Mastering... 2nd last step
I'm booked in for a mastering session on Thurs 14th next week.
Mastering is where the volume levels of the separate tracks are all evened out to match, so that you don't have to keep turning the volume up and down from one song to the next. The volume range (dynamic range) within each song, between the softest sounds and the loudest sounds is adjusted (compressed) so that you don't have to turn up volume for soft sections, and then down again when it gets louder. Also, the tone (bass, treble) will be adjusted across all tracks to give a consistent listening experience, as well as the overall stereo effect of sounds being spread between the left and right speakers. The fade outs at the end of songs can be refined a little bit. If there are any glitches and noises that we've overlooked in the mixing, these can sometimes be fixed up. The gaps between songs is set - usually 2 seconds, but sometimes a bit less or a bit more. The codes that show the track and album information on your phone or CD player are added to each track, and also the Universal Product Code that registers it with iTunes, Amazon, etc.
The "master" copy of the album is then ready to take for manufacture.
Mastering will be done here: