This article will discuss the best books on Mastering Music in 2023 for a clean and loud industry-standard sound.
Mastering is the final step in the audio production process. The mixed audio is optimized for the specific format in which it will be distributed, such as CD or streaming. This includes adjusting the overall loudness, equalization, stereo field, and dynamic range of the audio and adding any final effects such as compression or limiting.
The goal of mastering is to make the audio sound its best and ensure consistency across different playback systems and media. However, it can be a complex process that requires a good understanding of audio engineering and a trained ear for what sounds good. It also requires specialized equipment, such as high-quality monitors, equalizers, and processors.
Additionally, mastering engineers must have experience with the specific format and medium for which the audio is being prepared, as well as a deep understanding of the music and the intended audience. As a good mastering engineer takes care of the final details, making the audio sound as good as possible, it’s an important step in the audio production process.
We have prepared a list of seven books by seven highly-skilled and experienced Mastering Engineers, each of which offers interesting perspectives, guidelines, workflows, and methodologies. So let’s dive right into it.
Top 7 Books on Mastering Music 2022 For Clean & Loud Masters
1. The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook 4th Edition By Bobby Owsinski
The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook is a guidebook for mastering engineers written by Bobby Owsinski.
The fourth edition was published in 2018 and covers a wide range of topics related to mastering, including the technical aspects of mastering, the tools and techniques used, and the creative aspects of the process. It is intended to be a comprehensive guide for novice and experienced mastering engineers and includes tips and tricks for improving the mastering process.
- Technical information
The book provides a detailed overview of the technical aspects of mastering, including the tools and equipment used, audio processing techniques, and the various file formats used in mastering.
- Creative approach
The book also covers the creative aspects of mastering, such as how to create a sense of unity and cohesiveness in an album and how to use mastering to enhance the emotional impact of a recording.
- Online resources
The book also includes access to online resources such as audio examples and videos, which can help to explain further the concepts discussed in the book.
- Comprehensive guide
The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook covers the entire mastering process from start to finish, making it suitable for novice and experienced mastering engineers. In addition, it also includes interviews with some of the top mastering engineers in the industry.
The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook is intended primarily for mastering engineers. Still, it would also be useful for anyone interested in the mastering process, including recording engineers, music producers, musicians, audio students, audio enthusiasts, and anyone looking to learn more about the audio production and mastering process and technology.
2. Mastering Audio, Third Edition: The Art and the Science By Bob Katz
“Mastering Audio, Third Edition: The Art and the Science” is a book by Bob Katz, an audio mastering engineer, and educator.
The book provides in-depth information and practical advice for mastering audio recordings for various media formats, such as CDs, vinyl records, and digital downloads. It covers topics such as the physics of sound, the history of mastering, and the use of digital tools and techniques for mastering audio.
- Use of digital tools and techniques for mastering audio
The book covers digital tools and techniques for mastering audio, such as software equalizers, compressors, and limiters. It also provides information on how to use these tools effectively to achieve high-quality results.
- Written by a mastering engineer and educator
The book’s author, Bob Katz, is a mastering engineer and educator with many years of experience in the audio industry. He provides practical advice and tips based on his experience, making the book a valuable resource for anyone interested in mastering audio recordings.
- A detailed explanation of the history of mastering
The book covers the history of mastering, from the early days of analog tape recording to the modern era of digital audio. This gives you a deeper understanding of the evolution of the mastering process and the context in which it is performed today.
- In-depth coverage of the physics of sound
The book provides a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental principles of sound, including waveform, frequency, and amplitude. This knowledge is essential for understanding the processes involved in mastering audio recordings.
The book is aimed at audio engineers, producers, and musicians who want to improve their understanding of the mastering process and achieve high-quality results. It’s also suitable for music enthusiasts and audiophiles interested in understanding the technicalities of audio production and how audio is engineered for the best possible listening experience.
3. Audio Mastering Secrets By John Rogers
“Audio Mastering Secrets” is a book by John Rogers that provides insights and techniques for mastering audio recordings.
The book covers topics such as EQ, compression, limiting, and stereo enhancement and provides step-by-step instructions for using different mastering tools. It is intended for audio engineers, music producers, and anyone interested in learning more about the mastering process.
- Coverage of different mastering tools
The book covers many mastering tools, including EQ, compression, limiting, and stereo enhancement, and provides instructions for using them effectively. It also includes real-world case studies that demonstrate the techniques and concepts discussed in the book.
- Experienced Author
John Rogers has worked with Grammy Nominees like Mary J Blidge, Bowling for Soup, Sir Charles Jones, and more, and has mastered songs that have appeared in the Billboard Top 10 in Europe. In a few pages, the book captures the 20 years of his experience as a mastering engineer.
- Unique and Interesting Content
The book includes topics like The 18 laws of Audio Mastering, The 8 Effects Processors used in Mastering, Solution to common mastering problems, Audio mastering step-by-step, and more. These methodologies and techniques are derived from the author’s career and cannot be found in other sources.
- Technical and creative approach
The work covers the technical and creative aspects of audio mastering, providing a holistic perspective on the process. It offers tips and tricks for achieving professional-sounding masters and troubleshooting advice for common mastering problems.
