The processes of mixing and mastering are very important in music production. However, the differences between the two can be confusing for beginners. In this post, I will explain the difference in a way that is easy to understand for beatmakers.
First, mixing is the process of blending multiple tracks together to create a cohesive, balanced sound. Specifically, mixing involves adjusting the volume levels of each instrument, applying effects, setting the pan (left-right position), and more – with the goal of combining the tracks into a unified sound.
Mastering, on the other hand, is the final polishing stage after mixing is completed. It involves applying processes to the overall sound to enhance the depth, power, and polish – like dynamic compression, EQ adjustment, adding natural reverb, and more. The mastering engineer is a specialist who masters the track to match the desired atmosphere and imagery.
In short, mixing is the process of assembling the individual parts into one piece of work, while mastering is polishing that finished work. As a beatmaker, it’s important to understand the process of adjusting the sounds in the mix, then using mastering to take it to a professional-grade sound.
So in summary, mixing and mastering are two distinct stages in music production with different goals and techniques. When making beats, it’s best to understand this difference, and approach your sound design with both mixing and mastering in mind. This will help take your beats to the next level.