What is the difference between MIXING and MASTERING?
What is Mixing?
Mixing is when you take each individual element within your song and set its volume level, stereo panning, and EQ adjustments, plus add any effects for that part, independent of all of the other elements in the song. The goal of mixing is to create a good balance of levels and stereo spread for all the sounds you contributed to your song, and also add effeccts to create the right kind of character that you feel best represents your style of music.
What is Mastering?
Mastering is when we take the resulting stereo mixdown from your song's mix and apply EQ, leveling, and audio sweetening adjustments to the entire combined track song to ensure the overall sound is optimized for best audio output in any playback device and also up to industry standards for your genre of music.
How does CDP Mastering online mastering work?
Explanation of how you can use our Smart Online Mastering System for your songs, and a description of the full CDP Mastering process, are included on our How Online Mastering Works page.
How do I know if I need mastering?
If your tracks have been mixed together and your project is now best described by the following criteria, then you are probably ready for Audio Mastering:
If these descriptions sound like they match your song then you are likely ready to proceed with mastering. You can begin the online automated mastering process by entering your project name and contact email address (for mastered file download) at our START PAGE.
- You feel like it's "almost there", but can't quite figure out how to finish it to get it exactly as you want it to sound.
- It sounds good as-is, but just needs that little extra "professional feel" to it.
- Everything is good as-is, but it doesn't sound quite loud and/or full enough.
How do I know if I my song needs to be mixed better before I have it mastered?
Here are some example situations that could indicate you still need to do additional mixing work prior to mastering your music:
While these situations all are potential indicators that additional efforts on the mix may help it sound better when it's mastered, in some cases it's also possible that mastering alone could sufficiently improve the music for you. Luckily, our online automated mastering system is very inexpensive. So, if you feel your mix may be close enough to ready, it's an easy and affordable decision to have your song mastered to test how it will turn out. You can begin the online automated mastering process by entering your project name and contact email address (for mastered file download) at our START PAGE.
- You have recorded your material, but have not done any editing, EQ work, added effects, or made any adjustments to levels or panning.
- You have recorded your material and done some degree of mixing, but only to achieve a basic blended sound and you know there is still a good amount more that could be done to get it to sound the way it should sound.
- You've recorded and mixed all your material and feel the final mixdown is fair to good, but you know a lot more can be done to it - you just don't have the time, experience, or equipment to get it there.
- It sounds okay, roughly speaking, but when you and others listen to it critically you get comments such as "I can't understand your lyrics", "how come the guitar is so loud", or "why does the beat sound so boomy and muddy".
- You're mostly happy with your overall mix, but aren't completely certain the relative volume levels between your vocals and instrumental/beat parts have been set perfectly.
Do I need to prepare my music in a specific way to be ready for mastering?
You can upload any standard stereo audio file (WAV, MP3, M4A, WMA, AIFF) for fast online mastering through CDP Mastering and our system will work on it until it has produced the best mastered results it can for the mix you provided.
However, if you want to help maximize the results there are some things you can do in the mix to prepare it for mastering. A list with tips and hints for preparing your music for mastering is provided by Crazy Daisy Mastering on their website - Important Tips for Preparing Your Tracks for Audio Mastering .
Can I Hear Examples Of What Mastered Songs Sound Like?
Yes. We have several before-after mastering examples you can listen to as a way to hear how our automated online mastering system can help enhance your sound. Check them out at our Hear Mastering Examples page.
Can I Get A Free Mastering Sample From One Of My Own Songs?
Yes! You can upload one or more of your own audio files and test out our instant online mastering for free to hear how it would turn out on your track. You can even select from the list of our available genres of mastering and hear the difference each sound style makes for your own songs to help you make the best genre choice when you decide to have the entire track mastered. Upload your files for your free online mastering now at our FREE AUTOMATED ONLINE MASTERING SAMPLE page.