You love music so much that you’ve set up a home studio. You’re enjoying the benefits of music in your life as a stress reliever or a creative outlet. But maybe you want to take your journey to the next level by learning how to master audio.
Of course, becoming an expert in anything requires a lot of time and dedication. Sound engineering technicians typically spend at least a year in a certificate or degree program.
But, you don’t have to dedicate yourself to schooling to gain sound engineering skills. Use these tips as a launching pad toward becoming more proficient and comfortable with mastering audio at home.
To master audio the right way, you should understand what it is exactly. Mastering is the final stage in mixing a song.
What’s the difference between mixing versus mastering?
Mixing is all about blending several tracks into one single track. Mastering, on the other hand, revolves around adding precision to the audio track. The mastering stage is the last step of refining a song so that it’s officially ready for listeners.
How to Master a Song: Six Important Steps
Learning how to master music can be a layered and complex process. But here are a few high-level tips you can keep in mind as you get started mastering tracks.
Prepare an Ideal Listening Environment
To mix and master music, you need a quiet listening space. Set yourself up for success by installing acoustic panels in your home studio.
Other important investments include a good pair of open-back headphones and studio monitors to help you accurately hear and listen to your work.
Even if you just have some of these basics, this will help you mix and master audio more successfully.
Create Your Final Mix
Mixing involves transforming multiple tracks into a single track. Balance is hugely important during this phase. You want to address imbalances or issues with synchronization and consistency when it comes to the right volume for your particular song.
Put the time in to get your mix in great shape before you start perfecting it. This will help lay a good foundation for those final tune-ups in the mastering phase.
Start Making Revisions
Once you have your single track, you can get to work with refining what it.
Remove sound harshness, imbalances, and inconsistencies.
You’ll also want to iron out issues with compression. Compression is important to add to your track so that you can create an ideal dynamic range. This refers to the highest and lowest volume of the track.
Compression done the right way helps your track sound put together and cohesive.
Be mindful of any signs of clipping—which can register as distortion or audio breaking up.
Enhance Your Track
To ready your song for release, you’ll want to add finishing touches. These might include:
- Adding extra effects for more dynamics
- Adding saturation to create more body
- Stereo widening to help add more room if sounds are too close together
Reference Your Final Product
Once you’ve reached a good point with your mastered track, listen to your work. Make sure to compare it to other songs that are in the same genre and have been successful. You might also do this during the mixing stage too.
This can be a helpful tool to reset your ears or provide perspective when you’re deep into a project.
Continue Learning How to Master Audio or Hire a Pro
While this is just a crash course on how to master audio, you can find plenty of other helpful tips on our site. Or submit your track and get a FREE MASTERING SAMPLE!