Mastering is a key part of audio production
Essentialy, mastering is the process of preparing your mixes for distribution.
Every song you hear on the radio ‒ except for the live on-air performances ‒ has been mastered. This is accomplished by fine-tuning the frequency content, dynamics and spatial representation of the recording.
The goal is to make the mixes “translate” well ‒ sound good on different sound systems, enhance the emotional impact of the songs, unify the sound of a record and make individual tracks work together as an album with a common character.
You can find a more thorough explanation here.
But how important is mastering? Is it neccesary or can we just skip it and save some money?
What if I skip mastering?
Mastering is about small changes. It’s about polishing and presenting the product in the best light possible. Think tuxedo! You are not going to the Grammy Awards in your flip-flops and pijama. Sure, “Rick Rubin” did it, but he’s got a legendary portfolio to get away with it.
Most certainly, skipping the mastering phase while producing a song or an album would actually cost you money. This may sound counterintuitive, but you’ll know what I mean in a minute.
Mastering is a huge deal in audio production. While it is not going to make a bad song sound great, a professional mastering will give your song a gentle but firm push, a slight edge over the competitors. If done correctly, it should also make you stand out from the crowd and get you more exposure.
You should always master your songs and deny the competitors the advantage of sounding better, being louder and more exposed. Tracks that have been mastered sound professional and on-the-level. You will gain and keep more audience if you do it.
When you invest your time and resources into your products, make sure you make the most out it.
Push your limits, not your luck!