CD Audio Mastering Tips

For those of you who are on a tight budget or feel that are capable of undertaking the mastering task, I have compiled some tips in order to assist you to accomplish this. There are many factors that are taken in to consideration during the mastering process such as, room acoustics, reference quality monitoring system, highest quality processors and of course excellent ears. A skilful mastering engineer knows what to processors to use, when, how and why.

I would strongly recommend that if you have the slightest doubt, as to what this process involves, that you contact a professional mastering engineer to take care of your project. You've worked too hard to complete it and any assumption or doubt at the mastering stage can lead in to catastrophic results. Having made clear that, I will now proceeds with the tips.

  • Understand what are your project needs and how you can obtain the sonic results that you desire.
  • Plan ahead the mastering session's layout. Have a clear picture in your head on how you want your mastering session to be accomplished. The BIT depths and sampling rates that you will start up with more likely will be different than the ones that you'll end up with when the session is completed. Therefore you will need to allocate the order in the signal's chain so you can accomplish this. You will need to know in advance which methods of processing your signal will flow through. Analog, digital, or a combination of both. Setup accordingly your DAW to accommodate the needs of the session.
  • Use only the processors that your project will benefit from. Because you have access to a good processor that doesn't mean that you will need to engage it in the signal chain if your project won't benefit from its use.
  • Learn and understand inside and out how the signal flows in your DAW.
  • Know the order that the processors that you'll engage will be used.
  • Have excellent knowledge on "Word Length Reduction" and when it should be used.
  • Make sure that the master disc that you'll burn complies with the standards that are specified by the "Red Book" of Audio CDs, which was developed by Sony & Philips.
  • Find out which is the optimal speed that your CD recorder will record the blank discs at, in order to achieve lower error rates.
  • Listen to the master that you created in various systems and to make sure that translates well.
  • Enjoy your master and best of luck with it.