Why You Shouldn’t Master a Mastered Song

Why You Shouldn’t Master a Mastered Song
Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos

Mastering is the final stage of audio production, where the sound engineer applies various effects and adjustments to the mix to enhance its quality, loudness, and consistency. Mastering is usually done by a professional who has the skills, tools, and experience to make the best decisions for the audio.

However, some people may be tempted to master an already mastered audio, either because they are not satisfied with the original mastering, or because they want to add their own touch to it. This is not a good idea, and here are some reasons why:

  • Mastering an already mastered audio can degrade its quality. Applying additional effects and processing to a mastered audio can introduce unwanted artifacts, such as clipping, distortion, noise, or phase issues. These can ruin the clarity, balance, and dynamics of the audio, making it sound worse than before.

  • Mastering an already mastered audio can alter its intended sound. Mastering is not a one-size-fits-all process. Different genres, styles, and platforms may require different mastering approaches and settings. Mastering an already mastered audio can change its character and mood, making it lose its original identity and appeal.

  • Mastering an already mastered audio can waste time and resources. Mastering is a complex and delicate process that requires careful listening, analysis, and adjustment. Mastering an already mastered audio can take a lot of time and effort, without yielding any significant improvement or benefit. It can also consume more disk space and bandwidth, making the audio harder to store and distribute.

Therefore, it is better to avoid mastering an already mastered audio, unless there is a specific reason or need to do so. If you are not happy with the original mastering, you can try to contact the original mastering engineer or the artist and ask for a revision or a different version. If you want to add your own touch to the audio, you can try to remix it instead of mastering it. Remixing allows you to change the arrangement, instrumentation, and effects of the audio, without affecting its final quality and loudness.