Audio mastering is a distinct discipline that I’m still getting acquainted with. While trying to wrap things up for the Equinox album I decided to see what I could do on my own and found this really helpful course on

Here are some of the key points that helped me with this project:

  • Mix and bounce to -10 dB, with plenty of dynamic range available. If this means removing compression/limiting on the master bus then do it.
  • Bring all mixes into a unique mastering session. Place all songs on their own tracks, each with it’s own EQ/Compression/Limiting.
  • Find the right compressor for each song tonally, using a low ratio, somewhere between 1.5:1 to 3:1. Set the threshold high enough so that the compressor kicks in, but not too hard.
  • Adjust the compressor’s attack and release settings so that drum transients are cutting through nicely.
  • Bring up the song’s level by boosting the compressor’s output gain until peaks get close to somewhere around -2 dB.
  • Apply the limiter (L2) so that the peaks are set to -2 dB with the threshold being just lightly triggered.
  • Try to shape the songs in terms of EQ and volume so that they sound “sonically related”. (Ended up cutting quite a bit ~60 Hz and below, due to bass build up.)

Note to future self: don’t use the master EQ to shape each track individually. Seemed like a time saver until I had to do revisions and had no idea what was done with songs mixed before the last bounce. Always use an inline EQ!