Mastering is the process of preparing a final mix for distribution on a given medium. This process involves raising the overall loudness of a track while controlling dynamics (compression and limiting), and balancing across the frequency spectrum (equalization). Care is given to ensure that all instruments can be heard clearly, especially vocals and lead instruments, without distorting or obscuring any other part of the track. Special consideration can also be given to the track’s genre. Using the appropriate hardware or software plugins, a mastering engineer can emulate the vintage sound of earlier decades, or the modern sound of today’s music.
After listening to his or her own mix from its creation through the production process, it is difficult for an artist or producer to maintain an objective sense of how a track sounds. The job of a mastering engineer is more than just making your track louder. A mastering engineer provides a last check of all the elements in your mix.
It is possible in today’s media environment to have your mix mastered in seconds on the web. This may be of use to get a sense of what your mix might sound like eventually, but there is no replacement for thorough, well-crafted, professional mastering.
Mastering is as much a science as it is an art. Attention is given to the smallest details along the signal chain, and frequent comparisons are made to ensure that each change remains appropriate in the context of the mix. A mastering engineer may also take liberties to steer the track in a desired direction, while of course leaving room for feedback from the artist.
At Lithium I strive to find the best sound in a mix while utilizing all of the tools at my disposal, the greatest of which being my ears. I take consideration of your input and ideas and I bring them to the studio with me. I do this and I do it at a reasonable rate. Every recording artist should have access to quality, affordable mastering.