(You won’t find the answer here, but my tongue is in my cheek so maybe you will)
Last week I renewed my car insurance. When the lady asked me what I did for a living, I told her I was an Audio Mastering Engineer. She awoke from her autopilot and momentarily turned into someone I was actually having a conversation with, “Oooo, that sounds exciting, what is mastering?”. She was interested, she acquired the need to know. It happens all the time with people who don’t write music.
Now, I’m happy to tell her what it is I do, because I love what I do and I could talk about it until my tongue fell out frankly. Explaining it actually gets me much cheaper insurance as they soon realise I don’t spend my weekends putting substances up my nose, driving cars into swimming pools and hitting people over the head with guitars. Anyway, there’s an interesting aside here.
You’re here, you’re reading this, which puts you into one of three categories. Either you have had records mastered before and you know exactly what mastering is, or you have never had anything mastered, but you know enough to have ended up here and are currently shopping around to find someone to master your record.
Or you are my mum, and knowing that “Mastering is the final stage in the creative… 500 words of blah.. ” is news.
Explaining mastering is easy. It’s about making stuff sound better. I did that in six words. The day I walk into a car dealership and there are signs displaying in the showroom asking, “What is driving?” are going to be worrying days indeed.