When recording and producing your own music, it’s important to know what every step of the process entails. When it comes to mixing and mastering what has been recorded, many artists are unsure of the difference between the two, yet they remain crucial steps in the music production process. Knowing the difference between mixing and mastering allows artists to have more control over their artistic process and make their vision a reality.
Keep reading from Los Angeles music promotion agency Planetary Group to learn about the differences between mastering and mixing while producing music and how you can become proficient at doing both (or hiring people to do both) as you record, produce, and promote your music.
Understanding Mixing as Part of the Production Process
Recording and producing good music means recognizing the role that mixing plays in the overall quality of a song. Being skilled at mixing requires extensive knowledge of the way that sounds work together to create something that is greater than each sound alone.
Mixing, as part of the music production process, entails putting together multiple layers of audio to make one song. During mixing, audio will be tinkered with to allow it to work best with other types of audio. Things are made to be complementary so that disparate parts can create a cohesive whole. Sounds will be edited and vocals will be tuned. Equalization may be altered, filters and fades may be added, compression and delay may be incorporated, and the levels of certain instruments may be boosted. Special effects will be incorporated as needed. Unneeded frequencies and glitches in the audio may be removed.
When mixing instruments and sounds, an audio mix engineer will find a balance between the volume, frequencies, dynamics, and spatial placements. These engineers focus on altering each instrument so that they’re not too hard or soft or affecting the way that other instruments sound. Certain instruments serve as the building blocks for other elements. For example, bass and percussion are often the first things incorporated into a song, and then other instruments and vocals are added on top of it.
Audio mix engineers also have a deep understanding of how to manipulate certain sounds to create emotions while mixing. They know which sounds elicit which emotions in listeners and can engineer songs to create a specific response. This may mean adding something to hook the listener into the beginning of the song then playing with timing and tension for the rest of the song to maintain interest.
Why Mastering Is Important to the Production of a Song
Mastering is the act of polishing a track to make it even better; mastering cannot occur until mixing has been completed. Whereas mixing involves assembling an audio track, mastering involves adding finishing touches to make it the best it can be before audiences listen to it. Mastering is more concerned with the overall quality of the entire album, rather than each individual track on that album.
During the process of mastering, tracks will be compressed, equalized, and adjusted to achieve the specific effect that the artist wants. Fades will be added to the beginning and end of each song so that there can be an easy transition from one song to the next. A good audio mastering engineer will also understand the order in which songs should be placed on an album: there should be a seamless flow between all of the songs to create an easy, smooth experience for the listener.
Another reason that mastering is important to the music production process is that it ensures that the sound across the entire album is consistent. The job of an audio mastering engineer is to give each song on an album its own feel and identity while maintaining a common style throughout the work.
Audio mastering engineers also understand compressing audio and making tracks into easily shared and played files. They will embed track information into the files, compress tracks at the correct ratio, move them from mono to stereo, alter them to be playable on any type of stereo or audio device, and then package them so that they can be shared with audiences everywhere. Audio mastering engineers also serve as quality control, ensuring that a song doesn’t contain any flaws before being released to the public.
The Major Differences Between Mixing and Mastering
Mixing and mastering are both vital steps in the music production process. However, whether you should focus on one or the other depends on the overall sound that you want to achieve. Deciding which process is more necessary to the completion of your song rests upon how well you understand the difference between the two.
Mixing depends on consideration for all of the sounds involved in a track while mastering, on the other hand, occurs after the sounds have been mixed; mixing involves the use of multiple audio files while mastering involves the use of only one file. Mixing involves the creation of emotion and style while mastering focuses on making the song sound professional and easily played for radio promotion and playing on other various types of stereos.
Los Angeles Public Relations Agency for Musical Groups
Knowing how mastering is different from mixing allows artists to make decisions to create the sound that they’re seeking. When artists have completed recording and producing their music, they should know that they can use Planetary Group’s services to promote their work. We can help handle the creating and implementing of a promotional plan or public relations for musicians that you can use to distribute your work, get in touch with Planetary Group today by calling (323) 952-5050.