Mastering the album
Today was the light at the end of the tunnel. Nate Yaccino and I headed into Seattle's RFI to work with Ed Brooks on the mastering of our next full length album. RFI Mastering's client list read's like the who's who of Seattle indie music royalty; Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins, the Posies, etc.
So what is mastering? Mastering is the final step in the audio production process. After the band finished recording all of our instrumentation, we sent it to a mixing engineer to help blend the instruments together. The mixing engineer made sure the levels of each recorded track meshed well, adding effects, panning, and other audio tricks to make each track sound more like a song. Once the tracks sounded right, we scheduled time with a mastering engineer to put the finishing touches on the album.
I see mastering as the polish on the shoes, or the frame on the picture -- helping to take the sound of the recording from good to great. The technical focus of mastering sessions includes smoothing out the tracks so no specific frequency pokes out, making sure it's spatially balanced for stereo playback, silence between the tracks, overall volume, and setting it up for different output mediums like vinyl and digital. Mastering isn't my expertise, so I would defer to Landr if you are interested learning more about the process.
Ed was fantastic to work with. His attention to detail, sensibility for adding the right kind of sheen, pop quizzes and stories throughout our full day session were memorable.
Now we finally have a finished album!