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Recording Your Music: 'Tweaking, Mastering, Dubbing'

 By Eric Tunison, Owner of Groove Tunes Studios 

This is the fifth and final article in the series “Recording Your Music!”.  In this installment we will discuss what happens after your mixes are finished.. –ET
Critiquing and tweaking.
When your engineer is finished with your mixes he will invite you back to the studio to listen to his creations.  This is probably the most exciting part of the entire process.  You will not believe how great you sound!  Your engineer will give you a CD of your mixes to take home to listen to.  It’s a good idea to live with your mixes for several days and to listen to them on various playback systems, including your car stereo and home stereo.  Listen through good quality headphones if you can as this is an excellent way to hear all the intricacies and detail inside of the mixes.  For best quality listening be sure to listen to the mixes on CD players rather than on mp3 devices.  
In a few days you will have formed some opinions about the mixes.  Make a list of the items that bother you.  Typical items might be “I want the vocals a bit louder on the last line of the first chorus”, or, “I want less reverb on the electric guitar”, etc.  These sorts of comments are common.  Then call your engineer and schedule a day and time for a mix “tweaking” session.  While you are physically present at the studio, the engineer will make the changes you are requesting to your satisfaction.  This concludes “tweaking”.  You now have “final mixes”!
Mastering is a process of adding more compression and fine-tuning the equalization (EQ) of a final mix.  Mastering does not change the mix; it merely refines the overall sound.  If you are just recording a demo and do not expect to market your music for sale then mastering may not be necessary.  However, if you do plan to duplicate your songs for wide distribution or sale, or if you ever plan to have your music played on the radio, you should get your songs mastered.  Mastering is best performed by a mastering engineer who is separate from and not affiliated with the studio that recorded and mixed your songs.  One of the benefits of having someone other than your recording engineer perform the mastering is that it allows for a second set of fresh and unbiased ears to listen to and fine tune the overall sound.  Mastering is likened to adding polish to furniture.  It’s a fairly quick and inexpensive process, but it’s a step you wouldn’t skip if you’re thinking about selling your product.  The mastering process is highly specialized, so you want somebody who’s been doing it a long time.  One of the most reputable mastering engineers in Atlanta is Rodney Mills at Rodney Mills Masterhouse, www.rodneymills.com.
If you’re planning to make several copies of your CD then you will need to find a duplication house such as Discmakers www.discmakers.com.   Large, established duplicators like Discmakers are highly dependable.  They can also help you create the graphic art design for your CD package.  Keep in mind that the more copies you order the cheaper the cost per CD.  Send them a copy of your master CD along with any other info you want to appear on the jacket:  photos, artist names, song list, lyrics, writers and musicians credits, recording studio and mastering studio credits, and special thanks or acknowledgements.  They will assign a project manger to your job and will take good care of you throughout until you receive your shipment of boxes filled with your glorious CDs. 
Your journey has now ended!  Welcome to one of the happiest days of your life…you are now a Recording Artist!  Congratulations!
This concludes the series of articles “Recording Your Music!”  Please don’t hesitate to contact Eric Tunison at 770-842-5511 if you have any questions, or visit the Groove Tunes Studios website at www.groovetunes.com for more info about the studio.