Mastering engineers convert finished recordings to the desired format such as CD, vinyl and digital. They ensure the quality of the sound on all formats.
The following job titles also refer to mastering engineer:
mixing and mastering engineer
sound mastering engineer
audio mastering engineer
audio mastering operator
mixing & mastering sound engineer
digital mastering technician
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Mastering engineer is a Skill level 3 occupation.
Mastering engineer career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to mastering engineer.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of mastering engineer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of mastering engineer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of mastering engineer.
- Audio technology: The various technologies for producing, recording, and reproducing sound.
- Audiovisual products: The different types of audiovisual products and their requirements, such as documentaries, low budget movies, television series, records, CDs, and others.
- Types of audiovisual formats: Various audio and video formats, including digital.
- Audio editing software: The various software for editing and generating audio, such as Adobe Audition, Soundforge, and Power Sound Editor.
- Audio mastering: The post-production process where the finished recorded audio is transferred to a data storage device from which it will be copied.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of mastering engineer.
- Manage sound quality: Perform sound checks. Set up audio equipment for optimal sound output before as well as during performance. Regulate the volume during broadcasts by controlling the audio equipment
- Adapt to artists’ creative demands: Work with artists, striving to understand the creative vision and adapting to it. Make full use of your talents and skills to reach the best possible result.
- Assess sound quality: Assess the recorded sound and music. Make sure it conforms to specifications.
- Edit recorded sound: Edit audio footage using a variety of sofware, tools, and techniques such as crossfading, speed effects, and removing unwanted noises.
- Operate audio-signal processors: Operate audio-signal processors to alter auditory signals.
- Convert different audiovisual formats: Ability to use specialised software to convert data from one audio and/or video format to another.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of mastering engineer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Audio post-production: The mixing process after the music recording phase where each song is edited individually into a finished product.
- Musical instruments: The different musical instruments, their ranges, timbre, and possible combinations.
- Musical genres: Different musical styles and genres such as blues, jazz, reggae, rock, or indie.
- Musical theory: The body of interrelated concepts that constitutes the theoretical background of music.
- Audiovisual equipment: The characteristics and usage of different tools that stimulate the sight and audio senses.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of mastering engineer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Operate an audio mixing console: Operate an audio mixing system during rehearsals or during live performances.
ISCO group and title
3521 – Broadcasting and audiovisual technicians
- Mastering engineer – ESCO