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Mastering Engineering – Everything You Need To Know


We spend countless hours producing, mixing and recording music and audio. But just when you think you’ve completed that all-important project, there’s one last step to ensure the project sounds its best – mastering engineering.

No matter how great your track sounds, mastering engineer use their years of experience, knowledge and equipment to finesse it to perfection. With this in mind, what is mastering and why is it so important? This article will delve into the intricate world of mastering, covering every aspect from what mastering is, types, process and much more.

What is Mastering Engineering?

Mastering engineering is the process whereby a piece of music or audio is polished to enhance and improve it for a professional release. Typically in a mastering process, the engineer looks for ways to balance and unify the sound, enhance dynamic range and improve sonic characteristics such as clarity, brightness, depth and width.

A mastering engineer will listen to and analyse the recording, using a suite of advanced tools and techniques including hard and soft filtering, equalisation, dynamic range control, stereo imaging and more. They will then make adjustments to the various elements in order to bring cohesion, depth and clarity to the recording.

Types of Mastering Engineering

When it comes to mastering, there are two main types of approaches that a mastering engineer can take; online and offline.

Online Mastering

This type of mastering takes place in a virtual environment, with the engineer working remotely, usually in direct collaboration with the artist or producer. Online mastering provides a faster process at a lower cost, and generally provides a superior quality level.

Offline Mastering

Offline mastering takes place in a physical studio setting with the engineer behind the console. It takes a more traditional approach to mastering and allows for more fine-tuning of the mix. Offline mastering is more expensive and time consuming as the engineer needs to be present, however it is often preferable due to its superior sound quality.

The Mastering Process

The mastering process typically consists of the below steps:

01. Analysis – the engineer listens to the audio track and makes relevant notes on the sound quality and dynamic range.

02. Processing – the engineer applies the relevant tools to the audio track to perfect the sound.

03. Correction – the engineer remains vigilant, correcting any unwanted audio anomalies.

04. Volume Control – to ensure the audio is well balanced and consistent throughout, the engineer will adjust the volume levels.

05. Refinement – this is where the engineer adds the final touches to the track and adds depth to the sound.

Benefits of Mastering Engineering

Mastering engineers can significantly enhance and improve sound quality, offering their expertise to turn a great recording into an outstanding one. Having a well-mastered track is the first step towards an engaging and well-received release. Below are five of the main benefits of having your track mastered by a professional:

1. Consistency – a mastering engineer will provide a consistent sound quality across all tracks, ensuring there is cohesion between them.

2. Professional Quality – experienced engineers will be able to take your track to the next level and bring it up to professional standards.

3. Dynamic Range – mastering engineers are experts at improving the dynamic range of a recording, using compression to even out the sound and give it depth and clarity.

4. Brightness and Clarity – mastering engineers apply adjustments to add brightness and clarity, giving the track a polished and refined sound.

5. Enhances Mixdown – engineers have access to a number of advanced tools and techniques to ensure the mixdown sounds its best.

In Summary

Having your track professionally mastered is a crucial step in the production and release process.  Mastering engineers are highly skilled professionals with access to advanced tools and techniques, ensuring that a great recording is elevated to an outstanding one.

Whether you opt for online or offline mastering, their experience can give you a competitive edge when it comes to your track and how it will be received by music fans.


Q: What is mastering engineering?

A: Mastering engineering is the process whereby a piece of music or audio is polished to enhance and improve it for a professional release.

Q: What types of mastering are there?

A: There are two main types of mastering; online and offline.

Q: What is the benefits of mastering?

A: The benefits of mastering include providing a consistent sound quality, improved dynamic range, increased brightness and clarity and a more polished mixdown.

Q: How long does mastering take?

A: The time taken to master a track depends on the complexity of the track, size and type of mastering, but typically it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.


Mastering engineering is an art-form that can take your track to the next level, giving it the professional polish it needs. With the right engineer, you can ensure your track stands out from the crowd and translates across to music fans.

Whether you choose to go for online or offline mastering, having professional mastered audio is the perfect way to give your track an edge and make sure you hit your target. The experienced engineers will be able to take any recording and turn it from great to amazing with their carefully tuned ears.

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