Tips For Mastering Hip Hop: 8 Important Points To Take Care!

Tips For Mastering Hip Hop


Hip-hop is a unique style. Not only does it span a number of sub-genres, making it advanced and diverse, but it surely additionally incorporates distinctive components rarely present in different varieties of music.

These components, be it an emphasis on a spoken word that has developed into rapping, or an accentuated high and low-end frequency vary, make mastering the style a specialized process.

In different words, mastering hip-hop is in contrast to mastering every other genre. Realizing how you can master hip-hop consists of figuring out the style properly, together with what listeners expect and how you can deliver that.

In contrast to different genres, it’s possible you’ll end up pushing the limitations of speaker systems when mastering rap, whereas looking for the borderline between an aggressive and desired sound and undesirable distortion.

With that in mind, we’ll be looking at the anticipated frequency spectrum of a rap master, how you can push the boundaries of your master without inflicting distortion, how you can retain transients when mastering rap, and what could occur if you accentuate your low or high-end too much.

Whereas doing this, we’ll even be delving into the distinctive components of hip-hop music, and the way they tie in to or necessitate, the distinctive processing wanted when mastering hip-hop music.

Given the potential for greatly and negatively affecting a hip-hop master, resulting from its aggressive nature, figuring out how you can correctly master the style is essential. Hopefully, a few of the data offered might help you make informed choices when mastering hip-hop.

Listed below are some tips that you can use if you’re at the point to master your hip-hop track.

24 Mastering Studio - Tips for Mastering Hip Hop Song

1. Understand the style

Mixing and mastering, or in fact music production of any type, will probably be a lot simpler if we perceive what makes a style unique. Each style out there has certain musical and sonic components that outline it.

For instance, most hip-hop songs have a prolonged low end and crispy highs (you already know, these trap hats) and rap vocals that might be dry. Typically, most hip hop productions have boosted high and low ends that it’s best to pay attention to and respect when mastering.

Figuring out what hip hop appears like additionally comes with its challenges – having an enormous low end poses an issue with compression, limiting, and loudness, as a low end takes up a lot of power in a mix. However don’t fear, we are going to tackle this in a while.

2. Transient Management

Transients are the brief momentary peaks in signal occurring at the start of any sound. We frequently relate transients to drums, primarily the kick and snare. Different instruments like piano, guitar, and bells even have distinct transient characteristics.

Hip-hop and pop music rely closely on transients to dictate and make clear the rhythm of the music. You may manage a music’s transients by utilizing a compressor. Altering the attack and release parameters alters the amplification of the affected transients. If the kick is punchy, you might set the attack to a quicker rate to retain extra of its frequencies in place.

When adjusting compression values, have in mind the function of ADSR traits within the sound. ADSR stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release.

Transient Shaper Plugin

3. Warmth Via Analog Compression

Now that we’re far into the digital age, many mastering studios have transformed into primarily digital tools, and plenty of new music producers use software programs mastering plugins and/or handy automated programs.

Nonetheless, the sound of analog tools that may impart delicate harmonic saturation continues to be a useful tool for creating music that’s both pleasing to listen to and commercially profitable. Particularly, an effective way to attain analog warmth and tone is thru compression, and with many kinds of compressor circuits, the choices for tone are in good supply.

A wonderful design to use in mastering is the variable mu (gain) circuit. This sort of circuit makes use of tubes to attain compression and doesn’t have a usually fixed ratio for gain-reduction, therefore variable mu. Because the signal increases, the ratio increases as well which contributes to the sleek nature of this model of compression.

Due to their smooth nature, variable mu compressors typically find themselves in a mastering chain so as to add “glue” to a mix. Some models such as the coveted Fairchild 670 or the Manley Vari-Mu have turned into staples in including analog warmth.

4. Mastering Tip for Sampled Hip Hop

When you have used samples in your tracks, maybe beats or instrument loops, some of the work has been accomplished for you, since these are in a way already mixed. Nonetheless, within the context of your track, they might need altering, particularly if you have used different samples from completely different sources.

Use EQ and compression to attempt to make all of your samples sound like they belong on the identical track. That does not imply attempting to make them sound the same, however, try to keep away from the impression that they’ve been culled from a number of different records, even when that’s in fact the case.

Utilizing pre-recorded samples may also have an effect on the soundstage and texture of your track, and these are issues to remember as you mix.

Digging in the crates

5. Use reference track

It is best to at all times have a reference track if you’re simply beginning out trying to master it. A reference track is a tune that you prefer your master to sound like sonically. When choosing a reference track, you will need to focus on both the quality and style that your track is in.

