Mastering is a post-production audio production technique that makes a recording ready for broadcast and replication. Once a recording has been edited and mixed, you master it by limiting the dynamic range, increasing the overall volume and equalising the frequency range. Mastering facilities were once limited to expensive mastering studios, but you can now do it with software. In 2003, Adobe Systems Inc. bought Syntrillium Software, and rebranded their proprietary mastering software Cool Edit Pro as Adobe Audition. The rebranded mastering software functions exactly as it did under the Cool Edit Pro brand.
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Things you need
- PC or Mac with CD drive
- .Wav file of audio
Open up Cool Edit Pro on your computer by clicking the icon on your desktop. The program may take up to a minute to fully load.
Insert a CD with the mixed .wav file of the track into the CD drive. If using a PC, click "File" in Cool Edit Pro, and select "import." When prompted, navigate to "computer", "CD drive" and select the file. If using a Mac, click "file" and select "import" or use the "command + I" shortcut. Then select the CD icon from the desktop. It may take approximately 30 seconds for the files to load onto the Cool Edit Pro interface with either operating system; Macs are typically a little faster.
Select "Multiband Compressor" from the menu at the top of screen. This splits your recording into sections. These sections are coloured for easy identification, and are based on the frequencies in your file. The number of sections depends on the frequency range. The multiband compressor typically divides audio into four sections, namely sub-bass, bass, mid and high. Click on a section to hear it in isolation. Boost or lower the frequency range depending on your preferences.
"Top and tail" the audio. "Topping and tailing" is an audio term for tidying up the start and end of a track. Select the first sound wave in the track, and zoom in. Use the paintbrush tool to remove any hiss, hum or other noise before the first soundwave. Deliberate sounds such as guitar or voice have a distinctly larger soundwave than accidental or residual noise. Scrub out any small soundwaves that appear to the left of the first large soundwave. Zoom in on the final soundwave in the track, and draw a line with the pencil tool at the point you want the track to end. Typically a track ends approximately two seconds after the final note has decayed. This helps the tracks flow on a CD, and gives disc jockeys the chance to stop the song before the next one starts.
Tips and warnings
- Newer versions of Adobe Audition have a spectrum analysis function that lets you visually compare the mix of a song from a CD with your own sounds.
- Take regular breaks to avoid ear fatigue.
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