What is Mixing?
In audio recording, audio mixing is the process by which multiple recorded sounds are combined into one or more channels, most commonly two-channel stereo. In the process, the source signals’ level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated and effects such as reverb may be added. This practical, aesthetic, or otherwise creative treatment is done in order to produce a mix that is more appealing to listeners.
Audio mixing is done in studios as part of creating an album or single. The mixing stage often follows multi-track recording and the final mixes are normally submitted to a mastering engineer. The process is generally carried out by a mix engineer, also called mixing engineer, or mixer, though sometimes it is the musical producer, or even the artist, who mixes the recorded material.
What is mastering?
Mastering, a form of audio post-production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device (the master); the source from which all copies will be produced (via methods such as pressing, duplication or replication). Recently, the format choice includes using digital masters although analog masters, such as audio tapes, are still being used by the manufacturing industry and by a few engineers who have chosen to specialize in analog mastering.
In order to make a deterministic process, mastering requires critical listening; therefore, it cannot be achieved without the presence of a mastering engineer. There are software mastering tools available to facilitate this last step, but results still depend upon the accuracy of speaker monitors. In addition, “music mastering” engineers may also need to apply corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement in order to improve upon sound translation on all playback systems.
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