There seems to be a growing debate about how far a mixing engineer should take a track before handing it off to be mastered. Many of you have voiced concern about how much processing (specifically on the mix buss) is OK and how much should you leave for the mastering phase. I think much of this is born out of confusion over what really happens in mastering. My suggestion? Pretend like mastering isn’t even an option.
Don’t Defer Your Responsibility
One of the dumbest things you can do in audio is to defer responsibility to a later stage, or to someone else entirely. What I mean is this: many people setup to record a band and it sounds OK, but they assume it will sound better once it’s mixed, so they settle for mediocre sounds. Or they have great sounds, but too many to choose from. They defer the responsibility of committing to a tone or performance.
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