This mastering guide is meant to teach you the skills you need to get a decent master for your track using iZotope Ozone 8 Standard. This guide will educate you on the mastering process and get up to speed with the essential mastering techniques.
We are going to break down this guide into 6 sections:
What is mastering?
Mastering is the process of finalizing a song by applying subtle technical touches that make it sound professional and “radio-ready.” A mastering engineer is responsible for preparing and submitting files to the label or various digital domains for ingestion (ie: preparing a “master.”)
The goals of mastering
When coming up with a master, there are a few things you should look out for. Here are some tips:
- The master should play well on a wide range of systems, from laptop speakers, to earbuds, to a car stereo, to a high-end sound system).
- The master should sound like a finished product.
- The master should meet technical specifications by label / artists / digital streaming platforms.
- The master should enhance the mix.
I can’t stress enough the importance of point 4. Many engineers and producers can get so carried away with mastering a track that they lose sight of where they started. Ultimately, your master should be enhancing the sonic quality of the mix you started with.
Rule of thumb stuff
Here are 5 tips worth remembering when approaching the mastering process:
- Whenever possible, master in a room that you’re familiar with.
- A/B your master against your mix at matched levels. Ozone 8’s gain matched bypass feature allows you to do that.
- Work fast and don’t spend more than 30 mins on a single song.
- If you’re tired or out of ideas, close your session, take a break, and come back to it later.
- Do not over process. Do not over process. Do not over process. Mastering is about subtle touches and nuanced decisions that go a long way.
Ready to get started? Check out Signal Flow & Metering next.