Sound mastering is a complex process. Consequently, it consists of several steps like any other similar process. If you consider mastering in general and in theory, it consists of only 3 steps: editing, processing and transferring recorded audio in a necessary format. In practice, mastering consists of much more steps. This article refers to 12 out of them.
1. Audio Analysis
Before you start mastering, you should thoroughly analyze the audio to estimate its quality, to discover different flaws and if possible to eliminate them. There can be such main flaws in the audio as impulse interferences, noises, pickups, hum and different distortions of the signal.
Editing is performed after the analysis of a track in case there aren’t any technical flaws in it. Editing is not a compulsory procedure. However, it is often needed, for example, to copy a part or to eliminate excessive pauses at the beginning and at the end of the audio. Editing is necessary in this case.
3. Level Normalization
Normalization is a process which changes the signal in such a way that its loudest peak reaches the target level. Similar to the case with editing, the question about the necessity of normalization remains disputable. If the peak level of the audio is too low, normalization will help to correct this situation. Meanwhile normalization raises an overall level of the audio and along with it accordingly all its noises. If the audio has been normalized to 0 dB, it will be distorted to a greater extent during further processing.
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