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Does my album need Mastering?

Does my album need Mastering?

Mastering, the unknown art. Many people don’t understand it, and many others confuse it with a remix or other production steps such as mixing. But do you need mastering?

As a Mastering engineer, I had to explain a thousand times what mastering is, so…

What is Mastering?

Historically mastering has been preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device called the master. All copies produced are a source of this master

Today mastering refers to the audio process that enhances the sound and balances the mix with EQ, compression, and limiting, among other things. These elements provide consistent loudness and sound through all the tracks of an album.

So, what are the benefits of mastering?

Balanced Sound

One of the main goals of mastering is to correct mix balance issues and enhance the overall sound. We want our song to sound well on all devices such as mobile phones, cars, computers, etc. This sound can be achieved with an excellent spectral balance.

This process usually involves equalization and multi-band compression. MasteringBOX uses “dynamic equalization” to auto-balance the mix and obtain a compensated spectral response, suitable for most devices.


It is also essential how the individual tracks sound together when played one after another on an album. Are the loudness levels similar? Is there a consistent sound?

If you recorded all the album songs in the same studio, your songs may (or may not) sound more or less similar. However, the loudness will not be the same. It is crucial to decrease the differences between tracks while maintaining the character of each of them, which in many cases will mean different settings for each song. This loudness is why MasteringBOX has Loudness and EQ control adjustable settings, although you’ll often get similar levels and sound from MasteringBOX out of the box.


Yes, loudness is important too. You may have heard about the “loudness war” and all the controversy around it. Mastering indeed can be a two-edged sword if not used properly. But we can’t deny that loudness is one of the goals in mastering. But why is it important?

Need mastering

Human hearing is less sensitive to low and high frequencies, as you can check in the figure above. This low sensitivity means that when we listen to a song at a low volume, we will mostly hear just the mid frequencies, and the track will sound poor, with no punch and warmth. As we raise the volume, we will start hearing the lower and higher frequencies, and it will suddenly sound better, even if the track was not modified at all. I’m sure you will all have experienced this when producing your songs, haven’t you? Now you know the reason.

Mastering uses compression and limiting to obtain loudness without affecting the song’s dynamics too much. It is essential to find the sweet spot with a good compromise between loudness and dynamics. MasteringBOX will obtain an excellent loudness level preserving the dynamics and sound of the track, but if you don’t like where it is set, you can change it with the Loudness Control, you decide which is the sweet spot for you.

Preparation for Distribution

Because mastering is the final production step just before CD replication or you publish your music online, you will need to output to the final audio format to obtain the best quality. Depending on your needs, you will need different audio formats.

In the case of CD replication, it will mean converting to 16 bit/44.1 kHz audio through re-sampling and/or dithering, depending on the original audio source. For web or digital distribution, mastering can be optimized for conversion to MP3 and include the required metadata.


So, does your track or album need mastering? Yes, it does, always. It will sound better and more consistent, and here at MasteringBOX, you can do it for FREE. Check how to prepare your track for mastering for more info.

Post picture under creative commons attribution license by halfrain

About the Author



CEO & Founder of MasteringBOX

Dídac is a professional audio engineer, music producer and software engineer. He is the founder of MasteringBOX and the author of many of the articles on the blog.



What can I say, Masteringbox is what I’ve needed all along. I have poor quality songs that I love but hardly listen to and after mastering them, I play and listen everyday just to chill out. Best thing yet – I’ve told all everyone about Masteringbox and how easy it is to use.


Masterbox is is pretty cool



mikhael aston

You should offer a mastering album option so it analyses all tracks and tries to make them roughly as loud as each other. Other than that this site is great (two thumbs up)

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