Mastering engineering is a skill which takes years to develop and is only for those with finely tuned ears to pay attention to detail within dense sound images. Mastering engineering as a whole refers to the entire mastering process but then process is made up of a number of different components.
For instance, mastering engineering can refer to the entire process of creating an image file for an entire record. Once the artist has finished recording their record and the mixing engineer has created the best possible final mix of a particular song, that engineer renders the various individual pieces which make up the complete song into one final file.
Each of those files which make up the various songs on the record are then sent to the mastering engineer and put together in the sequence which will make up the album. The engineer pays attention to spacing between tracks as per the artist’s preferences and writes data to each track such as the individual ISRC codes and title information. Once the table of contents and everything else is completed on that record and everything is precisely the way that the artist wants it, that image file for the entire record is now set to be sent off to the replication plant.
It’s imperative that everything which makes up that CD image file is perfect to be sent off to the CD or vinyl replication plant otherwise it can prove to be a very costly mistake.
The real key to mastering engineering is in the audio production itself. Even after the final mix has been delivered to the mastering engineer, there is still a lot of work which can be done to those individual files. The engineer uses the careful applications of certain tools and plug-ins such as EQ to draw more or less attention to certain ranges of the mix in order to give it its most pristine and strongest presentation. Other common effects include reverb and compression in order to give the track more of a three-dimensional feel to it as well as a more unified sound throughout without sacrificing peaks and the dynamics of the mix.
Mastering engineering is very subjective in terms of what sounds good and what sounds best which is the true purpose for having your music master. Because it’s so subjective, obviously certain engineers are more popular than others. You should never have to take a risk when looking into a new engineer which is why the most reputable engineers out there offer free test masters to the you can experience the changes will make to your music without risking any money.