What is Mastering
Friday, 05 August 2011 14:52

What is Mastering?Mastering

Mastering, Pre-mastering and Post Production are terms used to describe the final stage in the studio life of an audio recording project. Mastering optimises and enhances sound so that the finished product meets commercial standards. The process involves a series of precision calibrated adjustments to dynamics, frequencies, levels, scaling, dithering, etc. Essentially, mastering attempts to correct errors and anomalies encountered during recording and mixing. The mastering engineer is trained to pay a great deal of attention to detail, definition, imaging and soundstage presentation in order to improve the overall sound quality of a product. An analogy is this: When you paint your car, you still need to give it a buffing and polishing before the job is truly complete. Likewise, a musical recording project is not truly complete until it is mastered.

Why is Mastering necessary?

Mono, Stereo and Multi-track recordings whether live or from a studio, are normally overseen by an engineer whose goal is to achieve the best sound Masteringpossible. Once he/she is satisfied, a ‘Final Mix’ or ‘Master’ of that particular session will be produced. The chief reason for mastering any recording project is to have an independent, objective listener make the necessary adjustments to this ‘Master’ in order to achieve optimum sound quality. (Objective meaning not exposed or subject to prior listening of that project.) At times, decisions made during the recording and mixing stages are not satisfactory and may result in distortion, over compression, unbalanced sound levels and other serious problems.

Because the recording engineer has already made these mistakes and may have grown accustomed to hearing them, they may be overlooked. In some cases, the engineer recognizes the errors but is incapable of repairing them. There are also problems that occur most commonly on compilation albums, where the source material comes from many different facilities. Each would have used different recording equipment, been overseen by a different engineer and would have been mixed differently. The result would be a wider spectrum of sounds all needing to be compatible enough for presentation on the same album. Other problems have occurred since computer production software and home studio equipment have become Masteringinexpensive. The ‘bedroom studio’ is now commonplace and so is ‘cheap’ digital sound. Let’s face it; you can never obtain high-end sound from low-end equipment.

Fortunately, a good mastering facility can solve all of these problems. Engineers will put the finishing touches on your work and boost the overall standard of your product to guarantee consumer satisfaction.

Why should I master my projects at Sanch Electronix?

HDCD® Technology

High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD®) is a technology designed to obtain the best sound quality from digital recordings. The process allows 20-bits of data to be recorded into the standard 16-bit CD format. This is done using a patented ‘digital watermarking’ technology which encodes the extra 4 bits of data into the least significant bit of the 16-bit word length. As a result, more information can be stored on a CD, ensuring better frequency response, extended dynamic range, greater richness and musical fidelity. Mastering

The extra 4 bits of data encoded on an HDCD® disc can be decoded through any CD player carrying an HDCD® decoder or through Microsoft Windows Media Player 9. The disc will play normally in any other CD player, still displaying attributes superior to a regular CD.

Complimentary Custom Workstation

In addition to HDCD® technology, our studio has customized its workstation to include some of the world’s best complimentary electronics. Our monitoring system is primarily the industry standard HD-1. Made by Meyer Sound, the HD-1 is one of the most accurate studio monitors available. It is designed for critical listening so that mastering engineers can make crucial decisions.

The PSB Platinum T8 is also used as a reference loudspeaker system in a larger, life-sized listening environment. Our playback system is located in a 40 square metre listening area. It is built around Classé Audio Pre and Power amplifiers, NAD Electronics SACD Transport and Berkeley Audio Designs Processor, with power conditioning, cables and interconnects by Audience.

Mastering Mastering
Mastering Mastering