With the boom in the home computer industry, home recording has really taken off and it’s quite manageable to record your own music at home and on a micro budget. Going one step further, a lot of artists are interested in mastering their own music to save on costs there, as well. This is possible, as well, though not as recommended because it’s generally never a good idea to have the same person record and master your music, especially you.
It’s much more rewarding to get a second opinion from a fresh set of unbiased ears, ears which haven’t been listening to your music as you have during the entire tracking and mixing process.
While it’s not ideal, you can still certainly master your own music, so if you’re interested in doing just that then consider this audio mastering tutorial.
First, ensure that your final mix is exactly how you want it without applying any effects to the output and ensure that you’re not clipping at all. I like to bring down the mix a few decibels below clipping to give myself some room to work with. I mentioned not using any effects on the output as by adding compression, for instance, you limit what you can do after you’ve rendered it to a single file. Once the mix is how you want it, then render it to a single WAVE or AIFF file.
It’s ideal that you master the original rendered file and not any kind of compressed file format such as an MP3 as you lose sound quality. You want to master the highest quality file you can get, then compress it later for any MP3 needs you have after the fact.
Once you have your final mix rendered down to a WAVE, load that file back into a fresh project in your digital audio workstation. At that point fire up your favorite effects of choice starting with EQ. EQ will dissect your mix into generally 3 different bands, low, mid, and high which you can then tweak individually using the EQ plugin. You can boost or take away from their influence within that mix to achieve different results. You might first try the extreme ends of the spectrum such as the lows and highs.
Adding low will obviously give your track a greater bass sound whereas removing the low will take away its influence. Boosting the high end can give the effect of removing the shrink wrap from your mix but going overboard will make it too sharp and grating at those higher frequencies to the point where it’s sacrificing the quality of the mix.
Add or subtract as the track calls for and what sounds best when messing around with it. As you continue to master more mixes, you’ll become more comfortable and experienced with what to do and experiment with.