So for most of us, (but not all, especially not if you’ve gone through Project Studio Mastering) mastering is certainly a dark art. It’s so dark that most people aren’t even aware of what it does for your final tracks. Let’s go through what good mastering can bring to your project:
1. Competitive levels – good mastering will turn up the overall apparent volume of a track while still maintaining artistic dynamic range. Bad mastering will turn up the overall apparent volume of a track without maintaining artistic dynamic range. It’s a balancing act, people, and the best mastering engineers can make it look easy.
2. Overall spectral balance – getting a track to sound balanced on most systems is a difficult thing to do. If a song has been mastered well, you’ll hear the perfect balance of bass, mid range, and high end on almost any system (obviously iPhone earpods have some limitations.)
3. Glue. Good mastering is like the final stage that glues all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Using reverb, compression, and stereo enhancing effects, you can take a decent track and make it sounds flawless.
Still not convinced? Check out this video that shows Waves plug-ins being used to master tracks:
Then, check out Project Studio Mastering and get your chops up!