It’s your friendly neighborhood audio engineer, Nick Elle.
I have been seeing a lot of people putting the tag “remaster” on their tracks, but without actually knowing what a master actually is.
Well, I’m here to explain a bit.
In modern audio engineering, you have three parts: Recording, Mixing, and Mastering. But, for production, you really only have two parts: Mixing and Mastering, so I’ll skip recording.
Mixing is basically what it sounds like.
It’s mixing a lot of sounds together using tools like gain, EQ, compression, saturation, limiting, etc to create a full mix, which is the stereo (left and right channels) master audio.
Pretty straight forward.
But, mastering is what gets most artists.
Most of the time, they don’t know what it is.
Mastering is taking the mix (master audio) that just came from the mixing stage, and making it sound better.
Using the same tools as mixing: EQ, compression, saturation (if needed), limiting, and some stereo widening, on the mix, you get a mastered song. It will sound much better than the original mix, resulting in a better sounding song.
And, a remaster is a mastering job done after the first one, in the event that the former wasn’t up to standards.
For example, a remaster would be done by a modern audio engineer for a song made in the sixties, when audio wasn’t as pristine as it is now, to make it sound better.