Mastering Headroom

Here’s a good example of breaking the rules when it comes to mastering. This track has been recorded in an empty shop with a couple of mics. A main consideration when mastering this album was to preserve the natural dynamics of playing and of the space, but to keep it in the context of an album. So, as some tracks are naturally performed quieter than others, the relative volumes between the tracks needs to be preserved. As a result some tracks have a lot more headroom than others even after the mastering stage. This, as mastering should be, is based on the intended listening medium, which in this case is strictly for online streaming.

Processes used: EQ (subtractive to remove some boomy elements) – MB Compression (with very high thresholds) – Stereo Imaging (in the higher frequencies just to add a bit of breathing space) – Limiting (slow attack to preserve transients)

Leave a Reply