The book starts with including common FAQs about the mastering process, in which it answers questions like what equipment, software, plugins, etc., you need for the mastering process. It also addresses the common question of Hardware Mastering v/s Digital Mastering. That helps you clear all your doubts about the process and get to the meat of it.
The book is written for audio engineers, music producers, and anyone interested in learning more about the mastering process and is suitable for people with all skill levels. It is also useful for anyone who wants to understand the technical and creative aspects of audio mastering and how to apply them to produce high-quality audio recordings.
4. Complete Audio Mastering: Practical Techniques By Gebre Waddell
“Complete Audio Mastering: Practical Techniques” is a book by Gebre Waddell that provides a comprehensive overview of the audio mastering process.
The book covers a wide range of topics, including the history of mastering, the different types of audio mastering equipment and software, and the various techniques used to enhance the overall sound quality of a recording. It also includes practical tips and tricks for mastering audio in various genres and mediums, such as CDs, vinyl, and streaming.
- Detailed descriptions of mastering equipment and software
The book includes information on the various types of equipment and software used in mastering, including equalizers, compressors, limiters, and more. It also discusses Subwoofers, Acoustic Treatments, Audio interfaces, headphones, analog effects units, and more.
- Common mastering pitfalls
The material also covers common pitfalls in mastering and how to avoid them, which helps you to improve your mastering skills. It also gives guidelines on sample rate, where the master should peak, how to use Mid/Side processing, and more.
- Case Studies and Examples
The book includes case studies and examples from various genres of music and mediums to give you a better understanding of the mastering process. For example, it talks about the goal of mastering and the role of a mastering engineer and gives an insight into what goes on in a mixing session.
- Step-by-step instructions for mastering a track
The text includes detailed instructions for mastering a track, including how to set up your equipment, listen to your audio, and adjust your audio.
- Mastering Acoustics and Monitoring
“Complete Audio Mastering: Practical Techniques” discusses hiring a professional acoustician, room modes, absorption, diffusion, treatments of the front, side, and rear walls, structuring and sizing your monitoring space, using an SPL meter, treating parallel surfaces, and more.
The book aims to help audio engineers, producers, and hobbyists understand the mastering process and improve their skills. It is written in a way that is easy to understand, even for those new to audio mastering. It provides detailed descriptions of mastering equipment and software, as well as step-by-step instructions for mastering a track
5. Audio Mastering – Essential Practices Jonathan Wyner
Audio mastering by Jonathan Wyner is a comprehensive guide towards achieving professional-sounding masters.
Essential practices in audio mastering include equalization, compression, and limiting to enhance the overall sound of the recording and make it consistent across different playback systems. Jonathan Wyner is a mastering engineer and author of the book “Audio Mastering: Essential Practices,” which provides an in-depth look at the techniques and technology used in mastering.
- Workflow and process
The book provides an in-depth look at the mastering process, including how to prepare audio for mastering, how to use mastering tools effectively, and how to make creative decisions during the mastering process.
- Mastering different formats and media
The book covers formatting audio for different formats, such as CD, MP3, and streaming services. It also covers the challenges and considerations of mastering different media types, such as film, video games, and podcasts.
- Tips and tricks
The text includes many tips and tricks for mastering, from getting the best results from different tools and techniques to troubleshooting common problems.
- Comprehesnive content
The material covers everything from defining mastering to introducing the room, gear, and software used in the mastering process to discussing its life cycle, maximizing the fidelity of your audio, to discussing tools like EQ, compression, Denoizer, etc.
- Case studies
The book includes two case studies, one of which is titled “BIG MONEY,” which discusses the setup, gain staging, listening, tonal issues, stereo imaging, etc. The other is called “CONTINUITY BETWEEN TRACKS,” which works on transitioning tracks, discussing plugin chains, etc.
“Audio Mastering: Essential Practices” by Jonathan Wyner provides a comprehensive guide to mastering audio, with in-depth information on the techniques and technology used in mastering, as well as practical tips and real-world examples to help you master your audio like a pro.
It is for audio engineers, music producers, sound engineers, students, hobbyists, and independent musicians who want to learn more about mastering audio and improving their skills.
6. Template Mixing and Mastering By Billy Decker
Template Mixing and Mastering is a technique developed by Billy Decker, a professional audio engineer and music producer.
It involves using pre-made templates to quickly and efficiently mix and master a song or album. The templates are created by Decker using his extensive experience and knowledge in audio engineering. They are designed to provide consistent and high-quality sound for a variety of different genres and styles of music.
This technique can save time and effort for recording artists, producers, and engineers, while still achieving professional results.
The templates are designed to provide consistent and high-quality sound across a variety of different genres and styles of music. This can help to ensure that the final product sounds polished and professional, regardless of the source material.
Using pre-made templates allows the mixing and mastering process to be completed more quickly and efficiently, saving time and effort for recording artists, producers, and engineers.
The templates can be adjusted and customized based on the individual needs of the song or album so that the final product is tailored to the specific project.
Billy Decker has templates for different genres and music styles, which means you can find the right template for your project. The templates can be used in digital and analog environments, making them adaptable to different workflows.
