Oregon Sound

MUSIC MASTERING

While Oregon Sound Recording is not a dedicated mastering suite, our control room is very well designed acoustically and our monitors are true, and many projects have been mastered here. We generally do mastering in software, where we have a wide variety of appropriate plugins.

If you plan to mix your own project and would like it mastered here, email or call before you begin mixing to discuss the options and best methods for preparing mixes for mastering.



DEFINITION OF MASTERING

Because Mastering is another term that is frequently misunderstood, (often confused with mixing), following is a brief explanation.

Mixing is the process of taking all the elements of a music recording, i.e. the individual instruments and voices, balancing them, making timbre and dynamics changes (EQ and compression), and adding effects to “mix them down,” to a stereo (or surround) version that is in some format playable by the public, such as a wav or mp3 file.

Mastering is what happens after all the mixes for a project are finished, and comprises taking those mixed stereo (or surround) files and putting the finishing touches on them to prepare them for playback in the real world, often as part of a collection of mixes for a CD or EP. This involves making mostly subtle changes to their volumes, timbres and dynamics to make them consistent from song to song, and suitably loud for contemporary listening. It’s also the time that the songs are placed in their desired order, with the proper spacing or cross-fading between them.

I always recommend that, whenever the budget allows, projects be mastered somewhere other than where they are mixed, to provide an objective listening by an unbiased engineer in a different environment. There is a reason that all of the world’s best engineers still take their mixes to mastering houses before they’re released.