Lots of people talk about the mastering but what they actually mean by that is mixing. Mastering is a totally different process that comes from the term master record (or vinyl) from a few decades ago. This is the original vinyl, the first one used for printing the whole run. In short: mastering is the final final stage of the recording process where you finish the spectrum and loudness of the record.

In the days of the vinyl records you had to follow certain rules preparing the records for the printing machine. Not too loud, not too much low end. Otherwise the master vinyl might get damaged by the needle of the printer. Constant development of technology brought us in the digital era where there are a lot less limits. Lack of limits raised the threshold of perceivable loudness bringing the so called Loudness War. A competition for the loudest record because for the human ear louder usually means better, unless threshold of pain is reached. There is enormous discussion about it because giving the listener more sound is always at a certain price.

Some professionals claim it destroys the music, the quality, the dynamics. And they are probably right. That’s why Spotify, Youtube etc, have all agreed upon introducing a standard of -14 LUFS for all the music streamed on their platforms. This means that if you have a great sounding record, comparatively loud, they will turn it down and that will automatically make it sound worse. Unfortunately this doesn’t end the loudness war. Even though we listen to music mainly streamed while in a hurry in the public transport using headphones there are still clubs, radiostations, and many other media sources that you want your song to stand out. So you want it as loud as possible because it competes with other songs that are as loud as possible.

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