AUP230 Week 10
The heat of this trimester cooled down a bit as we kick started our mastering intensive. I have always wanted to learn about mastering as I would like to do quick masters for my clients for my mixing jobs. Over the studies we did in SAE, we have pretty much covered most aspects or fields in the audio industry, namely recording, mixing and post, with mastering being the last piece of the puzzle. That is why I am very excited for the lessons and Dave is honestly one the most knowledgable audio partitioner I know in person which made the lessons even better.
We spent our time inside the mastering suite, the room which none of us get to actually spend time in throughout our studies. Inside the room, we learnt about the important principles of mastering and how mastering gears work. As a mastering engineer, your major work is to deliver, to level the tracks, to maintain consistency amongst systems and personnels and to smoothen out the album as a whole. One of the most important lesson learnt is the concept of loudness and its relationship between peaks and RMS. Peaks do not actually matter for loudness as we all aim for -0.1dB. What truly matters is RMS.
Apart from concepts, we also learnt about the use of mastering gears which are not used as much in mixing. They include dynamic EQ, multi-band compressors and brick wall limiters. Most of the mastering oriented gears have set parameters instead of free knobs for greater ease of maintaining consistency over tracks. Another common feature of mastering plug-ins are having the knob of Mid-Side. MS knobs are one of the mastering engineers’ best weapon as they allow finer control over tracks without the access of stems and without destroying the mix.