You are here

Mastering Essentials: What Is Mastering?

Part 1 - The SOS Techniques Guide | by Ian Shepherd By Ian Shepherd
Published October 2020

In this major six-part video tutorial series, produced in association with Steinberg, well-known mastering engineer Ian Shepherd takes us through his approach to mastering. Whether you’re polishing individual tracks or assembling EPs or albums, Ian will explore the tools, skills and decisions that can help you achieve great-sounding results.

In Part 1 Ian discusses what mastering is — and what it isn’t — as he sets out his approach to mastering in this tutorial series.

(See related supporting content links further down this page.)

Topics covered in this series will include:

Part 1. What Is Mastering?

Part 2. The Three Ms of Mastering

Part 3. How Loud Should You Master?

Part 4. Mastering EQ: Balance, Don’t Match

Part 5. Compression & Limiting In Mastering

Part 6. Final Delivery: Requirements & Specs

This is Part 1. New Parts will be released every couple of weeks. Subscribe to the SOS YouTube channel and click on the notifications bell to be alerted when Parts 2-6 are made available.


If you want to practice your mastering skills, you can download the unmastered audio examples from Mike Senior’s Cambridge Music Technology library:

'Promises and Lies' is here:
'Another Day Calling' is here:

For more detail on Ian’s approach to mastering, you can get his free downloadable Home Mastering Guide at

Additional resource mentioned in the video.
“Another Day Calling”
“Promises and Lies”

For more info about Ian Shepherd, visit his site:

Published October 2020