Kim Lajoie's blog

Mastering for loudness. Don’t do it. Or if you have to, try this…

by Kim Lajoie on May 5, 2014

While mixing is the process of making sure the sounds in a mix are clear and well- balanced, mastering is the process of making sure each song on a release is clear and well-balanced with the other songs on the release. The tools available to a mastering engineer are similar to those used by a […]

How To Know If You’re Doing A Good Job Mastering

by Kim Lajoie on March 31, 2014

Mastering is often seen as a dark and mysterious art. This is particularly true among junior producers and engineers who want to learn how do do it themselves. There’s a lot of different advice floating around these internets, some of it conflicting. It can be difficult to know if you’re taking the right approach. It […]

What mastering feels like

by Kim Lajoie on August 20, 2013

Mastering’s a dangerous thing. Not just for the reasons I’ve written about in the past. It’s dangerous because it’s misunderstood by artists. They’re the people who are ultimately represented by the final result of the master. But to many artists, mastering is a dark art. Artists commonly see mastering as little more than a mysterious […]

Don’t rush mastering!

by Kim Lajoie on October 2, 2012

Don’t rush mastering! I know sometimes it’s boring and tedious and not very creative. And you’re probably excited to get your song or EP or album released and out in the world. But mastering is important. It’s the final stage where audible changes are made to your song. If you screw it up, no-one can […]

What level should your mix be at before you send it to mastering?

by Kim Lajoie on February 8, 2012

I’m surprised there’s still so much confusion about this question. You’re starting a mix, and you need to know how to set up your gain staging so that your mix hits the ‘right’ peak or RMS level when you’re finished and it’s ready to be sent off for mastering. So what level should you aim […]

Why mastering is so delicate

by Kim Lajoie on June 20, 2011

Mastering is no playground. Of the entire production workflow, mastering is the most critical and fragile stage. It’s also the easiest to screw up. I don’t mean that to discourage you or put you off, but to warn you to be careful. Generally, there are three reasons to be careful about mastering. Intense listening Of […]

Hierarchy of production, and why mastering is overrated

by Kim Lajoie on June 6, 2011

Mastering is the least influential part of making a recording. It has the least effect on the effectiveness of your creative expression – your ‘sound’. It might sound obvious, but if you want a particular kind of sound, it starts early in the processes – as early as possible. Every subsequent stage of production has […]

The difference between mixing and mastering

by Kim Lajoie on May 23, 2011

Are you still confused about the difference between mixing and mastering? Do you think you’re mastering when you use a limiter on your mix bus? Do you avoid the term ‘mastering’ because you’re doing it yourself? Do you have trouble explaining what you do when you’re finished mixing? The difference between mixing and mastering is […]

Mastering doesn’t make your song sound good

by Kim Lajoie on October 18, 2010

That’s right. Mastering will not save your mix. It certainly won’t save your song. Forget it.┬áBut you knew that already. Common wisdom is that mastering will only make a good mix better. Well, it doesn’t. And if it does, you’ve either got problems with your mix that your mastering engineer has generously offered to smudge, […]

Frequency analysers and mastering

by Kim Lajoie on May 24, 2010

Sometimes frequency analysers can be used in mastering. Of course your ears should be the ultimate decision maker, but an analyser can be useful as a ‘second opinion’. It can help sway you one way or another if you’re unsure about something. There are, however, some issues to keep in mind when using frequency analysers […]