- Easy to use
The templates are user-friendly and easy to use, so you don’t have to be an expert audio engineer to achieve professional results. In addition, templates can help you achieve professional results without spending a lot of money on expensive equipment or hiring an expensive audio engineer.
“Billy Decker’s Template Mixing and Mastering technique” is primarily aimed at recording artists, producers, and engineers looking to quickly and efficiently mix and master their music while still achieving professional results. The templates can be used by anyone looking to improve their audio mixing and mastering skills, regardless of their experience level.
7. Mixing and Mastering in the Box By Steve Savage
“Mixing and Mastering in the Box” is a book by Steve Savage, a professional audio engineer and educator.
Mixing-mastering “in the box” refers to mixing audio tracks within a digital audio workstation (DAW) instead of using an external mixing console. The term “in the box” comes from the fact that the audio processing is done within the computer system or “inside the box” of the DAW software.
In a traditional mixing setup, audio signals are routed through an external mixing console, where they are processed through various channels and then combined to create the final mix. In contrast, when mixing “in the box,” the audio tracks are recorded and processed within the DAW software. This can be done using virtual mixing consoles, plugins, and other digital audio processing tools.
Mixing in the box has become increasingly popular in recent years due to technological advancements and the availability of high-quality DAW software and plug-ins. It allows for greater flexibility and convenience and the ability to recall and make changes to a mix at any time. However, it also has its limitations.
It can be more demanding on computer resources and hard to achieve the same warmth and character of an analog console. The book is focused on the use of digital audio workstations (DAWs) for music production, specifically for the tasks of mixing and mastering.
- Explanation of mixing and mastering concepts
The book covers various topics related to mixing and mastering, including EQ, compression, reverb, stereo imaging, and other audio processing techniques. It provides a clear explanation of each concept, making it easy for you to understand and apply it in your productions.
- Tips and tricks for achieving professional-sounding results
The book is designed to help you achieve professional-sounding results in a home studio setting. It provides tips and tricks for optimizing audio quality and achieving the desired sound for different types of music.
- Step-by-step instructions
The book is written in a clear and easy-to-follow style, with step-by-step instructions for each topic. This makes it easy for you to follow along and apply the concepts to your sessions/projects.
- Practical examples
The book includes practical examples demonstrating how to apply the concepts in real-world situations. These examples give you a deeper understanding of how to use the techniques in your productions.
The book is great for bedroom producers and DIY musicians, who have limited studio equipment and budgets, and cannot afford hardware mixing-mastering consoles and units. It’s quite possible to achieve great results in the box, and the book exactly takes you through that.
Audio Effects, Mixing and Mastering
Audio Effects, Mixing and Mastering by Metin Bektas is a quick guide to effects, mixing, and mastering for beginners with a focus on Cubase.
The first chapter highlights the most commonly used audio effects, such as compressors, limiters, equalizers, reverb and delay, gates, chorus, and other effects. It is well-written and easy to understand, making it the perfect choice for those just starting out in the world of audio production.
- Well-structured and resourceful
The book begins by providing you with a basic overview of the different types of audio effects and their uses. It then delves into each effect in detail, explaining exactly how each one works and how to use it to its fullest potential. It also provides you with tips on how to master and mix your audio and helpful hints on how to create a professional-sounding mix. Metin Bektas also includes a helpful glossary of terms to help you understand audio production’s more technical aspects.
- Audio Effects and Automation
The book covers Compressors, Limiters, EQs, Reverb & Delay effects, Chorus and other effects, and their automation techniques to achieve great sounds.
There’s an entire section in the book dedicated to mastering, which talks about its basic ideas, mastering strategy, the mid-side processing technique, and a philosophical lesson on the mental model to have while approaching mastering.
The section about mixing talks about strategies for mixing and how to create a separation between tracks and achieve a well-balanced mix.
The book isn’t an in-depth mastering guide, but it’s for anyone who wants an overview of the mixing and mastering process and how to achieve a good sound. It’s a short 100-page read and is available in kindle and paperback format. The book is also suitable for producers, composers, and DIY musicians to understand how to add effects to your sounds and get a brief summary of the mixing-mastering.
We have covered the best texts available for mastering in 2023. To summarise all the information, if you are a bedroom producer and only have access to your DAW and your home setup that doesn’t include any hardware effects units or processors, Mixing and Mastering in the Box by Steve Savage is highly recommended, as it covers exactly that.
If you’re looking for a quick solution to mastering and don’t have time to dive deep into the process, you can go for Template Mixing and Mastering by Billy Decker or use AI mastering tools like Landr. However, if you are willing to dedicate time and effort to learning the art and science of mastering, “Mastering Audio, Third Edition: The Art and the Science” by Bob Katz and The Mastering Engineer’s Handbook by Bobby Owsinski are the right books for you.
Lastly, if you already are a professional mastering engineer, and want to try new methods and improve your skills, go for the “Audio Mastering Secrets” by John Rogers, “Complete Audio Mastering: Practical Techniques” by Gebre Waddell, or “Audio Mastering: Essential Practices” by Jonathan Wyner. I hope the article was of help. Thank you for reading.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.