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Nocturnal_Evil
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:00 am
Posts: 421
Location: The Summerlands
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2022 10:49 am 
 

Hey everyone, got a dumb question here:

Could someone explain to me the difference between remastering and remixing?

Some albums claim to be one or both. Does one involve a fundamental rearranging of frequencies while the other means a simple volume boosting?

Thanks in advance.
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Lord_Of_Diamonds
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 5:23 pm
Posts: 1438
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2022 6:36 pm 
 

Mastering is the process by which loudness and dynamics across a song or album are optimized and balanced. It happens after the mixing process. Sometimes the mastering engineer will apply an EQ curve to the finalized mix to optimize it for the best sound across all playback devices from studio monitors to Apple earbuds. But generally speaking, a remaster will not change the mix or the sound much, unless there's some very noticeable dynamic range compression in the remaster a la Death Magnetic or Clayman that wasn't there in the original album. It might just be a volume boost or the opposite if the original was made during the loudness war era and the people in charge of the remaster wanted to bring the dynamics back. A remix would use freedom to change the sounds and their balance. If the original multitrack session for the album was still available, an engineer would play around with the balance of the tracks, maybe add effects to the voice that weren't there before, re-amp the guitars if DI tracks were available, or sample replace/augment the drums. Anything you can think of.

There's also such a thing as a vinyl master or "remastered for vinyl". Music mastered for vinyl has to accommodate the technical inferiorities of vinyl, which means modifying the sound so that playing the record doesn't destroy the needle so fast. Typical practices for vinyl mastering are reducing the stereo width, adding a high pass filter to take out super low frequencies, or making all frequencies below 100 hz or so mono. Of all mastering processes, that's the one that's most likely to change the sound, which is why vinyl always sounds different than more high-fidelity mediums like CDs.
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Element_man
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:37 am
Posts: 1009
Location: Vancouver, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2022 1:21 am 
 

In simple terms:

Mixing = taking each individual element of the recording and balancing it together into a single stereo file someone can listen to

Mastering = taking the finished mix as a single stereo file and adjusting to make sure it sounds balanced and translates on other listening systems and is ready for the pressing plant

If someone has been "re-[whatever]ed" then it means that the process has basically been redone and will sound difference than the original. Some artists do this because they think the original sounds like shit. Some do it to give an older, classic album a more modern face lift. Sometimes the rights to the original are held by another party and the only way to release the material is to do a new version
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