What Is The Difference Between Mixing And Mastering?
Mixing and mastering music are two different things, but both are equally important stages of the audio production process. Generally, mixing is the step before mastering. The mixing process involves adjusting and combining individual tracks together to form a stereo audio file after mixdown. After this, the file is mastered. The mastering process makes sure that the several songs are polished and form a connection full on an album. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between mixing and mastering. So, let’s take a deeper insight into the differences between mixing a mastering.
The Difference Between Mixing And Mastering
Mixing is the beginning of the post-production process. During mixing, an engineer shapes and balances the individual audio tracks to sound good when played together. Mastering is the last process of audio production. Mastering involves:
- Positioning the finishing touches on a song by increasing the overall sound.
- Making consistency over the album.
- Preparing it for distribution.
The mixing is about enhancing the artist’s vision. While mastering is about enhancing the quality of sound. It ensures that the song sounds just as good (or better) than everybody else’s. So let’s break down mixing and mastering separately.
What Is Mixing?
After finishing recording individual audio tracks, the project is now ready to be mixed. During the mixing process, an engineer will edit, adjust pitch or time, control fades, adjust track levels, and implement automation. It is important that your mix should sound equally great on a broad range of playback systems. This will ensure your mix not only sounds like gold in your studio but also everywhere else. However, you should make sure to test your mix on earbuds, headphones, and other speakers.
When everything sounds like you want, you are formally completed with your mix. And you can now proceed with mastering.
What Is Mastering?
When you are finished with your mix, it is time for mastering. Mastering is the last stage where your music or audio undergoes before distribution. The main objective of the mastering is to polish your mix to its best presentation and make it ready for distribution on CD, vinyl, the internet, and other platforms. During mastering, the mastering engineer uses linear-phase EQs, compressors, brick wall limiters, and vibe-enhancing effects to provide your mix with a radio-friendly sound. If your mix needs to be significantly transformed to build it sound great, you should most likely go back to the mixing process and resolve what went wrong. Generally, mastering is about enhancing a good mix.
Several mastering engineers like to put mastering effects or processing on their 2-bus during mixing. So, mastering is an individual process with an entirely different end goal from mixing. Mastering is the process where an album is assembled, and the songs are positioned in the desired order. However, it is recommended that before starting the mastering stage, you should wait for a while, as long as possible, once your mix is completed.
We hope you have understood the differences between mixing and mastering. Both mixing and mastering are equally important stages of audio production. While mixing marks the start of post-production, mastering is the final stage of audio production. Mixing provides you access to each instrument in music. During mastering you only have access to the final mix.