You will need to try to choose one which has related instruments and frequency parts to the mix to the track you are mastering in order that you do know you are not attempting to do the impossible.

There are many tools out there similar to iZotope’s Ozone 9 Advanced that make it simple to a/b between your master and your reference track. We extremely counsel you to test it out – the Tonal Balance Control function specifically is a game-changer.

6. Harmonic Consciousness

Hip-hop and pop songs typically function with a wealthy harmonic steadiness all through their frequency spectrum. We understand this sound as impactful, clear, and current. You have to discuss the inventive ideas of the venture with the artist, producer, record label, or whoever employed you before working if it’s not your personal music.

Implementing revolutionary methods which deal with focused harmonics gives the music you’re engaged in its distinctive sound. For instance, you possibly can add refined distortion on the mid-high frequencies to create a heightened sense of vocal presence.

To form a music’s harmonic texture, alternatively, use distortion and saturation tools. The distinction between saturation and distortion is just the variety of harmonics being added and altered. Whereas saturation presents a refined effect on the signal, distortion provides and modifies harmonics in a more extreme type; virtually like “clever clipping.”

Utilizing tools to add these textures appropriately can create a way of perceived loudness to the listener without really using a volume change. However keep in mind that in hip-hop and pop music, clarity is king, so watch out as you’re processing audio with these instruments as they will rapidly destroy your sound.

You should use a compressor for dynamic control and improve lower harmonics without modifying the audio signal with distortion or saturation. Plugins just like the Weiss Maximizer have a dry/wet knob, which dictates the steadiness between the original and processed signal ratio. Be inventive with these options and allow for extra real harmonics to be added to the music.

7. Delicate Stereo Imaging

One other helpful mastering instrument is stereo image processing. As with most processing in mastering, slightly can go a long way. Stereo imaging could make a mix sound tighter by narrowing low-frequency data, or wider through widening upper-mid and high frequencies.

Subtlety is vital when utilizing imaging tools for hip hop. Contemplate widening the high-frequencies a little bit, however, be aware to keep away from over-accenting the width of the high-mid frequencies as this could skew the middle, which incorporates the vocals and snare drum.

Regardless of the way you choose to use stereo imaging tools, you will need to work in small increments. Use your ears along with phase metering to verify how much processing is being utilized and focus on how effectively communicated your center image is.

Stereo Imaging Plugins

8. Mastering for Vinyl

If you’re mastering trendy pop and hip-hop music for the vinyl medium, there are quite a few technicalities you need to perceive and internalize.


The common attribute that joins trendy pop and hip-hop is the clarity within the greater frequencies. It’s important to process high sibilance to keep away from vinyl distortion. Processing your higher frequencies with a de-esser will help you keep away from aggressive sibilance. Our favorite de-esser to make use of is the Eiosis E2de-esser.

LFE Stereo Area

A broad stereo image within the low frequencies of your music will trigger extreme playback issues on vinyl. Your tracks might skip at a selected timestamp or not play at all.

Since trendy hip-hop and pop production sometimes incorporates extremely audible bass within the arrangement, and expertise has offered creative possibilities for reaching that, it’s typically a danger to mixing and mastering engineers who’ve to clean it up before manufacturing.

To keep away from these issues, it’s essential to observe the stereo image diagram within the above Mastering in Mono section.

Mastering your hip-hop or pop songs can appear intimidating whenever you listen to the sonic high quality of high-charting tracks by Drake or The Weeknd, however in case you use these artists’ songs as a reference track, you may attempt to recreate their constancy and stereo image to study what makes them sound so good.

Cutting Vinyl


Mastering is a broad matter; when learning any sophisticated process, it helps to have ideas and methods to depend on to make your life easier. Use these 8 tricks to make your workflow extra seamless and make sure you’re only working with high-quality materials that don’t fool your ears. There’s a lot of subtlety in mastering, and also you want to give your ears every potential advantage.

Discover that none of this entails enormous impact chains or weird tips with mastering, less complicated nearly at all times sounds better. Deal with making a number of good choices fairly than a number of mediocre ones. The effect chain can be four to five plugins long; compare that with the 10+ many much less experienced producers favor!

All the time go along with a small chain. In the event you can’t, there are possible glaring EQ and compression problems that have to be mounted within the mix before you may end the mastering process. Be patient, because mastering is predominately about listening. Slight adjustments have an effect on every part of the mix, and each tweak matters.

So in case you have any more tips for mastering hip hop or you want to ask the community for more, feel free to head over to the comment section!


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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