In a December 1997 Mix magazine interview, world-renowned mastering engineer Bernie Grundman said, “[Mastering Engineers] are the last creative step of the process and the first step of manufacturing.”
Take a few minutes and grab a dozen of your favorite CDs and/or records and look for the mastering engineer credits. You’ll start to recognize a few names that have been doing this for a long time. Names like: Bernie Grundman, Bob Ludwig, Bob Katz, John Golden, and George Marino, just to name a few.
Though mysterious sounding, Mastering refers to a series of processes, including equalization, compression, limiting, level matching, editing, song sequencing, and spacing, etc. The mastering process takes place after the final, two-track mixdown. In essence, mastering is the post-production step of the recording process.
For many mastering jobs, the source material is uneven from cut to cut. One song might have too much low end, while another may have too much high end, and another may require fading at the end. While it may seem that the mix engineer should ensure smooth transitions from cut to cut, it is difficult for one person to keep track of the levels from cut one when he’s working on cut fourteen. Mastering deals with these types of issues.
Posted in: Mastering
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