Audio Mastering at AudioIntegrity.com
When you need audio that is professionally mastered and ready for distribution onto a variety of different platforms, AudioIntegrity.com provides some of the best services in the industry.
What is audio mastering?
Audio mastering occurs after the audio has been recorded and just before the audio goes into production. The purpose of audio mastering is to take the recorded audio from its current mix and transfer it onto a data storage device known as the audio master. This audio master is the source from which all copies of the audio will be produced from. The purpose of the audio master is to create one single copy of the audio that is extremely high quality. This allows you to create copies of the audio master on different quality scales depending on what you are using them for. Having the audio master will provide you with peace of mind that if you need a really high quality sample, you can produce a copy of the audio master and know that it is the best it can possibly be. There are numerous different methods that you can use to create a copy of the audio master and these include pressing, duplication or replication. In most recent times, the most widely used format choice for an audio master is to store the data digitally. However, analog masters such as audio tapes are still being used across the industry.
How is audio mastering done?
Audio mastering is a complicated process that requires an intense amount of listening. As a mastering company like AudioIntegrity.com, it is their responsibility to listen to the audio thoroughly and use audio mastering tools such as software applications to effectively produce an extremely high quality final copy of the audio. There are many different software applications that have been developed to assist this last step of the process. Some of these tools cost several hundred dollars and many of them even costing thousands of dollars. Audio mastering is not something that can be completed at home, it has to be done by a professional company that has devoted their skills for this specific task. Additionally, there are many other factors that play into the need to leave audio mastering done by a professional company. The quality of your speakers and headphones can significantly affect your ability to listen to the audio and make changes appropriately. If you do not have highly expensive speakers or headphones to assist the process, the audio masters quality could be hindered. In addition to listening closely and making adjustments throughout the audio, the audio mastering process also requires that the company do corrective equalization and dynamic enhancements to improve the overall sound quality. Doing this step properly also ensures that sound translation will be accurate across all playback systems.
What type of equipment is required to do audio mastering professionally?
Professional companies that specialize in audio mastering invest thousands of dollars into their equipment. However, audio mastering is something that a lot of individuals have tried to do themselves out of their home. You see this a lot with musicians and rap artists that don’t have the budget to hire a professional audio mastering company. These individuals make music and attempt to do their own equalization and enhancement techniques with self bought software. The big downside of trying to do audio mastering yourself is that the effectiveness of your efforts is limited. When working on a home computer with average speakers and consumer priced software, there is only so much that you can achieve through your audio mastering efforts. Consumer priced software can only produce low quality music. In order to do audio mastering at a professional level that will produce a copy of the audio that is suitable for all types of playback, you have to invest a significant amount of money into a lot of equipment. Some of this equipment includes speakers, computer software, microphones, headphones, mixing tools, and equalization and enhancement tools.
Digital Storage and Playback Revolutionized the Audio Industry.
The most common type of audio mastering that is done today is based upon digital copies. This all started in the 1990s when digital recordings stored on hard drives and digital tapes, that could be later transferred to a CD, began to grow and take off in the music and audio industry. Digital storage has become the preferred way to store audio for most audio mastering companies. It is also the most popular way to play audio. Devices like cell phones, computers, tablets, and MP3 players all use digital storage to play their audio. Additionally, computers can load a CD which has digital copies of the audio stored onto it. CD’s act much like a hard drive does for storing digital audio. Digital technology has revolutionized the way audio is stored and played on devices across the world. It caused a lot of big changes for the audio mastering industry.
Although there are a lot of digital processing tools that are used throughout the audio mastering process, analog media processing equipment is still widely used during the mastering process as well. The benefits and negative attributes of storing and playing audio digitally are still in debate even though much of the world has now moved onto digital storage. However, in the field of audio mastering, the debate mainly revolves around whether digital is better than analog in signal processing. Many companies still believe that digital technology in signal processing has not advanced far enough to overtake analog processing. Due to this, there are significant brands in audio mastering that still use analog signal processing.
There is no real optimal level of mixing that audio mastering companies must abide by. Rather, there are specific mix levels that are optimal for the engineers to achieve during the audio mastery process. Most mastering engineers that are working around digital equipment have come to a consensus that 3 to 6 dB is the amount of headroom that must be provided in order to do a good mastering job.
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