How To Master Like Bernie Grundman

When it comes to audio mastering, Bernie Grundman is one of the most prominent names in the audio mastering world. Grundman has worked with the most famous artists like Cat Stevens, Steely Dan, and Dr. Dre. These are only a few of the famous names within decades of his mastering career. In 1984, and after more than 100 gold and platinum under his name, he opened his own mastering studio which proved to be a success.

Online mastering has become a widespread service provided by studios. With all the big names and success Grundman’s mastering studio has gained, here are a few tips on how to master like Bernie Grundman.

  1. Every Online Mastering Should Receive the Cleanest Form of Audio

Mastering engineers should ensure that the cleanse form of audio should be received. If the audio has undergone several generations, mastering becomes harder to be done. When an audio is transferred to a hard drive, CD-ROM or other mediums, all these transfers degrade the sound and makes it difficult to master.

The earliest generation of the sound allows more headroom for compression and other mixing that can be done to improve the sound. Also, leave the sampling rate as the original. Any change in the sampling rate causes the audio to degrade its sound. As Bernie Grundman would say, “the cleaner the recording, the more there is that’s going to jump out of the speakers”.

  1. Be Mindful of Over Processing

When music is produced in a digital domain, it becomes a lot more delicate in a lot of ways. When you record in digital domain, it already sounds great. But with a small manipulation of a level, even just by a tenth of a dB and throwing off all the math, you start to lose quality right away. Any compression, equalizer or plugin in the circuit manipulates the quality of the music. When you try to manipulate all these tracks, the outcome of your master would be a grainy and smeary recording. (read more here:

With a grainy sound, the music starts to lose the effects it has to a listener’s emotions. But when you start listening to the original recording that has not been manipulated, you suddenly get that emotional attraction from the music back. That grainy sound becomes the reason for listeners to lose the connection with the song.

  1. Maintain Sound Level of Loudness

With every online mastering studio, loudness has always become a controversial topic with artists and producers when mastering music. Artists and producers always want their discs to be the loudest because they feel that it creates more attention. It does help to get people’s attention but music that is too loud may not necessarily attract people. At some level, it may even annoy them. It is very important to remember that a music that is processed to become too loud creates a by-product of distortion. Proper compression should be the key. Too much compression creates the audio to sound less natural or even none at all.