Mixing and Mastering, please define~

Posted on

Terry Ko
Member Since: May 10, 2007

I am confusing about the terms "Mixing" and "Mastering"

In my view,
"Mixing" is putting all different things(instrument/vocal) together with balance and proper manner.

"Mastering", by some books, are talking about the totally balance of the whole CD product.

Can anyone give me a precise meaning for both terms?

Sorry for disturbance by newbie like me :P

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Since: Apr 03, 2002

Oct 22, 2007 11:31 am

Yeah, you pretty much hit it...mixing is mixing instruments within a song, mastering is final touches such as final levels, frequency spectrum, the flow from song to song and such things...getting it ready for mass production or air play so to speak. AFter you are done mixing it down to two track stereo product you have a "premaster", you then take that premaster and master it, final compression, EQ, reverb, etc...then set spacing between songs, levels from song to song and whatnot.

Since: Jan 24, 2006

Oct 22, 2007 12:04 pm

I consider song mastering and CD mastering as slightly different.

For me

MIXING = setting all the tracks, panning etc.

SONG MASTERING = taking the final stereo WAV file and applying mastering functions such as loudness maximizing, stereo spectrum work, multi band compression etc.

CD MASTERING = balancing songs across a CD.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Oct 22, 2007 12:14 pm

Yeah, that's a tough call, using the umbrella description of "the CD project" is really not accurate, I had that same thought while typing my response...there IS mastering to be done within a song, and mastering to be done across a project...

I usually default to saysing mastering is "final touches" :-)

Since: Jan 10, 2007

Oct 24, 2007 07:04 am

For a professional recording process where tracking, mixing and mastering may be done at separate studios by different people this makes sense, but for the home recording experience you CAN put your mastering processes on the stereo bus such that mixing and mastering are done in one stage.

Of course when a professional comes to master your album he will try to make the mixes sound more similar in balance even if they were done by different people - its all he can do, because he can't go back and ask for changes to the mix - but you can.

e.g. Sometimes at the mastering stage you decide you need more bass - you only have the option of eq or multiband compression or some other bass enhancement - what you might actually need is just to tweak the level of the bass guitar, and not all the bass frequencies.

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