Josh Giunta on Mastering: The Final Product
Welcome to Fall!
Now, we're introducing our Head Engineer and producer, Josh Guinta to get into the mastering process and reveal some studio secrets. Here's what he has to say:
On Mastering: : In mastering, the engineer takes the final mix and may do the following:
Make it clearer, make it wider, make it less muddy, reduce annoying frequencies
Boost pleasant frequencies, make it brighter, make it fuller
Make it LOUDer, and an array of other things that are specific to the sonic details of your particular song. Keep in mind that every song is different and requires a unique approach.
When should I master? Master a song when you are certain that the mix is complete and you'd like the song to be released. If you are releasing a group of songs as an EP or album, it's best to have all of those songs mastered together so that they sound cohesive.
My mix sounds great. Why should I have it mastered? Finished mixes are usually not as full or as loud as finished masters. If you'd like your song to sound on par with what your hear on iTunes and streaming services, then it should be mastered. We also work to make sure your song or album sounds as full and solid as it can across all playback devices and speakers.
What happens in the mastering process? To get technical about it:
EQ: Adjusts how bright/how dark the song is, dulls standout frequencies, boosts pleasing frequencies
Compression: gels a song, controls audio peaks, makes a song 'pump,' makes a song louder, makes a song fuller, can reduce bass, adds 'smack'
Stereo widening: makes stereo field wider, brings out effects, brings out things panned to the sides
Saturation: 'thickens' the sound, adds harmonics, adds distortion, gels a songs, adds compression
De-essing: Dulls harsh brightness, controls 'ess' sound of vocals, reduces high end
Limiting: Prevents clipping, makes song louder, adds saturation, adds compression, 'smears' clarity of frequencies.
What do I need to know if I'm bringing in a song to be mastered? The final mix you bring in for mastering should have 'headroom.' Headroom means that the the loudest peaks of the final mix fall somewhere between -3 and -10 dB. This will allow the mastering engineer the most sonic options, resulting in a better master.
A special thanks to Josh for diving into the mastering process with us!
As always, give us a call, text, or email to work on your next project, and to get Josh on your next master!