gap between mixing and mastering?



Hi ya folks I have just recently dived into recording my music at home. I record vocals and "some" guitar at home through a AT 4050 mic, RNP preamp, and Echo Mia soundcard. The rest of the music is done at a local studio. I have to say that the quality and fidelity I get from my signal chain is really amazing. I am very happy with what I got, But It just doesnt have the fine tuned sound that I hear on CD's and DVD's. I was wondering how much does mastering add to your recording? I am not sure if its my setup, or the fact that its not mastered, that makes it not sound truly professional? Can anyone direct me to maybe some audio samples ,or songs that have been mastered , and others that have not been mastered, so I can a/b them and hear the differances? :p:


Your setup doesn't sound bad for a home studio, but don't expect it to sound the same a studio with $60,000 of gear with $5000 mics, $2000 pres, $4000 converters and a $25,000 board etc. The difference from unmastered to mastered depends on who does the mastering and where it's mastered. Sometimes it's fatter, fuller and clearer. Sometimes it's just louder. If it sounds like there obvious room for improvement, there probably is. The good news is, usually it more from experience than better gear, but neither is absolutely replaceable with the other. First focus on recording technique before you run up your credit card with gear (like me). Once you've explored every option and cant do any better, then go buy gear.


Contact Bob Katz, famed mastering engineer at If you inquire about his services, he can send you a CD with examples like you're asking for. I'm sure other mastering engineers do this as well.

Jon Best

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2001
Originally posted by Don Grossinger:
Send me a sample tune & I'll send you back an example of that tune with & without mastering. (16/44.1 audio, please)

Interesting you've brought that up twice.

Any reason why you don't accept higher bit depth/sample rate masters? Any plans to?

Don Grossinger

Distinguished past mastering moderator
Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2002
just north of NYC

I'm just working within the limits of the equipment I have been given to use. Not by choice. Upgrade plans are not distinct at the moment. I'd love to start tomorrow using 24/192, but reality intrudes.

That being said, I still believe I'm doing some pretty good work: I do have #1 positions on a number of Billboard charts this week. Arista has just done their first project with me (more to come, hopefully). I have cut all the vinyl that J Records / BMG have released in the last few months.

My offer still stands!



okay sounds kool to me

Thanks Don, I am just one of those people that have to hear something to truly believe it.

I will post a link within the next day or two, where you can download an audio sample.