The Art Of Mixing And Mastering
The process of mastering begins with the art of proper mixing; there are numerous steps to take in mixing that will ensure easier mastering. Whether you are taking on the project by yourself or handing it over to a professional, you should follow these steps to make the process easier. Files containing audio recorded using high resolution should absolutely be mixed at high resolution. During the entire mastering project, be sure and maintain the high resolution and only, at the end of the project and prior to creating your CDs, change to 16-bit. Please remember that individual tracks are not to be dithered nor should any fades be added at this point; cross fades and fades are done during the mastering process. Waiting until this time will give you the knowledge of what the proper fade times are.
Also do not normalize the track prior to mixing and mastering online service mastering it as this will cause a breakdown in sound quality and will result in double work being performed as the levels between tracks will need to be readjusted again later. In some situation you may decide that when trimming the beginning and end of the songs, that s little bit of background noise is better than dead air or you may decide to insert some anticipatory space in order to avoid an abrupt change from silence to music. Noise reduction is another option to consider as in some situations, at very low sound levels you may notice some type of humming, hissing, or low level white noise. If isolating and obtaining a clean sample of the low level sound is an option, then you can use a noise reduction computer program to remove the unwanted sound. Removing even the slightest unwanted sound will provide an improved stereo sound.
Additional processing should be added to individual channels and not to the mix as a whole, leave the processing of completed mixed until you get to the mastering stage. While mixing, be sure and pay attention to any sound distortions that may occur. They may not be audible while listening to the mix but rather show up when adding EQ or during the mastering process. The option of losing a few decibels is favored over the risk of distortion in the final production. Adding normalization in not a favored technique as it may distort the sound resulting in additional fixes and changes when producing the finished product.
Most importantly, you must always, prior to mastering your work, back up the original mixes. In doing do you will have a mixed track that is easier to re-master for whatever reason.