Now you have a finished mix the next step will be to choose your audio mastering software as you will probably have second thoughts on spending money to professional mastering services. Professional mastering is by no means a requirement to recording and producing your music, but it certainly adds professionalism and another layer of quality to your music.
You can probably say that great audio mastering software it's what separates the amateurs from the pros – all professional musicians pass on their records to professional mastering engineer prior to production.
Aside from the professional touch audio mastering gives to your music, it is also helpful that someone very objective will take a crack at your recording to point out minor flaws that you as the musician may have missed, sort of like asking someone to proofread your book .
Several things are looked at by a professional audio engineer when mastering music and these are:
- Volume level maximization
- Ensuring consistent balance of frequencies
- Reducing noise
- Checking for errors.
Volume level maximization ensures that at any point in time, the right level of volume is applied so that each note and sound is properly heard by the listener. In some cases you do not properly hear a word because it seems that the singer was whispering – audio mastering software addresses this with the right volume level maximization.
As for redundancies, there needs to be a good balance between bass, mids and trebles at all times. The combination will vary at every segment and an audio engineer can determine and apply this correct balance for your song.
Noise reduction is very important, since there will be other sounds apart from the vocals and the instruments that may be captured during the actual recording such as the hiss that can be heard when recording through analog technology. Noise reduction ensures that only the correct sounds mean for the listening public get in the final record.
Encoding is almost the final touch in this process, and this is where details are actually encoded, such as CD text (includes track titles, artist names and other details), Universal Product Code, International Standard Recording code and other relevant information.
Finally, a professional audio engineer will check for errors and this can range from a word that can not be heard to barking dogs in the background and anything and everything in between. He will also make sure that your music sounds excellent on all listening devices.
These are the things that a professional audio mastering software brings to the table, they are definitely value-adding to the record and therefore it is very much worth. A few bucks can spell the difference between a professional sounding record versus an amateurish one and an audio engineer is worth these few bucks sometimes. Now your record is finally finished and ready to be burnt and reproduced into CDs.