Below are some before and after samples of mastering work I’ve completed.
If you’ve not had any songs mastered before you may have various misconceptions about what mastering is and what it entails. It’s frequent for people to have expectations about what mastering will do for their tracks that aren’t met. This is because mastering, like mixing, can only work with the material provided. It is a subtle art, and often the differences between an unmastered track and a mastered one are much less audible than with a mixed and an unmixed song.
What to listen for
Mastering entails the adjustment and correction of EQ, compression, limiting, and sometimes effects such as reverb. The most obvious thing you will hear is a difference in loudness. But try to listen for subtle changes in the frequencies, and if you have experience of compression, try to hear the difference that makes in terms of punch, and how the dynamic range of the song is controlled.
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At Last – Etta James (Performed by Laura Williams)
Hold Back the River – James Bay (Performed by Halflight)
Stuck On You – Lionel Richie (Performed by Delonzo Gee)