsby, Jeremy (1994). All you need is ears. Macmillan. p. 143. ISBN 0-312-11482-6. 
  7. ^ Nardi, Carlo (2014). "Gateway of Sound: Reassessing the Role of Audio Engineering in the Art of Record Production", DanceCult 6(1), 9.
  8. ^ a b T, Shelvock, Matthew (2017). Audio Mastering as a Musical Competency (Thesis). Western University. 

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