Mas­ter­ing de­mys­ti­fied

Future Music - - WELCOME - Si Truss, Edi­tor si­mon.truss@fu­

There’s an of­ten re­peated cliche that mas­ter­ing is a kind of ‘dark art’ – a deep and im­pen­e­tra­ble sci­ence that is be­yond the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of mere mor­tals. How­ever, given the amount of tu­to­ri­als, cour­ses and mass-mar­ket plug­ins out there, all de­signed to tackle the mas­ter­ing process, this is clearly non­sense.

In re­cent years, more and more artists are start­ing to mas­ter their own tracks. Take Four Tet, for ex­am­ple, who claims that none of his re­cent al­bums have been passed by a mas­ter­ing en­gi­neer. In fact, there are now sev­eral on­line ser­vices out there, such as LANDR and BandLab, which claim to be able to mas­ter your tracks au­to­mat­i­cally, us­ing al­go­rithms in place of pro­fes­sional mas­ter­ing ex­perts.

That’s not to say that the process doesn’t re­quire a fair amount of skill and ex­per­tise, but given the power of mod­ern DAWs and plug­ins, th­ese are now tech­niques that even the most cash-strapped pro­ducer can get to grips with at home. Head for this is­sue’s cover fea­ture, on page 28, and let’s dive into some es­sen­tial mas­ter­ing tools and tech­niques...

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