Audio Masterclass

The Audio Masterclass Professional Course in Mastering

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The Audio Masterclass Professional Course in Mastering

This course covers all of the processes of mastering that are in regular use in recording studio operations. The twelve modules cover preparation for mastering, resolution of mixing errors and defects, equalization, compression, limiting, and harmonic enhancement. Applications include mastering for CD and download, meeting current market requirements for mastering, repurposing and mastering of compilations.

The course is entirely practical and is assessed solely on the learner's practical assignment work. Text and graphic support materials are provided as appropriate, and the course includes audio example files demonstrating mastering techniques.

The outcome of the course will be an enhanced level of knowledge, skills and experience in mastering techniques.

Flexible Learning
You can study the Audio Masterclass Professional Course in Mastering online or by downloading all of the course materials to your own computer. The course can be completed in 12 weeks, or you can spread it out over up to two years if you wish. You can work on the course at any time you choose, and take breaks whenever you like.

Each of the twelve modules of this course includes a practical assignment project that you can work on in your own home recording studio using digital audio workstation software. The assignments include tasks that are typical of a professional recording environment. The challenges are tough, but full instruction is given, often with audio examples and demonstrations.

Study Methods
This is the fully-assessed version of the Audio Masterclass Professional Course in Mastering. Study centers around the practical assignment projects of the course and the assessments you will receive.

You can submit each of your twelve practical assignment projects to Audio Masterclass for our assessment, comments and advice. Our assessments are detailed, friendly and helpful. We will tell you exactly what you are doing right, what could be better, and how you can improve. Re-submissions are welcome.

You will receive the Audio Masterclass Professional Certificate in Mastering on successful completion of the course.

Course content

Course introduction
Module structure Knowledge
Notes on file format Knowledge
Foundation content
Pre-mastering Knowledge
De-clicking Knowledge
Noise removal Knowledge
Topping and tailing Knowledge
Mastering for vinyl Knowledge
Level vs. noise in vinyl mastering Knowledge
Acceleration limiting Knowledge
Mistracking Knowledge
Vinyl side duration Knowledge
Relative stylus-to-groove speed Knowledge
The vinyl mastering engineer Knowledge
Mastering for CD Knowledge
Bit depth and sampling rate Knowledge
Maximum duration Knowledge
PQ coding Knowledge
Mastering for download Knowledge
MP3 Knowledge
AAC Knowledge
Artistic aspects of mastering Knowledge
EQ Knowledge
Dynamic range Knowledge
The mastering (brickwall) limiter Knowledge
Multiband compression Knowledge
Clipping Knowledge
Notes from a professional mastering engineer Knowledge
Mastering for acoustic music Knowledge
Check questions Quiz
Model answers to check questions Quiz
Audio examples
Unmastered audio Audio examples
Normalization Audio examples
EQ Audio examples
Compression Audio examples
Limiting Audio examples
Clipping Audio examples
Multiband compression Audio examples
Module 1: Basic mastering processes
Module introduction Knowledge
Pre-mastering Knowledge
Normalization Practical assignment project
De-clicking Practical assignment project
Noise removal Practical assignment project
Balancing channels Practical assignment project
Topping and tailing Practical assignment project
Versioning Practical assignment project
Intersample peaks Practical assignment project
Module 2: Investigation of clipping
Module introduction Knowledge
Sine wave clipping Practical assignment project
Drum clipping Practical assignment project
Clipping music Practical assignment project
Module 3: Equalizing the mix
Module introduction Knowledge
Mastering examples Audio examples
Match the frequency balance of two tracks Practical assignment project
Notes on preset EQ curves Knowledge
Module 4: Compressing the mix
Module introduction Knowledge
The loudness war Knowledge
Mastering audio examples Audio examples
Compressing the mix Practical assignment project
Normal compression Practical assignment project
Parallel compression Practical assignment project
Module 5: Limiting
Module introduction Knowledge
Problems with limiters Knowledge
Look-ahead limiting Knowledge
Limiting without problems Practical assignment project
Investigation of clipping in limiters Practical assignment project
Investigation of attack time Practical assignment project
Investigation of release time Practical assignment project
Module 6: Low-frequency merge
Module introduction Knowledge
Low-frequency merge in vinyl mastering Knowledge
Investigation of varying degrees of low-frequency merging Practical assignment project
Module 7: Crossfading
Module introduction Knowledge
Consistency of level Practical assignment project
Butt editing Practical assignment project
Crossfading Practical assignment project
Module 8: Stereo width
Module introduction Knowledge
Control of stereo width using pan Practical assignment project
Conversion to MS (mid-side) Practical assignment project
Control of stereo width using MS technique Practical assignment project
Super-wide stereo Practical assignment project
Module 9: Dropout repair
Module introduction Knowledge
Example of dropout repair Audio examples
Dropout repair Practical assignment project
Module 10: Harmonic generation and warmth
Module introduction Knowledge
Investigation of clipping for harmonic generation Practical assignment project
Parallel clipping Practical assignment project
Filtered clipping Practical assignment project
Compressed clipping Practical assignment project
Module 11: Multiband compression
Module introduction Knowledge
Example of multiband compression Audio examples
Band splitting Practical assignment project
Multiband compression Practical assignment project
Parallel multiband compression Practical assignment project
Module 12: Complete mastering project
Module introduction Knowledge
Equalization Practical assignment project
Fader riding Practical assignment project
Compression Practical assignment project
Harmonic generation Practical assignment project
Final EQ adjustment Practical assignment project
Limiting and normalization to a prescribed level Practical assignment project
Topping and tailing Practical assignment project
Dither Practical assignment project

