Home Recording – Mastering for fun – Primer

Previous Article – Mastering How?

If you read my previous article you’ll understand that this article is not for professional purposes but for those wanting to get started and those who want to have giggles with mastering.

We’ll call this a primer shall we?

Let’s forget environment and monitor speakers – did you hear that? I’m sure I heard somebody faint – yup definitley heard some kind of thunk…

Truth is even though good studio monitors and a well prepared room are an absolute neccesity they’re not always that easily acheivable – the DIY musician has to get over this – it’s expensive and the return is not enough to warrant the expense.

And besides didn’t we agree this was for fun?

Confessions of an ignorant nicompoop…

Monitor speakers are important for mastering – I’m sorry it’s the truth.

‘studio monitors are physically robust, to cope with the high volumes and physical knocks that may happen in the studio, and studio monitors are used for listening at shorter distances (e.g., near field) than hi-fi speakers, though nothing precludes them from being used in a home sized environment. As well, studio monitors are increasingly self-amplified (active), although not exclusively so, while hi-fi speakers usually require external amplification.’ – Wikipedia

A decent monitoring system is beyond useful especially when mixing and mastering.

But, um, I’ve erm used um well I’m almost embarassed to say this but um well I’ve used a set of Diamonds and a Nad amp.

THERE I SAID IT – I was young and foolish, ok.

Didn’t kill anyone though and although it was the wrong thing to do, the environment those songs were recorded, mixed and mastered in was shockingly bad.

Now I’m not gonna crow or anything but the songs that came from that environment were very well received.

One even won an award.

Lets’ face facts – when you record and then play that song back to someone who isn’t a musician are they hearing the song or the recording?

When was the last time a non musician turned around and said,

‘You know you could do with rolling off  the….’

It doesn’t happen does it?

Thinks about your audience.

Do they really care?

‘But Metawwica’s fans sent back Death Magnetic because it was clipping and too loud meh meh meh’

So what, don’t make your recordings too loud then. Just cos you can get it to eleven doesn’t mean you have to.

Look know your audience and be realistic with what you want to achieve.

Keep your recordings musical.


Shit in, Shit out – simple rule get your recorded tracks the best you can.

We’ll fix it in the Mix‘ – STOP – get your mix right in the first place.

A correct mix will need very little doing to it, or it should do.

The mastering stage is about giving it a little shine and getting the levels up.

Fixing things here is just gonna create more work.


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