What is Mixing and What is Mastering? The Difference
Question: What is Mixing and What is Mastering? The Difference
This look at mixing and mastering gives you a brief overview of the difference between the two processes. If you want a more in depth look at record mixing and record mastering, plus advice on how to do it yourself, please visit About.com's Home Recording site.
Mixing and mastering are parts of the recording process that confuse a lot of people. If you're recording an album that you plan to sell, a good mixing and mastering job is a must. If you'rerecording a demo, you might be able to get away without mastering. Here's the difference:
Does that explanation of mastering sound a little vague? That's because it is. Apart from correcting obvious differences in volume for each song, mastering is an incredibly subjective process. In some ways, when it comes to mastering, you either have the golden touch or you don't. For this reason, although there are programs that will help you master your recording yourself, paying to have it done professionally is a good investment if you plan on releasing your recording.
If you're planning on using your recording for a demo, mastering is not an absolute must. Mixing, on the other hand, is something you should make an effort to get done. You don't have to have a professional mix, but you should try to give your songs at least a rough mix when possible. Unlike mastering, you can do mixing at home. It requires practice and time, but you can get the job done with some dedication.