7. Do I need to master my finished mix?
The mastering process has evolved with music technology and the way music is distributed and consumed. Generally, mastering is all done with digital media. Analog tapes and vinyl discs are no longer common place. The mastering engineer who has special skills with tape and lathe is mostly no longer needed. Many of those great mastering engineers have adapted to the new technology and digital format, but mastering has become something that the less experienced and less skilled can do. The question is; can they do it well?
Unlike mixing, the mastering process can only bring limited change to the sound of the final product. However, as with mixing, the key factor in quality mastering is the experience, judgement and ears of the engineer turning the knobs. Mastering can sometimes bring luster and depth to an otherwise flat mix. Likewise, in the wrong hands, it can ruin a good mix. If you have a mix that you are generally happy with, but the level is low and/or the overall frequency response or EQ (Bass or low end, midrange, treble or high end) seems like it might need adjustment, that is when mastering can help. Also, if you are releasing a collection of songs on and EP or full length CD, then mastering is the process for assuring that all of the songs play at a comparable level and are correctly EQ'd.
My mixes are all done with every effort to make the EQ and musical balance as perfect as it can be. I can also deliver files that are at a competitive level and ultimately might not need any mastering at all. However, in the course of mixing several songs, especially over an extended period of time, it is very difficult to make all of the songs match as well as can be done in the mastering process. Even the best mixes, especially a collection of mixes, can benefit from mastering.
Recently I have had an increasing demand for mastering services that are reasonably priced and produce a professional result. Some of my clients have had less than desirable results with budget mastering engineers they have used. They have been unable to afford some mastering engineers that charge $2000 -$3500 to master an album.
In order to fill a void and provide reliable mastering at a great value, I have decided to offer mastering services. This is a great option for those who are happy with their mixes and just need a little polish or evening up of their album. Please visit my Mastering Page for a full list of services and prices.