Vinyl mastering requires a perfect balance between knowledge and critical listening. It is a chain process ranging from EQing, compressing and applying different levels of distortion. That being said, unlike digital mastering it has to follow a certain set of rules. If not properly done, it can create a series of problematic issues when reproduced on the medium.
At Spatial Mastering, our experienced engineers apply these rules creatively enabling the best outcome for your audio masters at our state of the art studios in London. Our process follows the quintessential rules of a good mastering such as containing low frequencies, taming problematic frequencies and tones, stereo imaging and so forth. Part of the reason for this is that the tools at the mastering engineer’s disposal are in essence the same as those used in the recording and mixing process; i.e. EQ (equalisation) and compression. Hence, what the mastering engineer can bring to a project with those tools often goes beyond the expectations of his client.
This is why the mastering engineer’s contribution is often described as “that special magic”, “bringing the tracks to life” or “making it sound like a record”.
The difference between a mastered and an unmastered track can be dramatic or subtle. It’s impossible to generalise regarding what mastering does because every recording has its own unique features; some positives which mastering would seek to enhance, and some negatives which mastering would try to remedy. In terms of EQ, there are broad issues of the general tonal content, i.e. whether a track needs more or less bass or treble.
At Spatial Mastering, we make sure that your tracks are enhanced to perfection and for great pleasure to the listener and market demands. We work around an optimum loudness, although we avoid falling in the loudness wars. We do however push the sound to its exponential capacity. We always keep the audio dynamics and characteristics of its best features and use many types of approaches to dynamic processing. We process audio in different ways so that it can be used to add punch and fatness or to hold a wayward lead vocal in place on the top of the mix, or to add that bit of “glue” that contains a mix together.