The Difference Between Producing, Mixing And Mastering A Song

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Appietus Ghana producers
Appietus (image via Beatznation)

Get your notepad and pens because we are about to school you…

According to Rick Camp, a producer known for his work with Chris Brown, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, Madonna and more…

“A music producer is in charge of either writing the material or if he didn’t write it, he’s in charge of organizing it and making it sound like a cohesive song. He calls all the shots on what’s played, and when it’s played, and how it’s played, and the sounds that are used, or the vocals that are recorded if they’re correct or not. The producer is in charge of everything.”

Well, most producers these days are also the ones who put together the beat on the song so…there’s that too.

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But aside music production, there’s the Mixing and Mastering, which most producers know how to do but…it needs some special skills because Mix and Mastering is what makes the final product the FINAL PRODUCT (what you hear on your streaming platforms)

What is Mixing?

Mixing, is all about balancing individual instruments together.

You don’t want your instruments to be too loud or too soft. You don’t want them covering each other up in the frequency spectrum. You don’t want their transients sticking out too much, and you want some to sound closer to the listener than others.

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However, mixing is a two-step process. First, you create balance. Then, you create emotion.

Balance is all about creating an objectively good mix. It’s about making the song sound presentable.

But once that’s done, you’re trying to make the mix subjectively great. You’re creating a mix that holds the listener’s attention and pulls at their heartstrings. You use the tools at your disposal to make the song sound better than it ever could in real life.

In a word, you are trying to make the mix sound hyper-realistic.

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Up to 80% of the sound of a song comes from the mix.

You have access to every instrument. So you have the power to create a foundation of sound that the mastering engineer cannot touch.

What Is Mastering?

Mastering is the final step in the production process. No one starts mastering until the mix is complete.

There’re 3 goals of the mastering process:

  1. To make the track louder
  2. To make the track sound better
  3. To make the track more translatable in all kinds of speakers

The point of mastering is to make a song sound like other professional songs on the market. When they’re heard on the radio, in a playlist, or in the credits of a movie, they shouldn’t sound out of place.

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That means they must be the same level of loudness, have a similar frequency response, and sound great over any speaker.

Mastering can’t fix a bad mix, but it CAN enhance a good one. The few dozen moves you make during the mastering stage will affect the ENTIRE song.

So, yes, mixing and mastering is what polishes the song to become what we fall in love with as listeners so the next time you are giving a music producer fans for the production, remember the one who did the mix and Mastering too (It’s usually a different music producer)

Hope y’all learned something.

Source: musiconamission

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