On Mastering Your Own Tracks

Should you master your own tracks? I know that you’re probably jumping out of your seat right now, spewing off all of the responses that have become second nature for most engineers:

“Never master your own tracks!”

“It’s good to have a second opinion on your tracks that only a different mastering engineer can give you.”

“Mastering takes 20+ years of experience and $200,000 worth of gear and room.”

You’re right – if you’re talking about professional mastering. But what if you just want to make your tracks sound good?

The truth is that – if you want to do any job well, you need the right tools. I’m not going to say that you can get the same results mastering on a set of Yamaha HS-50M’s in an untreated bedroom as you can get in a perfectly tuned, treated mastering suite.

But you probably already know that. Here’s what you probably haven’t heard too often – “you can master your tracks and make them sound really good.”

[wc_box color=”primary” text_align=”left”][wc_heading type=”h1″ title=”Mastering, in many ways, is just like any other skill – practice makes perfect.” text_align=”left”][/wc_box]

It just takes practice and a good bit of knowledge.

If you have the time, money, and hookups to get your tracks mastered professionally, then go for it.

But if you don’t, then your next best option is to do it yourself.

So what are the things you need to know about mastering?

You need to know how to apply a little bit of EQ, reverb, compression, and limiting in order to get a track that sounds loud and translates across many systems.

A good mix will get you most of the way there, but mastering is the last and final step.

If you’d like to learn about the nitty-gritty details involved in mastering your tracks, be sure to check out Nashville Demo Mastering v2, where we sit down with Chris Sy and learn all of the essentials for mastering an indie rock track.


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