Can you do mastering with headphones?
Headphones are the secret weapon of many mastering engineers. In combination with a pair of studio monitors in an acoustically treated studio, headphones will allow you to optimize your masters for an assortment of playback systems.
In some cases, working with headphones may give you a more accurate mixing environment. Headphones will often give you a better bass response, especially if you don't have a subwoofer to work with.
How long does it take to master a song? Mastering time depends greatly on the quality of the mix. Usually, it takes a professional audio engineer 30-90 minutes for an average track. However, the time can vary from 10 minutes for a perfect mix to several hours in case of stem mastering.
Mixing and mastering are difficult because it can take years to train your ears to identify and focus on specific frequency ranges. It takes even longer to recognize how to fix a problem with a frequency, and what actions to take to bring forward or push back a particular element of your mix.
Mixing and mastering are both difficult to understand and perform at a high level. Mastering is typically a more simple or straightforward process than mixing, but that doesn't mean that it is easier or deserves less attention. Mixing and mastering both require their own separate set of skills and thought processes.
Mastering isn't just making your song louder. Mastering often includes increasing the final volume, but there is far more to mastering than just turning the volume up. Mastering isn't a repeatable plugin-chain. Not every song needs the same things to sound its best.
It's not easy, mind you. It takes good ears and a lot of practice. But it's SIMPLE. In fact, you can master your own mixes at home in just 14 easy steps.
The basic stages of mastering include: 1) prepping and fixing the final mix, 2) bouncing the final mix to a WAV file, 3) enhancing the song with EQ, saturation, compression, stereo widening, and even reverb, 4) compress and limit the track to increase the loudness, and 5) compare it to your reference track.
Mastering is the final stage of audio production—the process of putting the finishing touches on a song by enhancing the overall sound, creating consistency across the album, and preparing it for distribution.
And of course, if it's just you DJing at home or somewhere else with no audience, you can DJ like this too, by just plugging your headphones in and playing away. This way of DJing is particularly useful if you like to prepare your sets on just a laptop or tablet.
How loud should you be before mastering?
Audio mixes should be peaking below or around -6dBFS loudness. LUFS measure should be anywhere between -23dB LUFS to -18dB LUFS. These loudness limits ensure that when your mix is getting mastered, the mastering engineer will have enough headroom(around 6dB) to work with.
Advantages of Using Headphones When you Practice
Using headphones ensures only you can hear the notes you play. A good quality set of headphones will work to separate the sounds so you can easily hear each note. You can listen to professionally played piano pieces to analyse the sound and help you to play better.
It's your perception of the pitch that changes. That's why you should not wear headphones when you are singing or practicing with a track. The headphones cover your ears and the pitch drops just like it did when you covered your ears with your hands. Ear buds do the same thing.