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 and expensive process that everyone says they need to do, but no-one’s actually explained what it is or why they need it.
So when I talk to my artists, I usually explain it in real-world terms. It’s not EQ and level matching and fading and sequencing. They’re not commissioning the process. They’re commissioning the results. And this is is how I usually describe it.
- Mastering feels like not having to adjust the volume from track to track.
- Mastering feels like your songs not being too boomy or thin or muffled or sharp.
- Mastering feels like your release flowing smoothly from one track to the next.
- Mastering feels like being proud to share your music, knowing it’ll stand toe-to-toe with your heroes.
- Mastering feels like not having to apologise for your demo.
Perspective is everything.