Xander on Music: What is Mastering, and Why is it so Important?
Recently, my Xander Nelson bandmates and I went over to Gateway Mastering Studios in Portland to work with the incredible Adam Ayan on our new single called "Lonely." Adam works with CYY favorites like Foo Fighters and Highly Suspect, as well as Paul McCartney, Shakira, Dawes, and too many more to count. Seriously, check out his website here - his credits are absolutely staggering.
Mastering isn't a term most people throw around in casual conversations about recording music, however. While concepts like recording and mixing come up a lot, many people making their own music at home or on laptops don't necessarily think much about it. Well, they should. Let's take a look at what mastering is, and why it's so important!
Essentially, mastering is the final step in making a great sounding record. After a song is recorded and mixed, it gets sent to a mastering engineer, who then adjusts the mix as a whole with global equalization and compression. In layman's terms, it's the equivalent of laminating a song to give it a smoothness overall, and a high-end sheen that makes it feel shiny and new.
When we were in the studio with Adam, it was incredible to see just how fast he works. We brought him a 5-minute song to work on, and he had an awesome finished product in just about an hour! He's such a master that he makes something that requires years of careful study and practice look absolutely effortless.
Adam Ayan, and his legendary fellow Gateway mastering engineer Bog Ludwig, deserve all of the praise they get, and then some. It's so cool to see how the music industry has such a strong connection to our humble little city, too. Check out Gateway's website for a taste of just how many records they've done. I guarantee some of your favorites, if not all of them, have passed through those doors at one point. You'll be able to hear even more of Adam's handiwork when my new song drops next week!