If you’re a musician, you understand recorded music is necessary to drive your career and gain a fanbase.
If you’re shopping for an engineer to work on the mixes, you’re probably wondering if the same professional can also handle your masters.
Here’s how to know if your mixing engineer should handle the mastering — and why it may be safe to just find a mastering engineer.
The Difference Between Mixing and Mastering
Mixing and mastering are two different processes.
In the studio, you probably recorded several different elements of a song.
If you’re a singer, you recorded the essential parts of the song as well as some harmonies and additional vocal melodies. If you’re a guitar player, you recorded the rhythm and solos.
How do these pieces come together? This happens during the mixing process. The mixing engineer takes all of the audio layers and pieces them together for the final track.
The mixing engineer also adds other elements that will make a track stand out. This includes faders, effects, and EQ.
Mastering is the icing on the cake. A skilled mastering engineer can take your mixes and optimize the overall sound.
Let’s use this as an example. Have you ever listened to an album where one song was barely audible but the next practically blew out your speakers? The answer is no, right? This is thanks to the mastering engineer.
The mastering engineer focuses on improving the sound of each track and also focuses on the broader picture of the full album.
This ensures the listener has an amazing experience listening to your music — whether it’s one song or the album as a whole.
Should the Mixing Engineer Master Your Album?
Here’s the million-dollar question — should the same engineer mix and master your album? Well, it depends.
Since mastering is all about improving the audio, it depends on the mixing engineer’s experience with this skill.
Some mixing engineers make sound enhancements while they’re mixing each track. However, this doesn’t mean they have the keen ear of a mastering engineer.
There are many reasons why bands want the same engineer to mix and master their album. However, you also risk sacrificing quality.
If your album isn’t mastered well, the listener may not be able to hear the amazing and unique qualities of your music.
Your guitar solos will be toned down, the bass will get lost in the rest of the mixes, and you won’t hear every bell and whistle that the drummer is playing.
The same goes for hip hop artists and those in the electronic music genre. Bad mastering can tone down the vocals, beats, and other elements of your music.
If you’re still confused, the best course of action is to listen to the previous albums a mixing engineer has done. If they also offer mastering, listen very carefully to their previous work and ensure the mastering quality is good.
But keep in mind, it’s always best to just hire a mastering engineer who can take your recordings to the next level.
Hire a Mastering Engineer for the Album of Your Dreams
All musicians strive for the perfect recordings. To achieve this, you need great mixes and masters.
But should the mixing engineer master your album? While it sounds convenient, hiring a mastering engineer will ensure you get the highest-quality album.
If you’re looking for a skilled mastering engineer, contact us today!