Do you want to understand audio mastering? At Studiospares, we understand that the world of audio mastering can be very daunting and often hard to comprehend, with complex words that have even more complex meanings, leading to complex headaches… But don’t worry we’re here to help you shed some light on audio mastering! 

Our goal is to break down the barrier to entry on audio mastering so that anyone can understand these concepts. When you come to audio mastering your track, you’ll understand what everything is and exactly what it’s doing! 


A/B Testing

Comparing two versions of an audio track to determine the preferred one.



Undesirable artifacts in a digital audio signal caused by frequencies beyond the Nyquist limit (half the sample rate).


Analog-to-Digital Conversion

The process of converting analog audio signals to digital data.


Audio Mastering

The final stage in the music production process, focusing on preparing and transferring a recorded audio mix into its final format, ensuring optimal sound quality and consistency.


Bit Depth

The number of bits used to represent each sample in a digital audio signal.



The rate of data transfer measured in bits per second, determining audio quality in digital formats.


Brickwall Filter

A high-pass or low-pass filter used to sharply cut off frequencies beyond a specific point.



Distortion that occurs when an audio signal’s amplitude exceeds the maximum level that a system can handle.



Technique used to reduce the dynamic range of an audio signal, controlling peaks and boosting softer sounds for a more balanced sound.



Process of reducing excessive sibilance (high-frequency consonant sounds like ‘s’, ‘sh’, ‘ch’) in vocal recordings.



An effect that produces an echo-like repetition of the original audio signal.


Digital-to-Analogue Conversion

The process of converting digital audio data back to analogue signals.



Adding low-level noise to a digital audio signal when reducing its bit depth to maintain audio quality.


Dynamic Range

The difference between the loudest and softest parts of an audio signal.


Equalization (EQ)

The process of adjusting the balance of frequencies within an audio signal to enhance clarity, tonal balance, and overall sound quality.


Harmonic Distortion

Alteration of the original audio signal by adding harmonics not present in the source.


Harmonic Exciter

A processor used to add harmonics to the audio, enhancing clarity and presence.



The space between the average audio level and the maximum level before distortion occurs.


Inter-sample Peaks

Peaks that occur between digital samples and can cause distortion in audio conversion.



A type of compressor used to prevent audio signals from exceeding a set threshold, preventing distortion and controlling peaks.


Limiting Threshold

The level at which a limiter starts to act on the audio signal, preventing it from exceeding a specific level.


Loudness War

The trend towards increasing audio levels, often at the expense of dynamic range and sound quality.


M/S Processing (Mid/Side)

Technique that treats the middle and side components of a stereo signal separately for processing.


Master Bus

The final output of a mixing console or digital audio workstation where various effects and processing are applied before the audio is finalized.


Mastering Chain

The sequence of processing units applied during the mastering process.


Mastering Engineer

A specialist responsible for the final processing and preparation of audio tracks for distribution.



Frequencies between the bass and treble ranges, crucial for clarity and warmth in audio.


Multiband Compression

A type of dynamic range compression that divides the audio signal into multiple frequency bands for independent processing.



Adjusting the amplitude of an audio signal to a specific level without changing its relative dynamics.



Increasing the sample rate during digital processing to improve accuracy.


Parallel Processing

Mixing an unprocessed signal with a processed one to retain some of the original characteristics.


Peak Level

The highest level of an audio signal, often measured in dBFS (decibels relative to full scale).


Phase Cancellation

When two audio signals with the same frequency are out of phase, resulting in their cancellation or reduction.


Phase Shift

A change in the phase relationship between different frequencies in an audio signal.



The final mix before the mastering stage.



Emphasizing specific frequencies in an audio signal, creating a peak in the frequency response.



Short for reverberation, it’s the persistence of sound after the sound source has stopped, often added for ambiance or depth.


RMS (Root Mean Square)

The average level of an audio signal, often used for measuring loudness.


Room Acoustics

The characteristics of a room that affect the way sound is transmitted and heard.


Sample Rate

The number of samples of audio carried per second, typically measured in kilohertz (kHz).



Intentional distortion or clipping of audio signals to add warmth and character.


Serial Processing

Applying one effect or process after another in a linear sequence.



Pronounced ‘s’ sounds in vocal recordings that may need to be reduced.


Spectral Dynamics

Analysis and control of frequency-specific dynamics in an audio signal.


Spectrum Analyzer

Tool used to display the frequency content of an audio signal.


Stereo Imaging

Manipulation of the stereo field to create a wider or narrower perception of the audio’s spatial characteristics.


THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)

The measure of harmonic distortion added to an audio signal.


Tonal Balance

Ensuring the frequencies in an audio mix are well-distributed and harmonious.


Transient Shaping

Process of enhancing or reducing the attack and decay characteristics of audio signals.


UVI (Universal Virtual Instrument)

Software used for digital sound synthesis and audio processing.