To create a song or a record of success is not enough to have an idea and record it. The process of musical production is complex and goes through many phases, where more creative aspects are combined with more technical issues.
One of the most important phases is mastering. This process comes just after the theme has been recorded and mixed and serves to ensure that its reproduction is optimal on any medium or platform.
“It is the final phase in the production of an album, and it is also one of the most critical stages,” explains Jordan Bolch, a recording artist, singer, songwriter, and music producer from the USA.
Have you ever wondered what work is hidden in a good CD? There is a whole job behind it — hours of editing and postproduction. The music production is a long process and usually involves a lot of attention in all phases or stages. Here are the insights of Bolch regarding the characteristics of the entire production process:
After the composition of the themes, you need to design an action plan. According to Bolch, the reason is very simple: “you will better order the work. Not too many years ago, musicians spent months in the studio. Subsequently, it was decided to reduce this time and rehearse as much as possible before entering to record.”
In the 21st century, the use of domestic studies became widespread. By requiring too much time for this phase, it ended up working with some disorder. Therefore, writing a plan is ideal to know how each theme will sound and what arrangements it will have. This little script is always recommended to enter the study with clear ideas.
It would be convenient for you to delimit aspects such as thoroughness, the participation of guest musicians, and similar details. It is very convenient to take all the songs well-rehearsed to get the most out of the available time.
Recording and music production
“They are not the same, but they are closely related. The recording is still an almost mechanical act, and music production a matter of personal taste. Here is the importance of the preproduction plan. It is useless to get to the studio, record something, and then cross your fingers so that the production fixes the sound that we could not achieve.
It is much more advisable to get the exact sound before recording to shorten the deadlines. Likewise, during this phase, it may happen that there are ideas that do not finish fruiting or that can be improved. It is undoubtedly the longest phase since the success of the recording will depend on it.
The producer must always be clear about his goals and even give his opinion about it. Although the issue seems trivial, on a few occasions, we have been able to hear great records ruined by poor production. Once again, defining the objectives and following the work plan are the best options to avoid becoming eternal in the study. Regardless of whether you are recording in a domestic or professional studio, shortening the deadlines has a direct impact on the quality of the product to be edited.” – Jordan Bolch
Once recorded what is desired with the chosen music production, the last phase arrives, which is composed of the following parts:
An appropriate edition
After receiving the recording, the different tracks begin to equalize. Sound effects are also added, and the sound is professionally finished. In general, various tracks of each instrument and the voice are edited until almost perfection is achieved. When each track sounds the way you want, it is time to move on to the next phase.
A professional mix
We must start by indicating that the mixing engineer is not usually the producer. The latter is responsible for achieving the above. The engineer is limited to mixing the tracks already produced, so he cannot do much to improve something that has been recorded incorrectly or with poor quality.
The goal of the mix is to join the tracks getting the result to be pleasant. You always bet on being able to distinguish details for eliminating common mistakes such as the singer’s breathing or the odd note.
Apart from the technical, the mix must return almost to the beginning of music production. That is, the engineer must capture how you want each song to sound. Also, you should pay attention to the way in which you can convey the feelings with which you composed it.
Needless to say, this phase takes the longest due to the disparity of criteria. In addition, it is usual to observe different trends depending on fashion. To give an example, in the 70s, it was decided to introduce these small errors to bring recording closer to the listener. Nowadays, we bet more on the perfect mix, which ends up subtracting some songs naturally.
The endpoint: mastering
It is a stage of music production when you are going to edit an EP or a disc. It is also suitable if a single topic is published. It is common for this process to be carried out in a different studio if the recording is professional. The sound engineer will be dedicated to normalizing the volume of the entire recording. You also usually choose the order of the songs.
The opinion of a new technician is of vital importance to finish filing the small existing errors. In addition, this professional cannot change anything of the production. It is only limited to give it some homogeneity. Equalization, multi-band compression, or volume limitation are processes that end up improving sound efficiently.
We must emphasize that in this phase, the engineer can meet:
A bad production
A bad mix