What’s the Difference Between Mixing and Mastering?

What’s the Difference Between Mixing and Mastering?

The mixing and mastering of tracks are essential stages of creating music that sounds great and is ready for commercial release.
No matter how well your music is recorded, arranged or produced, it will need the expert ears of a professional engineer to get it sounding as good as they possibly can.

Here at Abbey Road Studios, we offer both online mixing and online mastering so anyone can have their music finessed by some of the most experienced engineers in the business.

But what’s the difference between mixing and mastering? And why are they so important?

We take a look at what you need to know about these vital elements of crafting exceptional music…

What does mixing a track mean?

Mixing is the first thing that happens once your song has been recorded and edited.

The mix engineer will listen carefully to the song and blend the individual tracks (vocals, synths, drums etc.) together to ensure they all sound as good as they possibly can.

The process will often include the EQing of these tracks using an equaliser. This is when the frequency content of the individual tracks is adjusted and unwanted sounds such as low-frequency hums are removed. It can also be used to increase or decrease the prominence of certain instruments and change the tone.

Other elements such as reverb or compression, change the panning of the track and emphasise the most important elements of the songs. This is done so that when the tracks are placed together in the final mix, they work together to serve the song and the emotional impact it strives for.

To have your music mixed at Abbey Road Studios couldn’t be easier, all you need to do is follow the simple instructions on our online mixing page and one of our world-leading engineers will be on hand to work with you and get your music sounding just as you want it.

What’s the difference between mixing and mastering?

Once the mixing has been done it’s time for the mastering to happen.

While still a crucial step in getting a song ready for release, mastering is a separate process from mixing.

We’ve discussed in detail elsewhere what mastering and online mastering is but there are some distinct differences between mastering and mixing that are worth outlining here.

While the mixing process tends to deal with multiple tracks, with each one individually optimised, mastering engineers will work with the mix once everything has been combined into a single stereo file.
Mastering ensures these separate elements are brought together as one cohesive body of work.

Mastering engineers will also act as the final quality control, this can include optimising songs for various platforms and removing any last imperfections before the music is set free!

Whether your music is created in one of our world-class studios or in your home studio, the ability to have your tracks mixed and mastered by Abbey Road engineers is invaluable and can make a massive the difference to final piece of work.

All of our engineers are available for online mastering or an attended mastering session where you can come into the studio and work directly with your chosen member of our team.

Learn more about online mastering and working with our team of world-leading engineers now.

Abbey Road's 'Track Check'

If you're still unsure whether your track is ready to be mastered, our Track Check service will provide you with the reassurance you need.

Our engineers will feedback on everything from balance and spatial image to headroom, phase, limiting and compression, helping you arrive at a mix that will lead to an even better master.

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