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An engineer sitting at his workstation in a recording studio. Photo courtesy of Jesman Fabio via Unsplash

The Exciting Universe of Online Mastering

By Blog, Uncategorized

The concept of ‘online mastering’ doesn’t have to be scary.

The process of music-making is extensive. From the writing to the arranging to pre- and post-production, the road to a finished piece of music is a long one.

And fittingly, awaiting your arrival at the end of said journey is the most feared, mysterious step: mastering.

Understanding Mastering

Mastering is the art of refining and enhancing certain sonic characteristics of a song to ensure a universally high-quality listening experience.

Traditionally, mastering is done by professional engineers in professional studios. However, with the rapid development and democratization of professional-grade music production software, the mastering process has become more accessible than ever.

Through online mastering platforms, artists of all experience and financial levels can give their songs the professional polish they deserve. In this quick guide, we’ll look into the world of online mastering, exploring its benefits, drawbacks, and everything in between.

What is audio mastering?

Mastering is the last stage in the music production process before distribution. Its primary goals include enhancing clarity, optimizing volume levels, and ensuring consistency across tracks within an album.

The process typically begins with careful listening and analysis of the mixed tracks. The mastering engineer evaluates aspects such as tonal balance, dynamics, stereo imaging, and overall cohesion to identify any areas that may require adjustment.

Main mastering objectives

One of the primary objectives of mastering is to achieve optimal loudness and dynamic range. This involves using tools like compressors, limiters, and equalizers (‘EQs’) to balance the mix while preserving the original sound.

Another essential aspect of mastering is ensuring compatibility across various playback systems. This includes addressing issues such as frequency balance, stereo width, and phase coherence to ensure that the music translates accurately across different devices and environments.

In addition to technical adjustments, mastering also involves creative decision-making to enhance the emotional impact and sonic character of the music. This may include adding effects like reverb or delay, fine-tuning the stereo image, or making EQ adjustments to highlight certain elements of the mix.

The Shift to Online Mastering

In recent years, there has been a notable shift towards online mastering services. This shift is the result of several factors, particularly recent advancements in the capabilities and accessibility of digital music technology.

Online mastering platforms, like our VIRTU Assisted Mastering platform, allow musicians to upload and process their tracks remotely without the need for expensive studio sessions.

Additionally, online mastering services offer a level of convenience that traditional studios cannot match. Musicians can collaborate with mastering engineers from anywhere in the world, saving time and money on travel expenses.

The Pros & Cons of Online Mastering

While online mastering offers many advantages, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before diving in.


On the positive side, these services are often more affordable than traditional studio sessions, making the mastering process accessible to independent artists and small-budget productions. The availability of online music-sharing tools also makes it easier for projects to get done quicker.


However, using an exclusively online mastering solution isn’t without its drawbacks. Without an unbiased ear listening to your music, you might not be getting the most reliable results. You may also find you struggle with significant quality differences from platform to platform. However, most artists find that despite its flaws, online mastering is an effective, accessible way to give their mixes that professional touch.

Tips for a Successful Mastering Session

For musicians looking to take their first step into mastering their music, here are some things to consider:

Firstly, it’s essential to prepare your audio files properly before submitting them for mastering. This means making sure your mix is balanced and that there’s no audible peaking in your final mix (unless it’s intentional).

A clear sense of artistic direction is also crucial throughout the process. Even in the early stages of sketching out your track, having a sense of where you’d like to take it can help inform stylistic decisions down the road. With VIRTU, for example, you retain control of deeper creative decisions, like tweaking your overall EQ curve or spreading your mix a little wider.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Making music is all about taking creative risks and learning from them.


Online mastering is a convenient and accessible solution for musicians looking to elevate the quality of their recordings.

Whether you’re an independent artist or a seasoned professional, there are a host of online mastering platforms that provide a range of options to suit your various needs and budget. By understanding the basics of the mastering process and exploring the various online mastering options available, you can unlock your music’s true potential.