Mastering is the final step of audio production. The purpose of mastering is broken down into three stages. The first purpose is to balance all of the instruments of a stereo mix. The next step should optimize playback across all media formats. The last step is making sure that each song on an album sounds cohesive and part of a whole body of work.
Traditionally, mastering is done using four tools. First is equalization. The second one is a compressor. A third device on the list is limiting. Last is a stereo enhancer. The stereo enhancement would include a sum and side processor.
Mastering is also the process of treating all of the songs on an album together as one unit. The treatment of songs takes a three-step process. The first purpose is to make the songs sound like they belong together on the same record. Secondly, the goal is to attain a cohesiveness to your songs. Lastly, the songs will be brought up to industry standard level for distribution on all forms of media.
Multiple Formats To Master To
We put the final master into Ozone 7. This program allows us to hear the result of the song put into any media format. There are multiple places to put your music online. Each has their own independent set of rules, and those rules are not standardized. Ozone lets us hear what those separate rules sound like before placing them on the different sites. Spotify is different than Sound Cloud, who is different from YouTube. You get the idea.
Right now there is no standard. We have to make a different master for each. A studio that hands you just one does not understand that problem. Ozone 7 makes it possible to adjust for the many different media formats while listening back and forth from the master. This flexibility lets us make those adjustments sound better because we hear what it does to your music and we can compensate for those variances for the best possible result. We will provide you several different masters based on those individual site criteria. Please refer to our Media Page for song examples.
A Pristine Approach
Starsound Studios has mastering equipment. We take an immaculate sonic approach to mixing and mastering. Starsound Studios melds them together. Instead of taking the traditional approach which is to blend the audio of a song independently of mastering. Then, open another program to master the song separate of the mixing stage. We do it all together at once.
We first run the summed audio out of the analog summing box into our analog 500 modules. It goes through our three Rupert Neve Designs modules. The analog stereo result is brought back inside of Pro-Tools by an auxiliary track.
The audio then receives further digital processing if necessary by plugins on that auxiliary track. The further processing would include our custom made pre-set on the Studer tape plugin. We then use broad strokes with our Baxandall Equalizer or use a very surgical approach with our Sum and Side plugin - or both. Last but not least is the audio limiter. It is used to bring a song track up to that competitive radio level.