The Art of Mixing and Mastering for Video Games
I think we all remember the old times when we played arcade games and all we could hear in the background were onomatopoeic sounds. And we can all agree upon the fact that video games have come a long way since then, both in terms of graphic and in terms of audio. The processes of mixing and mastering have left their mark and being an audio designer has become greatly profitable. But the work is equally demanding and it requires several technical skills in order to be able to deliver a truly professional final version of the game audio.
Basically, the mixing process can be considered the art of blending all the elements of a musical piece in a compatible way. The end product must be melodious and perfectly balanced. It may seem like a piece of cake, but it's surely not. An audio designer needs many years of experience to achieve a level of professionalism required in order to make up a flawless mix. It's called art because in the end, the engineer's job is to give the song emotion and a certain sparkle. And this emotion, together with the line of the audio must fit the action of the video game. You can imagine that country music has nothing to do with slaying vampires or something of that sort. Dynamic effects are also put to use in this phase, such as equalization, delays or compression, which may provide a certain sense of space to your game audio.
The latter phase of the mixing and mastering is also the final stage of the recording process. But it is highly important and should be treated as such. Mastering acts as a quality controller before the final release. There has been some debate over the level of loudness at which an audio should be mastered, but in order for an audio designer to make clear determinations he ought to have critical listening. Of course they have the aid of special technical equipment and software mastering tools, but the final touch is still in the hands of the sound engineer. The end result also depends on the accuracy of speaker monitors. Moreover, disciplinary equalization and intense enhancements may be necessary for the improvement of the audio translation on any system.
All things considered, excelling at the art of mixing and mastering is a must for any audio designer and video game developers should only trust their music editing needs to professional studios that have the required experience and tools to deliver a faultless end product that meets all of your expectations and the ones of the consumers. Fortunately, it should not be very hard to find such a studio, as the world wide web has helped the industry of game audio through the developing of online masters and the advances of the sound technology. The online studios are now able to provide end to end audio solutions for every kind of video game you can think of. The cutting edge technology and top notch engineers will help you get a state of the art mix for your product.