What is mastering? It’s what happens to your music after you’ve finished recording and mixing it. This includes:
- Arrange tracks and spaces between into their final order
- Perform any minor edits that may be required
- Remove noise
- Adjust levels
- Sweeten tracks by proper application of equalization and compression
- Adjust ambiance or stereo width as necessary
This is of course an over-simplified list. My good friend Steve Turnidge wrote a book explaining the mastering process in great detail which is about to be released. He’s a very talented guy, so if you really want to make your music and studio recordings shine I highly recommend you check out his desktop mastering book.
Update: Here’s a video of Steve explaining how audio production is like pie. Sweet, delicious pie.