2. Introduction

In order to publish music, it needs to be recorded first. After that, the material is edited and eventually mixed. During mixdown, each individual track may be processed with equalisers, dynamic processors such as compressors, and other effects like delay and reverb. Most importantly, the mixing stage is where the levels and stereo positions of the individual signals are decided.

The final product of the mixdown is usually a stereo audio file. While this could in theory be converted to MP3, burned to a CD or pressed on vinyl, the process almost always involves another stage before that – mastering. Technically speaking, the operation known as mastering today should be referred to as „pre-mastering“, because „mastering“ used to be an additional step undertaken at the vinyl pressing plant. To simplify, we will however continue to use the term „mastering“ to denote all processing applied to the stereo mix file.

In case you are wondering, what can possibly be done to a finished stereo mix: Quite a lot!

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