We’re scheduled for a short mastering session at Ante Up studios in downtown Cleveland. Their facility is top notch (we cut drum tracks there this past December), and we’re excited to return there.
Mastering has always been a nebulous subject: what exactly are they doing with the songs? What happens in those magic pieces of custom gear in their equipment racks?
We learned much about mastering when we worked on our last release. Mastering is (if done well) very subtle but extremely effective in terms of cleaning up and solidifying the overall sound of the mixed song. It may involve some compression of certain frequency ranges in the mix, limiting, application of EQ, application of overall reverb, or some combination of those factors. Mastering also generally includes putting the songs in their final album order and creating transitions or pauses between tracks.
We used to expect a song to sound completely different after it came back from mastering. Now we understand that mastering will make the song sound cleaner, tighter and more “glued together”, but not substantially “different”.
We’re excited to be able to sit down with the mastering engineer tomorrow so we can hopefully learn more about the art and take that knowledge back here so we can create better mixes.