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  • Writer's pictureDavid Ronan

Everything you need to know about mastering music. The what, the how and the when.

Mastering is an essential step in the music production process that involves applying a series of techniques and processes to a finished mix in order to prepare it for distribution and reproduction. It is typically done after the mixing stage and can help to enhance the overall sound of a song or album and make it more consistent and polished.

What do I need to do mastering?

To do mastering, you will need a few key things:

  1. A high-quality audio recording that has been mixed and edited to your satisfaction.

  2. Mastering software and/or DAW, such as Adobe Audition, Pro Tools, or Izotope Ozone.

  3. Professional-grade mastering processors, such as digital equalisers, compressors, limiters, and/or exciter.

  4. A pair of reference speakers or headphones that you trust to accurately reproduce the audio.

  5. A quiet, acoustically treated space where you can listen to the audio at a comfortable volume.

In addition to these technical requirements, it is also important to have a good ear for sound and a clear understanding of the goals of the mastering process. This will help you to make the appropriate decisions about how to shape the sound of the audio and ensure that it meets the artist's vision.

How long does it normally take?

The length of time it takes to master a song or album can vary depending on the complexity of the material and the goals of the mastering engineer. In general, mastering can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. However, these days using online services such as LANDR, Masterchannel, e-Mastered or Bandlab you can get your tracks mastered in a few seconds using state-of-the-art AI technology similar to what we do in RoEx Automix.

Who normally does the mastering?

Mastering is typically done by a professional mastering engineer who has extensive experience and knowledge in the field. These engineers are trained to use the specialised tools and techniques required to create a polished, professional-grade master that is ready for distribution and reproduction. You can also use an online service like the ones we mentioned previously that are trained to act like a human mastering engineer. Some people like to master their own tracks themselves, but it's generally recommended you get someone or a piece of software to do it. This is because a 3rd party will have an unbiased opinion of how your track already sounds and what needs to be done to polish it.

When is mastering usually done?

Mastering is typically done after the recording, mixing, and editing of a song or album is complete. This process helps to ensure that the finished product sounds the best it can before it is released to the public. The exact timing of mastering can vary depending on the project and the preferences of the artist and producer involved. Some artists and producers prefer to do mastering immediately after mixing, while others prefer to take a break and come back to it with fresh ears. Ultimately, the most important thing is that the finished product sounds great and meets the artist's or producer's vision.

Why is mastering important?

Mastering is important for several reasons. First, it can help to improve the overall sound quality and consistency of a recording. For example, a mastering engineer can use EQ and compression to balance the levels and frequency spectrum of a mix, and this can help to make the audio sound more cohesive and polished.

Second, mastering can make a recording louder and more impactful. By using a limiter, a

mastering engineer can increase the overall loudness of a mix without sacrificing its dynamic range or quality. This can make the audio more impactful and engaging, and it can help it to stand out in a crowded market.

Third, mastering can help to ensure that a recording is compatible with different playback systems and formats. For example, a mastering engineer can use a process called dithering to reduce the resolution of a mix and make it compatible with different audio formats, such as MP3 or CD. This can help to ensure that the audio sounds good on a wide range of devices and systems.


Mastering is a crucial step in the music production process that can help to elevate the quality of a recording and make it stand out. By using specialised tools and techniques, a mastering engineer can improve the overall sound quality and consistency of a mix, make it louder and more impactful, and ensure that it is compatible with different playback systems and formats. Nowadays it is really easy to achieve these results by using online mixing and mastering services such as RoEx Automix or mastering services such LANDR or Masterchannel. You can use these services to get great-sounding results at a fraction of the cost and time of hiring a professional mastering engineer.

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