Mastering is the final creative stage in the music production process, after the recording and mixing. It is the bridge between the final mix-down and the CD duplication/replication plant or Online Streaming platforms.
Mastering Process involves 3 stages:
STAGE ONE: Adjusting Unpleasant Sounds (the Lab part)
Through careful and critical listening to the audio material, and by keeping up good communication with the client and his indications and taste, most issues in the audio can be resorted whether it is in the frequency domain, level, dynamics, phase balance, disturbances or noise. Over compressed material in recording and mixing could also be surged to get its life back!
NOTE: Midfield monitors set up is a standard in Mastering. It mimics a home listening situation. Nearfield Monitors are best suited for recording and mixing studios, not for Mastering. This is why we at CraftLabMastering chose 3-way passive midfields as reference.
STAGE TWO: Quality Enhancement (the Craft part)
This creative phase gives the project its sound identity and style by the use of the finest analog and digital mastering equipment in different approaches and techniques. That way, music clarity is enhanced, a dimensional and airy sound could be created, warmth or punch is added (if appropriate). In the case of a Music Album or EP, all the tracks will have the same sonic tonality and loudness/level.
NOTE: Within the era of the loudness war, a lot of commercial music suffers from hyper compressing and hard limiting processes, which has a lot of technical and sonic drawbacks. i.e.: ear fatigues, blurred stereo image and squashed highs, muddy smashed smeared pumping distorted edgy sound, u named it!
STAGE THREE: Output Medium Assembly (the Logistic part)
In this last stage, all the tracks are put together and exported as one complete project/file on a specific medium and format (ex: CD ,DDP Data or Online Streaming Delivery)
The following tasks are done with a specialized high-resolution DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):
With a final quality check, a DDP file (recommended) or a Red Book master disc is supplied to the replication/duplication plant.
Online Mastering or Attended Mastering Process: