Mastering is the last musical process in the chain. Its the stage where all songs are placed in sequence, tonally balanced, dynamically mapped and gap times tweaked. Its the stage where you chisel the sonic sculpture into the final product adding contour to the journey. Its the icing on the cake with every decision having direct consequences.
Unfortunately “Mastering” has also now become the stage where you try to achieve the highest possible level for your CD. Its a way of supposedly cutting through the polluted airwaves. Its a fallacy. The direct consequence of this is a lowered or flattened dynamic level and unfortunately its becoming quite standard . It has become a competition which has led to the “Loudness Wars”. Its not something I am going to be part of but more on that later.