Here’s where the most creative and fun part of mastering comes in to place. In this stage of audio mastering the mix is glued together. Listening to a good audio reference of the same music genre is a must. A certain feel is given to the audio track with the help of multi-band compression and type of maximizing. Also equalization is applied to create the best balance. Always keep in mind that if a mix is already good it is already good. Less is more and if you feel you have to apply too much equalization the mix probably isn’t good. It has to go back to the mixing engineer.
An often used order in the enhancement of audio is
- Adding reverberation
- Adding harmonics
- Stereo enhancement / imaging
- Multi-band compression
- Limiting / Maximizing
Remember that this sequence is just a guideline. For example with maximizing every soft part of the audio is boosted because the level must be set to a commercial level. The fine tuned equalization and dynamics will be lost if you apply maximizing at the end of the process. You will place the maximizer at the end of the audio mastering process but you probably want to set it before you’re apply equalization and multi-band compression.
OK, you’ve already corrected the errors in the audio and maybe you’ve made some artistic edits and created a fade out or nice ending of the audio track. It’s time for some polishing. Read the next part of this audio mastering tutorial. Equalization.