I had a very good question came to me through email the other day. It’s a question I hear pretty often.
“What’s the difference in mixing and mastering?”
Here was my reply.
Mixing is taking all of the individual tracks (individual drums, guitars, vocals, background vocals etc) and crafting a blend using eq, panning, compression etc…
Usually, after it’s mixed, I’ll send my stereo “mix” to a mastering engineer. He then takes my mix and listens to it on more expensive monitors in a (hopefully) better designed room and makes tweaks to it.
Of course, I wouldn’t send it to just anyone… it would have to be someone I trust to do that sort of thing..
Sadly, what most mastering engineers do is just make a mix louder… and that sometimes comes at the expense of the balance, eq and compression choices that I made in the mix phase.
Hope that helps.
After sending this, I thought that mixing and mastering could be like:
- Painting a car vs detailing a car (that would include buffing and pinstriping paint)
- Building a house vs staging a house for potential buyers
- Writing a book vs. editing a book (both important)
What are some other comparisons you can think of? Comment Below