How To Master Your Song

  • James Parker
  • January 14, 2022

Mastering your song can be confusing and complicated; we understand that. But it’s also essential to bring the work together in a harmonious way. That does not mean mastering the song in a manner that changes the entire aesthetic or tone. But, it often means adjusting the music to bring a finished feel to your work. 

We suspect that you already have a good idea of how important this process is, that’s why you’ve come to us! So don’t worry at all; you’re in excellent hands on this one. 

And you can master your song on your own! Yet, industry professionals specializing in this bring these works to a complete state.

We’ll be taking some cues from those pros that do it the best. So we make sure that you feel comfortable and confident when you lay the finishing touches on your song. From picking the correct equipment, programs or using the best practices, We have compiled everything you need to know in this list.

Mixing or Mastering? Knowing The Difference:

The difference can be subtle to some that are not familiar, but several things set them apart. Mastering means bringing all the sounds on an album to the point of harmony and completion. Mixing is more focused on adjusting the different levels of each song to build a sort of mass melody.

Mastering is like coordinating Halloween costumes with friends and having an organized theme. But mixing is akin to all your friends going as individuals with great costumes that don’t mingle.

Tips Before Mastering Your Song.

  1. You need to understand your references. But you need to make sure these references are appropriate to the genre of your work. Try to locate songs like yours. Then obtain an intact file that is the highest quality, such as .WAV; this will give you a clear picture of how yours should sound in the end. 
  2. Leave room for the mastering. It’s an easy mistake to make but avoidable. You can leave about 12 dB of headroom to master.
  3. Master at the highest resolution possible. You want to produce at the highest end that your system can take. And from there, you can take these files for mastering. Watch out for any sample rate conversion as well.
  4. Put the final touches on the ending and beginning of the songs. It’s as simple as creating a fade in and out sometimes. Listen to your songs, where they cut in and out to make sure there aren’t any clicks or technical glitches there.

Step 1: Balancing!

Listen to your song altogether without pauses or interruption. It is your last chance before proceeding, so be sure there isn’t a part that you aren’t happy with the volume of or a piece that you’d like to skip! You must do this to settle in with the music and ensure there isn’t anything you want or need to change. 

Utilize the reference tracks that we mentioned earlier to give yourself an idea of what you need to shoot for when balancing the music. While you can do this with your ears, you can use tools to help out! We recommend a software called Tonal Balance Control. It will give you a comprehensive representation of the spirit throughout the music. Or consider using a SPAN; it’s a free frequency analyzer alternative to Tonal Balance Control. 

But don’t let these tools keep you from listening to your ears! Sometimes they know best! 

Step 2: Try some things out!

Many try and fail to add things in when mastering; this may give the impression that you shouldn’t try at all. Yet, there is a way you can do this and bring a flourish to it!  It can seem counterintuitive but trust us!

Get experimental and add some harmonics here or there. Or add some saturation! The idea is to try something and see where it takes you; keep in mind these changes shouldn’t be significant.

Doing these things as a beginner can not only help your music reach the next tier. But it can also help you learn on the move! What you do and don’t like, also what works and doesn’t! 

Step 3: Loudness! 

Your music needs to be appropriately loud. You need to decide what this master will be for; the best mastering level for streaming will be an integrated -14 LUFS. So we’ll focus on that. 

Understand that this means we can’t push our songs to be louder than the next guys anymore. The site will bring it down to an equal -14 LUFS. So unless you like the sound of it, there’s no need to blast your volumes.

Consider using a program like Youlean Loudness Meter for this. Focus on the loudest parts of your song here. And make sure that you can use limiters but don’t put your ceiling any higher than 1 DB. 

There are many more minor details to worry about when it comes to this step that is for another time. But doing more research on what loudness can mean for mastering will make all the difference.

So, in conclusion, mastering your songs is a challenging task, to be sure. Yet, it’s not as daunting with help and understanding! We’ve all taken that first step, and we understand how intimidating all those numbers and dials are. But, you can bring your songs to a state of completion that anybody would be proud of.