One of the most common areas of audio production students ask me about is the ‘dark art’ of mastering. Mastering is often seen as a magic bullet that can fix all sorts of ills and transform a music track into a powerful and professional sounding product.
To help try and clear things up, I invited expert mastering engineer Ian Shepherd to Lincoln to talk to our level 2 and 3 students. Ian gave a very interesting and informative lecture on what mastering actually is, what it can do, why it is necessary and he gave some very useful DIY mastering guidelines. He also shed light on the whole notion of loudness and the loudness wars in general – very insightful stuff.
After his talk, Ian delivered a workshop in which he mastered some student work. This was brilliant. We watched and listened as he talked us through his approach and workflow, which highlighted the importance of using accurate metering and reference material. In a nutshell, he demystified the whole process. As Ian himself says: “Mastering is simple” and, when applied judiciously, it makes your music the best it can be.