Do you mix and master?

Is this common jargon where you guys are from?

Can someone explain to me why the hell everyone asks everyone this and no one seems to understand what it means?

Is anyone else tried of explaining how you mix but you don’t master. Is this a regional terminology thing or is it pretty much global now?

“Yes I mix, no I don’t master” is guaranteed to draw a confused look from a first time client. Then I get to spend another 5-10 non-billable minutes trying to explain what a mastering engineer does. Its ok. Its part of my job. I accept that. Just wondered though.

Tell them you don’t do either. :smiley:

I find most first-time people don’t understand what mastering is at all. Just like many other things we are teachers as well as engineers and producers.

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Most home engineers who have been doing this for years don’t know what mastering is either. The problem is that too many of us use the term “mastering” when we don’t mean mastering.

It’s perfectly normal to mix a song and get it released without “mastering” if that’s what the client needs. There are tons of situations where you will record and mix a song where sending it off to a mastering engineer doesn’t make sense. In those situations, I think it’s more than reasonable to apply loudening and other master bus effects to make it sound as release ready as possible. But that’s not mastering, and I think we need a new word for it, because I think too many people think that loudening=mastering.


Everything I have tried mastering turns out worser. ha ha

I think this is a valid point.

Damn! Is it just me, or does anyone else here think a noob in the recording world wouldn’t get much help from this?

The entire entry his missed the most important aspect of mastering, which is consultancy. The main service of an ME is to provide feedback and advice on the recordings - even if that advice might mean a remix. Obviously there are technical aspects and applications involved too, but again, they should only be applied after extensive consultation with the client. The most valuable service that an ME provides is an impartial - and trusted - pair of ears.

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A year ago I wouldnt have had a clue what mastering is but my current understanding says the above idea is on the mark

I think a lot of people think mastering means slapping on some extra plug ins and bringing it all up to a certain loudness. But lets say i myself mixed 5 songs. I could then boost them up to a certain level and say they are “mastered”…but if I had too much mids or highs in all of them to start with, is my ear going to detect and correct for that?? The same ear that mixed them to start with might not be the correct ear to then put the final touch to the tracks

Agreed. IMO the term ‘mastered’ explicitly implies the involvement of a third party in addition to the artist/mix engineer, for precisely the reasons you describe.

AJ, thanks for chiming in, your thoughts are certainly welcome. I’m very much in line with your thoughts on mastering being about a very high level of consultancy. I didn’t miss this point though… the question was if the “mix and master” terminology was as incorrectly used in other areas as it is where I am.

I would certainly say though, that the lack of understanding of what an ME does seems pretty common.