The term Mastering is given to the process of taking an already mixed down audio file and preparing it for distribution on multiple formats such as CD, Vinyl and Streaming.
This ensures the consistency between multiple tracks on an album, where there will be no drop in volume and all music will sound great on all platforms such as headphones, monitors and the sound system in a venue.
During this process tools such as limiting, compression and equalisation are used to make your music sound professional and just great.
A thing to remember is that Mastering wont fix a bad Mix , its essential to work on your mix down while creating a good stereo image.
There are many ways to get your music mastered with a mastering engineer being the best option available , generally expensive ( $50 a track ) but being able to communicate with an engineer during the process is invaluable along with the results achieved.
The point of this post is to go through cheap ways of mastering , for those with a low budget that want to get a demo mastered before sending it to labels or for net labels looking for a way to master artists music at a reasonable cost.
One of these methods is the use of online mastering services, where a website will allow you to drag and drop your music and get your audio file ready for distribution within minutes.
CloudBounce is one of these services the uses a mastering engine to both analyse and apply several processing tools, such as a compressor , limiter and stereo imaging to your music , which also allows you to tweak your music several times before finalising.
24 bit Wav and 320kbps MP3 will then be available to you for distribution, although I personally dont see any point in mastering down to MP3 as it is not a lossless format.