Mastering is the final, and perhaps the most critical part of preparing your songs. Your home recording studio will not be complete without a good system in place for mastering. Here you will shape the sound quality, perform any last edits, perform fades and anything else to give your track a finished, professional feel.
Steps: These programs don't usually work with MIDI, and are specifically made for audio editing and mastering. They work with stereo tracks, and have the common effects for mastering, such as equalization, compression and the like. When you get the finished mix, you often will want to further equalize it by boosting the bass or some similar function. You will also most likely wish to apply light compression to the whole mix, so that it is smooth and optimized for radio play.
A third function essential in any mastering program is noise reduction. Even in a good set up, you will often hear light buzzes, background noise or the like that somehow filtered into your mix. This can remove it.
Two more functions mastering programs have are amplifying functions and cutting/pasting functions. Amplifying includes creating fades in and out at the beginning of the song, and " normalizing" the entire song volume so it will be at the right level on the CD. Cutting and pasting can be a life saver when you hear that the third note in the second chorus is flat, so you will borrow that note from the first chorus. It's like a word processor for music.
If you really are adventurous, these programs also have pitch and tempo shift functions, so you can make the song a half-tone higher or more, should you so desire.
Finally, they can save your music in many formats, including wav for CDs, mp3 for internet and more.
Steps: Nowadays, most PCs have a drive that does CD burning. If yours doesn't, the prices are very good. You might as well get a DVD burner, since the more versatility you have, the better.
Steps: Find it install it, test it, use it. Just be cure you protect your discs, because, while they don't get deleted easily, they get scratched or lost easily.
Some digital multitracks have their own built in CD burner, so you can mix, master and burn without a PC.
Well that's pretty much it, folks. You've succeeded at creating a recording studio to spend many joyous hours of musical bliss time in. Best success!