Could someone explain why I would use mastering and if I have an acoustic project with4/5 tracks, how would I prepare that for mastering. I’ve looked at the mastering template, it means little to me at this point.


Mastering is basically using a compressor, limiter, etc to squeeze the max loudness out of your overall track. I would recommend using Wavelab or Soundforge Pro to do this, since even Cubase 6 is weak in this area. To ready your song for mastering, you need to finalize the mix and import the final stereo file into the mastering template.

From there you would need to seek advice on mastering from an online article, book, or someone you know.

Mastering is a little bit more than that

For “using a compressor, limiter etc to squeeze the max loudness out of your overall track.” Cubase is enough, no real need for Wavelab or soundforge pro - IMHO

Mastering is a sience itself :wink:

Best tip was google for mastering tutorials vids or as pdfs or look for books about this theme .

Normally you let someone else master your mix because he is more objetiv than you.
Mastering should improve the quality of your sound.

Greetz Bassbase

When it comes to using plugins

I don,t no if you have the full version of cubase but if you have you can use these plugins

multiband compressor ,or a compressor if you don,t have a multi band compressor
30 band EQ , or 4 band EQ
Maximiser , or limiter

You wood place these plugins on your master channel in this order

compressor - 1e slot ,or 2e slot
EQ - 2e slot ,or 1e slot
maximiser 7e slot
dither 8e slot

this is a simple and basic example. Bud some enegneers will add a pultec eq ,harmonics enhancer (add saturation)
,image enhancer (stereo spreader) ,tape recorder plugin (add warmth and saturation). The basic example gifs you a good starting point. what you add is more a thing of taste

Mastering is

making the sound as loud as possible : you can’t compare using mastering hardware or software with or just pulling a fader up to make the sound louder.

better balance : smoothing out the last peaks. mastering is not just mastering separate songs bud bringing balance
overal from song to song if you making a album

Leave always some head room to work with. 6 dB

adding hamonics : bringing out the sparkle and rich sound

dither : what dus it do bring down the noise.

hi caller68,

the process after recording and mixing is -> mastering:

e.g. raise the overall level, even out song levels and EQ individual tracks for cohesion, correct minor mix deficiencies with equalization, enhance flow by changing the space between tracks, eliminate noises between tracks, make your music sound great on any sound system, add IRSC codes (required for digital distribution), add CD-text information(artist, title, track names, that can be displayed by some CD players).

In the final step follows CD replication.

Excellent explanation!

Aloha and +1000000000


Further to the comments made by Split:

Although many mastering engineers are forced into this practice, resulting in what is commonly referred to as the “loudness wars”, current thought on this subject suggests that making a master as loud as possible is actually bad for the quality of the music. A matter of opinion perhaps but the argument is worth considering before embarking on mastering your mix. When it comes to loudness, it all depends how the music will finally be delivered. For example, new future broadcast norms (EBU R128) may mean that agressively mastered CDs will sound worse than those which retain more dynamics, when broadcast on the radio or television. Approaches to loudness and mastering are likely to change as a result.

Mastering is best done by someone else in a specifically prepared room for mastering, using high end analog and digital equipment. In itself it has nothing to do with raising the overall loudness of a song - maybe for a specific type of music or medium the engineer is forced to do so, but there’s more music than Metallica and techno…

Older than dirt guy here.

In 1976 the band I was in in Toronto ‘cut’ our first album. (Phase One Studios)

Being the nerd/geek of the band I was invited in to watch the ‘Mastering’ process
which consisted of actually cutting into a blank vinyl disc to make the ‘master’.

Hate to say it but at the time we were a (very successful) ‘Disco Band’ which meant
bottom bottom and more bottom end.

To get more bottom end on album the grooves had to be cut deeper into the vinyl
but you could only go so far or the consumers playback stylus wound jump out of the groove.

Also the ‘record’ was to be played on both sides so once again you could only go so far
cutting into the disc.

Mainly the mastering job in those days was to balance level and eqs
for all the songs on the album.

Urei comp/limiters were used but I cannot remember what eqs were used.

How far we have come since then.

they also had a working wire recorder.
Now that was kool on which to play.
I recorded my talkbox on it and transferred (‘flew’) onto tape.

By the time we did our second album the studio got in
a ProTools four track system but we never used it because it was too clean! Ha!


Wow 1976 are year before i even ws born :wink:

Great story :wink: and your still the nerd/geek great.

Greetz Bassbase

Thank you all for replies. Like many answers, they open up other questions but between all your replies I think I now see the basics and the reason for this step in the recording process. Cheers all.

Well don’t you feel smart?!

I feel like if someone tells someone else, he needs another 600 € or somewhat Software for using a compressor and a limiter on a master bus, I should be allowed to disagree. Nothing to do with feeling smart…

There is nothing inherently superior in the stereo editor packages (Wavelab, Sound forge) so far as most of the mastering process is concerned.

Use whichever you prefer.

I prefer to use Cubase (actually Nuendo) for mastering because it is simple to set up a number of comparison tracks to compare with the track I’m working on, and to switch instantly and cleanly between them, with compensation for loudness. This is essential to get a grip on what the real effect of the mastering process is having on the music.

Wavelab has other advantages later in the process - burn to CD directly, DDP and so on.

Not saying you can’t do any or all of this in other ways, just the way I like to do it.

Maybe not for your mastering process, and it’s often said by people not knowing Wavelab very well. There’s many things inherently superior, for instance the built-in metering and visuals, spectrum editing, loudness view, error detection and I could go on. As far as putting plugins in the stereo chain, yes, that’s basically the same, but the montage alone is worth getting WL (which is not exactly a stereo editor either).

Agree with Arjan P. Of course they would work the same but having a built-in VU meter and Global Audio Analysis definitely comes in handy when you are trying to determine the average volume.

The OP’s question was very broad, so I aimed to give him a concise response and not a book. (We all know there’s more to the mastering stage than volume compression.) There are plenty of resources out there concerning the topic of mastering-one only has to search. And I might say that they will be far more thorough and informative than a few replies on an internet forum.

As one who uses Wavelab, I was offering that it is far more visual and quicker to work with during the mastering process. Normally anyone who does not agree, does not own it. Of course, this is just my opinion and I believe I expressed it as such.