What our students say about Audio Masterclass courses

You did a great job!

Excellent material, audio and videos are really good and clear.

I appreciate the depth, very informative and useful. I increased my knowledge in the area I am so passionate about. I was able to implement a lot of new procedures in my own sound and musical projects.

My gratitude and best regards

Anton Strecky, Slovakia

With my employment in health service established years ago, music and recording is an essential withdrawal from professionalism to me, rather than a significant possibility to provide a supplement to earned income. But with growing interest and investment, achievement of professionally acceptable quality became a must. At that point studying at Audio Masterclass had only pros and no cons to me, and no equally accessible alternatives of world-class standards.

The book "How to set up a Pro Home Recording Studio" [by Audio Masterclass] and other information concerning hardware and software helped me to find "my way" in the jungle of possibilities, and it actually had a money saving effect.

Assessments of practical assignment projects were of especially great importance to me. It is easy for the beginner like me to have an illusion that the produced work is good, while actually it is not. Additional valuable information can be derived from individually provided comments too.

It is very comforting to have tons of audio examples at hand. Even after the course I use some of them as benchmarks of specific quality.

The most special experiences along the way of the course were moments of approaching the presumed limits of creative possibilities… stepping beyond… and finding that there is something more out there. And this kind of training may have implications that are not immediately obvious, but may prove to be of great importance in any intellectually demanding/competitive situation of life. All in all, I consider that to be my greatest gain achieved at Audio Masterclass.”

Egidijus Nemanius, Lithuania

Hi David [Gatis refers to David Mellor, Course Director of Audio Masterclass], I very happy that I signed-up for your course and that I've graduated it!

Actually, before I made my mind, I did a lot of research on web about your course, because at that time I just finished my studies at America Audio Insitute, but I felt like it's not enough for me to get on next level - as I wanted it so much. So I found Audio Masterclass. I found just one review on google, where somebody told that: "you won't get what you as an engineer really need etc, it lacks of deep dive in subject... this and that...." - I thought to myself: "well... maybe this guys is all wise or he is not opened for new experience and knowledge, or he was a bad student". So I decided to take a risk as I had no clue what is will look like.

