Mastering music

Mastering your music is the final step before you release it. 

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Every master is different, sometimes it may not need saturation, compression etc. If the mix is good it might only need small EQ corrections and adjusting the right loudness level. There are plugins and websites where you can upload your mix and get it mastered, these are better than nothing but not the best alternative. If you can afford it, then get someone to master it for you. It is always a good idea to get someone else’s opinion, they might hear what you have missed, overdone and so on.

When mastering your music for streaming services you should use LUFS and DB true peak to get the right loudness values the streaming services require. Here is a quick overview:

 Spotify, Apple Music, etc-1.0 dBTP-14 LUFS
Spotify Loud-2.0 dBTP-11 LUFS
Soundcloud -1.0 dBTP -8 to -13 LUFS 
Beatport/DJ Stores-0.3 dBTP-6 to -9 LUFS 

Your music is supposed to sound good, so don’t get obsessed by hitting the numbers exactly. Your loudness being turned a bit down is better than being turned up by the streaming services

Streaming services want you to master your tracks at -14LUFS, it does not need to be exactly -14LUFS, it means that your track should not be under -14 LUFS. If you push it to around -6 to -8 it can sound compressed, on some tracks and genres it can sound good. Every track is different so it’s not set and go for every track. As said this varies from track to track and genre. Whatever you choose to do the streaming services will turn your track down or up to match -14 LUFS. It is better to be turned down!

The dbTP should be -1.0 for streaming services, to ensure you don’t get unwanted distortions. Some master engineers don’t care about this and master track at -0.7dbTP and I have seen track mastered at over 4dbTP. -1.0dbTP is what the streaming services want you to master the tracks at, and they will turn the track down to -1.0dbTP if it is louder. 

People have their own opinions about loudness and the discussions are endless. But if we all do as the streaming services say, then we all agree.

Nobody can force you into doing this or that, so it is up to you to tell the engineers your preferences.

Should the streaming service adjust the levels in the future, the music will automatically be adjusted as well. 

Here is what Spotify says about loudness:

I recommend you to watch this video:

Mastering is not all about loudness, it’s all about the sound. Your track should sound great, not be hitting an exact number of whatever. So your track needs to be mastered from -14 LUFS and above and not exactly at -14 LUFS. -12 to -10 LUFS is usually a sweet spot.

A good piece of advice before you start mastering your music is to take some time to listen to music similar to what you are producing,  download tracks from iTunes or similar to use as reference tracks when mastering.  And remember to take breaks regularly, or you will suffer from ear fatigue, which will make you lose perspective. 

Having someone else master for you can be a good idea. Artists lose a bit of perspective when working for a long time on a track. And last but not least, you save a lot of time, and can use more time on creating more great music.

I like to help you out by offering affordable mastering and mixing services.

Hit the button to submit your track for mastering.

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