It's known that the CD duplication process is the last step to a perfect CD. However, before you even consider bringing a CD into the duplication process, you want to make sure that everything fits together the correct way. Even with a home recording studio, you can find the right mix and balance to your CD. Knowing how your end sound should be and how to monitor everything correctly will help you to get the best quality sound out of your CD before the duplication process.
Your first tip is to know that just recording your instruments is not the end to the process, even if you only plan on making a few duplicated CDs. Recording goes through several steps, specifically linked to mixing, pre-mastering and mastering. Once you get to the mastering stage, you will want to check to see if all of the instrumentation is equal and that it balances out the way that you want to. This not only includes balance, but also pertains to the volume level that you want to keep throughout the CD and consistency from one song to another. Each song should already have the right mix and balance. Now, you want to make sure that the overall volume and sound fits exactly right.
The way to check mastering comes down to the technicalities of making sure that all of the instruments are normalized at the same frequency and balance out between highs and lows. This means that your bass part should be at a certain volume level which should match with the higher levels, such as the voice or guitar. By listening closely enough, you should be able to tell if it is too high or low. You can always find the math formulas that will help you to mix together everything correctly and sum up everything so that it blends nicely. This is not just with one song or one set of instrumentation. It is something that you want to check for with consistency throughout the entire CD.
One of the parts of the process that you can use while mastering is to follow guidelines for the different types of music you have. Typically, mastering software will come with configurations that you can customize to get the right balance in each song. This will be dependent on the volume level that you want, combined with the levels used in the industry. For instance, rock music will have a slightly louder volume than classical music. Understanding the differences and how to adjust will help your music to sound better in the end process. This particular point is one that is consistent with industry standards as well as personal preferences which you will want to determine for your type of music.
Once your monitors tell you how the sound is balancing out, make a dumby master. This is what will let you know what really happened in the studio. You will want to take this copy and play it everywhere that you can. Everything from your home stereo, car stereo or computer should be a test area to make sure that everything sounds right. Go through each track and make sure that your volume stays the same and that all of the instruments are balanced out correctly.
Once you do this, you will be able to tell exactly what you did. This means that you can adjust the volume on some of the songs, change the volume or mix on all of the songs or clarify some of the sounds through compressing the mix that you are working with. The idea at this point is to have the entire CD at the same volume level and to make sure that everything blends. If you hear something that is off, adjust it.
The end result is that you will have a CD that is balanced out, not only with one great song, but with the entire CD. Your music will gain a professional sound and you will be able to distinguish your mix to your fans. By the time you bring this into the duplication area, you will be able to duplicate something that has a mastered touch.