The first thing that made most sense to me is practical assignment - that is "everything"! But in many other online-schools (like America Audio Insitute or Detroit Recording institute), it's the biggest defect of the program. If you can send your material for constructive feedback, it's the most valuable learning point!

Next thing: Every time I got feedback on task, at first I started learn it with your written feedback - that had greatest value to me. Another great thing is that by reading your feedback, you really get this feeling that somebody is listening to your work and paying attention to details.

About content: the structure of the course is very similar to many other courses but the difference in content is huge! And by this I also mean the language - how you explain things and details. This is very important to me as I'm not comming from english speaking country, but here it's easy to perceive the information. There are many great recording engineers out there, but not everyone has capability to teach others - but you can teach! (and I mean it, especially if I compare with my previous courses on America Audio Insitute Detroit Recording institute).

Other student audio examples: - very good in understanding what to do, and what to avoid! Sometimes if you have nothing to compare your work with, then you might think that "oh, yeah, great record!", but when you start to listen to others ...hmmm.... it become a challenge - it's like setting benchmark.

And yes, for me, as a small studio owner, has no huge budget or possibility to try out some top-end mics, the files with pre-amp and mic samples are awesome - now I have an idea how U87 sounds! : )

About improvements - actually I don't have anything to add to this, because from all this course I can feel that it's all made with professional attitude.

Overall - I've learned a lot, but most important to me is that by having many "aha" moments, I've developed completley different mindset when I start to think about recording, mixing and mastering - for me, it's the biggest achievement! ...and I want to learn more!

Ok, again, thanks for everything - I got the certificate - it's a very important milestone for me towards my GRAMMY! : )

P.S. I've already decided, to save some money and enroll to your professional courses within few month, so see you soon!

P.S.S. I've also attached my picture from my home studio.

All the best.

Gatis Pastars, Latvia

“I have to thank you and your team for helping me better understand the complex, and sometimes difficult to discover, secrets of audio engineering ! I'm very happy with my choice of enrolling in your captivating and well structured course !

Thank you and best wishes.”

Tudor Rogoz, Romania

This course is for you if...

  • You listen to pro recordings and think to yourself, "Why don't mine sound like that?"
  • You want to master all of the techniques of the recording studio
  • You want to get the utmost out of your equipment and software
  • You want to save money by realizing it's all down to your knowledge, skills and experience - you don't need more equipment
  • You want to be sure that your production skills allow you to get the best from your musical creativity

About Course Designer David Mellor

Course Designer David Mellor

David Mellor is the founder and Course Director Audio Masterclass, currently residing in the beautiful countryside of Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. He has worked in audio education since 1986 in hands-on training, lectures and online. David Mellor holds the degree of B.Mus (Tonmeister) from the University of Surrey where he studied music, piano performance, acoustics, electronics, electro-acoustics and recording.

Live Sound and Recording Engineer
David Mellor worked as theatre sound engineer at London's Royal Opera House, with activities including sound design, front-of-house operation, stage monitoring and electronic design satisfying the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Karlheinz Stockhausen. David Mellor toured with the Royal Opera Company to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, USA; the Odeon of Herod Atticus, Athens, Greece; the Sejong Center, Seoul, South Korea; the Bunka Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan.

Musician and Composer
Since 1985 David Mellor has had more than 1000 works published in the field of production music, including the Chappell and Carlin music libraries (now combined into Universal Publishing Production Music) and his own music library for which he has produced seventeen compact discs. Notable uses of his music include the BBC's Horizon, Fahrenheit 911, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Writer and Educator
David Mellor has been actively involved in Audio Education since 1986, teaching students of City of Westminster College and Westminster University, and also returning to lecture at Surrey University. He has also written for magazines including Sound on Sound, Audio Media, Studio Sound, Sound & Video Contractor. He has also written four books on audio and video technology. David Mellor now specializes in online audio education and has been Course Director of Audio Masterclass since 2001.

Enroll now $555

All of our courses have a 30-day no-questions-asked, full-refund guarantee