Mastering is the final stage in a production, and in the next 4 blogs, we're going to go over some techniques for Mastering, specifically the Pop Genre Sessions. Although, you can use these techniques for just about any genre Mastering Session.
Tips for Mastering Pop Music Defined by flawless edits and professional ‘polish’, precise loudness, yet punchy dynamics, deep warm lows with shimmering highs, the Pop genre is considered by many to be the most difficult genre to master.
So, here are some ideas to dial in great settings for Pop masters. Before we begin though, let me just remind you of the #3 golden rules for Mastering:
To deliver a master that can compete in volume with other commercially released music in the same genre.
To make sure that all the elements in the mix can be clearly heard, with a proper balance of frequencies.
No unintentional distortion. Some genres will have distortion already, think heavy metal or rock genres. But you DO NOT want Unintentional distortion. If you haven’t read it yet, make some time to go through the blog on metering. This will be really useful for your Mastering sessions. Check for Technical Problems
The very first thing you start with in Mastering is to listen closely for any technical error in the recording. The first place to start is the beginning and end or top and tail of the song.
Clean up any noise at the beginning and end (top and tail) of the song. You can either completely cut it out or silence or use your fade tools. Make sure the song ‘tails out’ nicely, that there is a nice natural decay, and not too abrupt cut off, or sudden stop. Must be pleasing to your listeners ear. End naturally.
Check your level meters consistently to make sure that there is no distortion or digital clipping at any point in the track. Using your meters will let you know quickly if the mix is clipping or over compressed. Use correlation meters and goniometers to check phase issues as well as mono compatibility.
In the next mastering blog, we’ll have a look at tonal balance and EQ. Check out the video here on Mastering Technical Checks: Vocal Mouth Noise (clicks and breaths) as well as Clipping."