A reference made in the following article is gestalt, this means the overall perception of the mind from all the instruments and sounds. We all have preferences to sound based on what genres we follow, for myself it is the reggae sound. All genres can and do benefit from reggae. The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin... One may do mastering of audio like Michaelangelo does when working on sculptures that were already in the marble before he began, he took away material to reveal the form. Others can add to something for art. What do you see? These images are mastering in visual terms. Mastering For Musicians By Craig Anderton | January, 2008 How To Add that Final Polish To Your Mixes. The article title alone is enough to cause some professional mastering engineers to run to the various forums and start complaining. “That’s what’s wrong with this industry—these kids don’t know how to master!” “You gotta have a professional do it.” Blah, blah, blah. Normally, I’d be a lot more deferential if I didn’t hear so many horrible mastering jobs from professional mastering engineers. Will people mastering at home just add to this mess? Very possibly, but, then again, maybe the home recording masses will be able to restore some sanity to the overcompressed, over-hyped style of mastering that has ruined many a good recording. Of course, there are excellent mastering engineers, and how they take a recording from “okay” to “wow” is a thing of beauty. And, to be fair, many of them are pressured by record companies to make ever-louder recordings. If you can afford a truly good mastering engineer, you won’t regret it. But if you can’t—or if you want to get started learning a new skill—consider trying your hand at mastering your material. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “MASTERING”? Let’s define “mastering” as taking a mix and making it sound even better—then, if applicable, assembling these mixes into a great listening experience. A really good mastering engineer can make the mastered version sound way better than the mixed version, but any improvement is a good thing. BUT ISN’T MASTERING TOO ARCANE FOR THE AVERAGE MUSICIAN? Yes and no. There are three main benefits of using mastering engineers: ears, objectivity, and technological mastery. Mastering technology used to be much more complex than it is now, because of the limitations of vinyl and cassettes. The gear required was hellishly expensive, and the tradeoffs between album length, level, distortion, and other factors required serious expertise. Mastering wasn’t something the average person could do. The digital-audio revolution has changed that. Digital can be a forgiving medium with plenty of dynamic range. Quality audio plug-ins and processors have become ever more affordable. For musicians who want to master, gear is not the issue. But ears still are. A veteran mastering engineer will know how to bring out the best in a piece of music. Maybe you have good ears, which means you can probably do good mastering. But exceptional mastering requires exceptional ears—something no plug-in can provide. Mastering requires not just learning about how to use technology, but also the ability to hear the gestalt of a piece of music—not just individual instruments.