How is the final mastering done?The mastering engineer listens to the tracks individually to assess the requirements for treatment of each track.
The tracks are listened to through various speaker systems, and notes are taken for final blending. The producer will often be present at these sessions to explain their direction and intent for the project. Once this is done the use of various outboard equipement and software are used to blend and balance your master tracks.
Isn't the studio mix good enough?In the studio mix everything is left as dry and dynamic as possible to allow the mastering engineer to do their magic
Although the studio engineer has blended and balanced it sonically, it is often mixed through near field speakers in a semi-dead environment.
It is not a finished mix for broadcast or pressing. This is where the mastering engineer comes in. They take the cake and add the subtle but essential icing
What equipment is required for mastering?The list is long but essentially:
Various sorts of compression and limiting.
Some or all of these are applied very subtley to the final master depending on the genre or style.