Mastering is one of my favorite processes in working on a song.
In mastering, it’s important to know what kind of sound you’re looking for. If you already have it in mind it’s the best but if you haven’t its ok too. You just have to go and look for a reference track in your genre, or the genre you produced your song, and try to figure out the specific sound you’re after, then it will be easier to achieve it.
Sound is a matter of taste. The song you’re working for, has to sound good for you, first of all. It doesn’t matter if you want it to sound in a head or softer style- as long as you like it. Once you know the direction, don’t compromise on it! Your song deserves nothing but 100% quality and sound in the mastering process.
One of the main tools when mastering an audio is EQ. I’m always looking to highlight the best frequencies of the audio. I’m taking the most interesting frequencies and giving them a touch of boost and reduce the ones that are over the top and not doing the best service to my track.
It’s important to point out that there are many EQ tools around in the market. The trick in finding the right one for you to master your files is to find something that you are familiar with and easy to know it’s know- hows. Each one is different but don’t be afraid to experiment.
The one trick pony, that makes the magic happen with my tracks is the analog Tube Compressor (Behringer Composer do the work in my studio). With that I can setup my mastering and get the crisp sound and the warm feeling I like for my tracks. I highly recommend having one in your studio. A virtual plugin, one of many in the market, can work pretty good as well.
Finally, and one of the important equipment's in a studio in general and especially when mastering a track, are the monitors. The monitors should be your ear’s best friend. It is really important to have high quality monitors that will have less cosmetic effect on your sound and will get you the cleanest sound as possible, with no interruptions (for that matter i strongly recommend the Yamaha HS-8 or the HD-5).
All of the above is a glimpse of the hard work called mastering. I hope you’ll find it useful in your process and projects.
I wish you all the best with your mastering and I will be glad to answer any question you may have. Me and my studio always at your service.