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The Basics of Audio CD Mastering

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The Basics of Audio CD Mastering

Recording a CD is a complicated process which calls on the skills of a great many people. The musicians must prepare the initial musical material before heading into the recording studio to lay down tracks. The recording engineer is responsible for capturing the sounds and mixing them together. The mixing stage may be followed by an editing and processing stage, at which point the recording is ready for audio CD mastering. Audio Recording is changing, but the basics remain the same

Audio CD mastering is a specialized field requiring musical knowledge, a technical background, and excellent ears. The mastering engineer has to be familiar with a broad range of musical styles and able to produce a final recording that sounds good on a variety of sound systems. He has to consider the requirements of the artist and the producer and present a final recording that is satisfying to everyone involved.

Music is often recorded on multitrack tape, and after the tracks have been recorded, they need to be mixed down to stereo. Each song can take anywhere from several hours to several days to mix down before beginning on the next song. Various songs may be mixed down at different time of the day and with different people giving their opinions. This can result in an uneven sound between songs. The purpose of audio CD mastering is to give a consistent overall sound to the entire CD project.

The mastering engineer should preferably be a different person from the producer who mixed down the music. This will allow the music to be heard from an independent perspective. The mastering engineer uses sophisticated processing equipment to provide an overall polish to the sound of the CD project. Audio CD mastering is the final stage before pressing the CD and releasing it commercially.

Audio CD mastering should be done in a mastering studio which is different from the mixing studio. The mastering studio should be acoustically inert to prevent any coloration to the sound. The equipment used for mastering must be of very high-quality so that the engineer can hear all the details of the sound.

Once the CD has been mastered, it is sent to a pressing plant for mass producing the CD. Without going through the audio CD mastering stage, the CD would lack the professional sound that is required for commercial recordings.
 

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