There are many benefits of working with a professional mastering engineer, especially if you’re determined to make a career from writing and performing music, here’s just a few with an anecdote about a recent experience with a client of mine.
Mastering engineers spend a huge amount of time, energy and money on monitoring setups and this is so we can hear every single detail of your mix and be really confident in knowing which areas need fixing and enhancing so that your tracks sound amazing. Lower quality monitoring systems often lack the clarity and detail of high end mastering systems and often fail to reproduce the whole frequency system. This means that the areas (especially at the low end and very high end) are not produced accurately which can lead to over or under compensation resulting in overly boomy or harsh, bright sounding tracks.
Next up Experience!
A professional mastering engineer is going to have all the knowledge, skills and tools to know exactly what will work for your specific track. The act of working on different tracks all day, every day for a long time gives us mastering engineers an almost sixth sense about what a track needs to sound its best when released.
And following on from that is Translation!
We already have a really good idea of how your tracks are going to translate when being played back off loads of different formats but we have some really specialized tools as well. These allow us to preview the exact compression codecs used by Spotify, YouTube, digital radio and television so we know how they're going to sound and we can master accordingly.
So finally the Music Industry.
Another benefit of working with a professional mastering engineer is that we're connected to the wider music industry. We work really closely with mix engineers, producers, other mastering engineers and then on the production side we work with vinyl pressing plants, CD manufacturers and we’re also in contact with PR companies A&R and radio pluggers. This can be really beneficial for artists who are just starting out and need a little bit of help with where to go next.
I was working with an artist recently and when I sent the Masters off I said “This track sounds great I hope you get some good radio and PR with this” and they responded by saying “I have no idea where to start with all of that!” so I jotted down a few radio stations and a few blogs that I know of and within a week they'd got radio play! This was on BBC and Amazing Radio and they'd also got a Blog write-up, which is great for their career! And I think a really underappreciated aspect of working with a professional engineer is that you're not only working with someone who has experience, you're working with someone who has loads of contacts in the industry. All you have to do, sometimes, is ask and you might get some radio play, some blogs, connected to a PR Company and all that kind of stuff. So, in summary, working with a professional mastering engineer can be really beneficial for, not only your track sounding great but for your longer term career as well.