• Sean Mcilwaine

Why You Should Have Your Music Professionally Mixed & Mastered

The Internet and technology in general have made it incredibly easy for anyone to become pretty much anything they want to these days and learn about almost anything that grabs their interest. This is a great thing, but just because you can, doesn't always mean you should, or that you'll be very good at it. This applies to music production and post-production just as much as any other interest or passion, If not more.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hone your mixing and mastering skills and work towards improving the quality of your music. It’s an invaluable skill to have and something we should all strive to continuously improve. Alas, there is still good reason to hand over your production to someone else, at the very least for mastering.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Perspective - I’ve found this to be true even with my own productions. By the time we’ve finished creating this beautiful masterpiece of a song, chances are we’ve completely lost perspective and the ability to critically analyse what’s still needed to perfect it. It already sounds how we think we want it and the changes we end up making to the mixing stage tend to be minimal. This is sometimes all that’s needed but more often than not it falls short of it’s potential. A dedicated engineer will bring a fresh perspective to the song and be able to deduce what's really needed to elevate the sound without being held back by preconceived ideas and emotional attachment to the music.

  • Time - As a producer or musician, we naturally dedicate the bulk of our time to the creative stage of our song: writing it and putting it all together. Once we’ve done that, unfortunately the mix tends to become an after thought that we briefly consider and tend to rush through in order to get the song “finished”. A mixing or mastering engineer (hopefully) puts their full time and effort into this stage of the process. Their only goal is to get the most out of what they are given and to create a final product that is significantly better than what they are sent. The reality is that the mixing and mastering process is just as important as any other stage of putting a song together and it should be treated as such.

  • Experience - A good engineer will work day in and day out on all sorts of music and should know the intricacies of each genre they work with, knowing exactly what's needed to get the best out of every song you send them. The experience and knowledge of a good engineer is invaluable. Anyone can learn the basic concepts of mixing and mastering and maybe even get results that would stand up to the best in the industry, but the ability of an engineer to critically listen to a song and make decisions and execute changes that go beyond basic principles to get the optimum results , is an extremely valuable investment in your music that can only come from years of dedication, experience and passion for the art.

  • Translation - How a song translates onto different systems is often a matter for the mastering engineer, but it also applies to the mixing stage. It is the engineers job to ensure that your song will sound good on just about any system, wether it be your phone, your car, or your pricey studio monitors. Not everyone has the luxury of an acoustically treated room with a perfectly flat monitoring system, and most of us don't actually know how our song will sound on other systems, so having your music mixed and mastered will ensure that wherever your music is being played, it will always sound as good as possible.

These are just a few of the reasons, the list could go on but those are definitely important ones to consider. If you are still on the fence about wether to have your music professionally mixed and mastered, maybe give it a try with one of your songs and decide for yourself!

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