I've never mastered my own album before. Ever.
Why? Mainly cause it's a very specific skill. It's all about very SMALL tweaks to volume, compression and EQ. It takes years to learn how to do it well. I've always gone to Silvertone Mastering before. That was always my most favorite part of releasing a record. They have AMAZING equipment and speakers. Hell the speakers probably cost as much as my Jeep.
So why am I not doing that now? Well, for one, I have a mastering program I've been learning over the past year and a half. I think I'm doing alright. Plus--$$$$$. It's expensive to get mastering done and well, I don't have that extra money. Sorry Larry!
So I'm done with all the mastering. As I explained before this is kind of like the 'glue' that makes everything work together as a whole. I've learned to listen in a whole new way to the finished tracks. Polishing here, making it a little more 'present' there. It took awhile. And just as before it involved a whole lot of listening in different settings. Man my ears are tired!
The last thing that I'm actually doing as I write this is called 'Dither'. This is a weird one. Basically it's like this. Think of a piece of paper. Now you get to draw all over it. You can fill up every single inch with color or images. And you do initially. Then, you have to load it into a computer. Pretend the computer won't fit the whole piece of paper. So you have to make it smaller. Your 8X11 piece of paper becomes 4x6.
When this happens the computer 'guesses' to try to make the smaller picture as full and vibrant as the full sheet. But there are things that will be left out because you've 'compressed' the image.
Same thing happens in music. When I record every sound takes up the whole sheet of paper. To make it work on a CD it gets smaller. Then if it goes online to itunes Spotify etc it gets made into an Mp3--even smaller. Each time there is information that gets left out and other info that gets magnified. When this happens there can be distortion and weird sounds added in.
Dither solves that problem.
I hope that makes sense. Ha. Never knew that? Did ya? See? This is educational.
So I'm running all the final tracks through the dither and making CD versions so I can share it with all of YOU.