How To Master In Logic Pro | Learn The Basics

Oct 18, 2023
How To Master In Logic Pro


One of the final stages in the music production process is mastering. In simple terms, mastering refers to the final polishing of your project, ensuring a song reaches its commercial loudness and is ready for distribution. Moreover, if you’re working on an EP or an album, mastering helps you keep a consistent level of dynamics and loudness throughout your record.

Logic Pro offers many invaluable plugins that can help you add the final touches to master your songs. Full disclaimer: I don’t master my songs. Instead, I bounce my mix and send it to a mastering engineer to do it.

However, there are some measures you can take to master your track directly within Logic Pro. Note that mastering happens once you’re happy with your mix, and there are no significant changes you want to apply to your tracks. Mastering is the icing on the cake that ensures your track is presentable to streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.

In this post, I will go through the basic steps you should consider when mastering. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to mastering. Most of the steps and methods heavily depend on your genre of music, instrumentation, and taste. Therefore, this guide should work as a cornerstone for you to have a general understanding of what typically goes on during a mastering session.



Getting Started: Listening To Your Mix And Preparing It For Mastering

One of the first things you’d want to do at the end of your mixing stage is to make sure there’s enough headroom within your mix. You’d want to look at your master output and ensure the volume is not peaking. Ideally, you’d want at least -4.0 or -5.0 dBs of room in your project.

If your stereo output is peaking, try to find out its cause and target your tracks instead of just reducing the volume on your master output.

Another thing you’d want to do is to listen throughout your project from start to finish and double-check your mix. If there are any critical problems with your vocals or instruments, you should address them and make correctness before you move forward to mastering your song. Remember, mastering is primarily about enhancement rather than making corrections.

When listening to your mix, you’d want to take notes to see in what ways you can enhance the overall sound of your project. This is a critical step that gives you a more straightforward path and a set of goals you’d want to achieve during mastering.

Moreover, listen through different speakers and headphones, even crappy Bluetooth speakers and your car stereo, so that you can ensure your record sounds its best on all devices.

You’d want to pay attention to different frequencies and the overall dynamics of your mix. Should you boost the low-end frequencies? Are your mids clear, or do they sound muddy? What can you do to make your mix a little bit brighter?

Once you’ve made sure your mix is ready, go ahead and bounce your track as a stereo file. Instead of MP3, you’d want to export your file as a lossless format like AIFF or WAV to ensure you don’t lose any quality.

When mastering, one technique you can use is to add a new track in your DAW and import a song as a reference track. A reference track is a song that you use as a testimonial for making adjustments to your project.


Adding Effects To Your Mastering Chain

Typically, you’d want to add your effects on your Stereo Out channel for mastering. One of the first things you’d want to add is an equalizer plugin. If you’re not familiar with equalizers, you can click here to read more about EQing in Logic Pro. Moreover, you can use Logic’s presets as a starting point and adjust according to taste:


  •  Press “X” on your keyboard to open the mixer.
  •  Click on the effects slot on your Stereo Out channel and hover your pointer on “EQ.”
  •  Open “Channel EQ.”



Once you’ve added the Channel EQ plugin, you can go ahead and load one of its presets for mastering:


  •  Click on the presets drop-down menu from the top-left corner of the Channel EQ interface.
  •  Hover your pointer on “Mastering” and select one of the genres.



Another plugin you’d want to add is the compressor for enhancing the dynamics of your song. If you’re using Logic’s stock plugins, I recommend using the Vintage VCA compressor, which is modeled after SSL compressors and is an ideal option to add to a bus.


  •  Click on the effects slot and hover your pointer on “Dynamics.”
  •  Open the “Compressor” plugin and change it to “Vintage VCA.”



If you need more help regarding using this, check out my guide about using compressors in Logic Pro.



Another plugin that mastering engineers often use is the Limiter. In some ways, the Limiter works similarly to a compressor, but its main objective is to catch peaks, prevent audio clipping, and preserve the sonic integrity of your project. In other words, the Limiter helps you increase the loudness of your project. It is one of the last plugins you’d want to use in your mastering chain.


  •  Click on the effects slot and hover your pointer on “Dynamics.”
  •  Open “Limiter” in stereo.



There are certain techniques that can help you when using a Limiter. Click here to learn more about using Logic’s Limiter for mastering songs.


Final Thoughts On Mastering In Logic Pro: Don’t Make Things Complicated

Although it’s the last 10% of the music production process, the art of mastering audio requires surgical precision, a tuned ear, and high-quality monitoring speakers to target the smallest frequency ranges and fish out unwanted signals while preserving the integrity of your project.

However, if you’ve just started diving into the world of mastering songs, you shouldn’t complicate things. Start with an equalizer, a compressor, and a limiter. Most of the other plugins used during mastering are variations of these plugins with specific details for targeting different areas.

If you need more help regarding producing, mixing, and mastering, I highly recommend downloading my Free 6 Pillars To Learn Logic Pro Faster guidebook.


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