The Difference between Mixing and Mastering
An album or demo is not complete without a good mixing and mastering job. They are key components of professional record producing, so it’s important to understand the differences between them.
Mixing is the creative process of combining and balancing the multiple elements that make up a modern day musical recording and bringing them down to a stereo mix that can be played on the Radio, or a CD / MP3 player. When mixing a song, you’ll do things such as drop in effects, adjust levels, and EQ your tracks. You are essentially putting everything you have recorded together and adding some finishing touches. Think of it as putting the pieces of a puzzle together.
Mastering is the final stage of the production process. It is where the mixed versions of songs are optimised so that they translate well across various mediums (radio, TV, DVDs, CDs, mp3 players, etc.) by compressing, equalizing, and making stereo enhancements or adjusting the overall reverberation effect. When you’re mastering an album, you’re making sure that the tone and audio levels of each track are similar and cohesive.
If you want your album or demo to be produced at a professional standard, it’s best to work with experienced mixing and mastering engineers.