Mastering an EP/LP

In the past when mastering for a full length or an EP, I would batch master the stereo pre-masters. I’d setup a session and import all the files for the album into the session on different tracks, sort the track order, route appropriately, and then adjust the audio files by ear to a similar perceivable level. Then I would proceed to process the 2 Buss (keeping the stereo out free of any processing). My understanding was this was a common method to achieve sonic consistency throughout the release (album). Watching the videos and becoming acquainted with stem mastering I’d like to know the preferred method for achieving sonic consistency across a release. Thanks.

(again preferably @Paul or @Danny, although anyone speaking from experience is welcome : ))

I always start with the strongest track and get that sounding as good as it possibly can. If the client is happy, I proceed with the rest of the album a/b’ing with the initial master to maintain cohesion throughout the album.


If you prefer the approach of having all songs in one session, this method would certainly work well for albums that evolve. You could output all stems of each song to an aux. Here you could keep all songs in one session, have the ability to process individual songs and stems, as well as the album as a whole.
Session management is crucial and worth the little extra setup time. For example, use folders/track stacks to contain stems, thus keeping session clean. Markers and looping cycles will save a huge amount of time. I often used Memory Locators to jump from one songs chorus to the next for quick a/b. I always made sure Key and Time Signatures were set for each song.