What Makes the Record Sound “Finished”

We have had several Artist’s ask us how we get the sound that we do. It’s kind of a loaded question because it involves a variety of things. Unfortunately we sometimes get these questions AFTER the recording is done. But there is a way to help that and it’s in what we like to call the post production phase also know as Mixing and Mastering. Many people have heard these terms and still don’t quite know what they mean. So here is the Audio Blueprint definition: Mixing is the art of taking all of the raw tracks and finessing the levels to make them sound cohesive. It’s being able to make the song “blend” all together if you will. You don’t want anything to be too loud or drown out another part. It’s also where effects can be added to the vocals or instruments to enhance them, and where a vocal performance may be corrected if it wasn’t done during recording. Mastering on the other hand. is the art of taking the final mix and bringing it up to broadcast quality so you don’t lose the essence of the song when it is played in different devices and formats. A bad master is a big reason why some music sounds drastically different when you play it one place (like say your car and then at home on your stereo) but somehow it never sounds like it did in the studio. It is also the reason why a song may sound “lower”, “softer”, “fuzzy” or just distorted when you play it between two major label releases. When a song is properly mixed and mastered you should not hear a drop in the level of quality. Hopefully this dispels the myths and misunderstandings of mixing and mastering. 
Written by Geri King for Audio Blueprint 

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