How to Master a Song in Mixcraft

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Mixcraft is a digital audio workstation that lets you record, mix and master your music using a PC. Mastering is a post-production audio technique which aims to make the audio as loud, clear and "polished" as possible. When mastering, you add compression and equalization to the finished mix. The compression smooths out the peaks and troughs in the volume while the equalization cuts and boosts various frequencies, according to the parameters you choose.

Things You'll Need

  • PC
  • Minimum 2 GB RAM
  • Open Mixcraft by double-clicking its desktop link. The last edited project opens automatically. If this is not the one you want, click "File" and select "Open Recent." Choose the correct song from the drop-down menu.

  • Click "Export as Wav." Name the file "Song Title Final Mix." A ".wav" file is an uncompressed, lossless format and is the most suitable format with which to export the final mix. Save the file in a convenient location.

  • Click "File" and select "Open New." When prompted, name the new session "Song Title Master Session."

  • Click "File" and select "New Audio Track." You only need one track for mastering.

  • Click "File" and select "Import." Browse for the file you saved in step 2, then click it to load. It will load into the audio track.

  • Click "Effects" and select "Compressor." This opens a separate dialog box. Compression works by cutting the high volumes and boosting the low volumes to temper the peaks and troughs. This makes the overall sound suitable for playback on a wider range of systems, from laptop computers to nightclub sound systems.

  • Adjust the "Ratio" parameter to govern the intensity of the compression. The higher the ratio, the harder the compressor boosts and cuts. If the audio becomes fuzzy or otherwise lacks fidelity, tone down the ratio setting.

  • Adjust the "Output Gain" dial on the compressor to set the level of the new, compressed signal. Since the audio is compressed, you can boost it slightly without sacrificing clarity.

  • Click "Tools" and select "Equalization." This tool, commonly referred to as EQ, lets you cut and boost various frequencies for a more complete and cohesive sound. For example, if the mix sounds a little "muddy," reduce the low-end frequencies. Each frequency band has its own slider switch, arranged lowest-to-highest from left-to-right. Boost the frequency by moving the gain slider up, or cut the frequency by pulling it. While EQ is a matter of preference, there are some basic principals that you can use to get a more commercial sound. For example, add weight to the sound of the human voice by boosting the frequencies between 200Hz and 400Hz.

Tips & Warnings

  • When adding the EQ, vary the playback volume. Different frequencies are more prominent at different volumes.

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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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