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Mastered everything, except mastering….

Warren DalyAdded by: Warren Daly
13th February 2014

Do you create music? Have you just released an album? If the answer is yes, you might have just spent many hours in a studio, sacrificing time with family and friends producing your latest groundbreaking, and genre defining album. You’ve gone to the trouble of hiring a professional graphic designer to produce dazzling cover artwork. You’re all ready to hit the big time, or so you think. Who mastered your audio? Did you even bother to properly master your release?

You forgot the single most import task

I create the AgentCast series, and the Netlabelism magazine podcast series. I have to listen to a lot of music and there’s a number of things I’ve observed over the past few years; There are ample releases with impeccable artwork, associated mailing lists, forums, and social media activity, the music is well composed but some of it doesn’t sound so good.

your terrible mastering hurts my ears Are my headphones broken?

Incredible low volumes, or completely pumped tracks with zero dynamic range, muddy baselines, high-ends that are excruciating loud, vocals that are lost in a swell of nasty frequencies; these are all common occurrences. They’re all the byproducts of laziness. The ‘self mastered’ or blackbox fixes are common. Let’s get two things straight, never master your own creations, never ram your tracks through mastering black boxes or sonic maximizers. These techniques destroy dynamic range, and are tiring on the ear, in short, they sound rubbish.

Mastering costs mega bucks, and I’m a poor artist

Yeah, I hear this one all the time. You’re letting yourself down, you’re letting existing fans down, and you’re not gaining any new fans. Probably because your tunes sound like they’re mastered by an amateur.  You’ve made a gargantuan effort focusing so much emotion and love into your new release, and right on the final stretch you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Do yourself a favour and make your release sparkle and jump out at fans, reviewers, DJs, and radio stations.

Hire a professional to master your release

There are affordable mastering solutions out there. A professional service I’ve had personal experience with is Balance Mastering. John offers affordable, pro quality, analogue mastering. John is friendly and efficient, his output sounds professional, and best of all, it’s totally affordable. The proof really is in the pudding. If you’re still not convinced head on over to Balance Mastering and check out the samples. You even get new versions until you’re 100% satisfied with the final product.
Keep creating, but remember to get some professional assistance when mastering.

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