The difference between mixing and mastering
Mixing and mastering are two important stages in the process of creating electronic dance music (EDM). While they are often confused or conflated, they are actually quite distinct, and they each serve a specific purpose in the production process.
Mixing is the process of combining multiple audio tracks into a single cohesive mix. This involves tasks such as adjusting levels and panning, adding effects, and editing timing and pitch. The goal of mixing is to create a balanced and cohesive sound, with each instrument and vocal occupying its own distinct space in the mix. Mixing is typically done using a digital audio workstation (DAW) and a variety of plug-ins and software tools.
Mastering, on the other hand, is the final stage of the music production process. It involves applying a series of processing steps to the mixed audio to prepare it for release. This can include tasks such as EQ, compression, limiting, and stereo enhancement. The goal of mastering is to create a polished and professional sound that is competitive with other commercially released tracks. Mastering is typically done using specialized software or hardware, such as a mastering plug-in or a hardware processor.
While mixing and mastering are both important stages in the production of EDM, they serve different purposes and require different skills and approaches. Mixing is more focused on the individual elements of the track, such as instruments and vocals, while mastering is more focused on the overall sound of the track. Mixing is typically done earlier in the production process, while mastering is done after the mix is complete.
To achieve the best possible results in EDM production, it is important to have a clear understanding of the differences between mixing and mastering, and to approach each stage with the appropriate techniques and tools. By mastering the art of mixing and mastering, you can create professional and polished tracks that will stand out in the world of EDM.