Mastering Your Music – The Basics

Alex Pfeffer does a series of videos called “Let’s Play Audio” which have some great information in them. This one is “mastering basics” which outlines the basics of mastering your tracks to get them sounding good before you send them off to clients or upload them to music libraries. Some really great information in here:

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Emmett Cooke is an Irish composer for film, tv and video games. His music has been used around the world by high profile companies including Sony Playstation, Ralph Lauren, ABC, CBS, NBC, Lockheed Martin and many more.

  • Andreas van Haren

    Hi Emmet,
    I’m trying to understand the workflow in creating music for film and am interested in scoring especially horror movies or horror tv shows. Do you have tips how to do this in Logic Studio? I know how to do the typical logic things, it’s the process of scoring the separate cues and bringing them into the full movie that confuses me.

    Thanks for your tips!


    • Emmett Cooke

      Hi Andreas,

      Are you having trouble understanding the scoring process in general or the technical aspect of it?

      The video was done by Alex Pfeffer by the way – I can’t take credit for it :)


  • Roberto

    I have a question about mixing and mastering your own music. It’s clear that it is best to have a whole team of experts, but you can not always afford it. Actually if it comes to me I need do it all by myself due to the low budget productions.

    So I wonder how this issue looks future in the career? When music is mainly based on digital instruments mixing is a part of making music (eg eq, filters in synths or some automations). When should I give up bigger income and rent an additional person? Also which is it better to hire a mix or master in the first place? I think it’s the master for me cos I’ll always do some mix (even by thinking about the arrangement). With the master I limit myself to raise a good level of rms without destroying the music (eg slate FG-X).

    Also I’m not sure if cheap experts are always good enough to actually help the music? I guess it depends on an individual.

    So guys, what are your thoughts on this? Emmett maybe you have any insight for me?

    For now, I’ll see what time will bring:).

    • Emmett Cooke

      Why not get some good lessons on mixing and mastering? Find someone who is a mixing/mastering professional and email them to see if they give private lessons via skype. I’ve done this and its helped tremendously.

      • Roberto

        Thanks for your reply.

        I’m learning(and training) to mix for several years now, every day from as many sources as I can. In fact I’m mixing other people’s music, some voiceovers, sounds or recordings.

        But I think that for a maximum good results there should be different individuals (for music, mix and master) and listening environments. Regards to the emotional relationship and lack of objectivity.

        But from your reply I understand that for now it’s better to save the money and make everything by yourself? However I suspect that the most successful composers have their engineers or some post production.

        • Emmett Cooke

          Hi Roberto,

          It really depends on how good you want to get at it. I got some tutorials from someone who does it professionally so I understand the basics. If you want the best, you’ll have to pay for the best – usually by hiring someone else.

          Not all composers can afford this on all of their tracks, but if they want one decent track specifically, they might hire someone for it. I think the top end composers have their own mixing/mastering specialists who work for them. Having said that, those composers still know exactly what’s going on with the mixing/mastering and could probably do most of it themselves, but don’t have the time.

          • Roberto

            Thank you for the reply. I think that’s a good point of view, so thanks again. Great blog!

  • HC Duran

    It is really better to use a professional mastering expert, but one who can work with you online, so you can participate in the development of the tracks in real time:

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