Cubase is a powerful production environment that can take you from first ideas all the way to a finished product, and mastering is the final part of the process. But when working for many hours on a track, it is common to lose some perspective as you listen over and over again. So how can you avoid potential pitfalls? As Matt Hepworth explains in this video from the course Cubase 10 105: Mastering Essentials, it's all about using reference material to compare your sound to that of other mastered material. But how does it work?
Matt explains that it helps to select a track - or tracks - that are in a similar genre or style to the track you are working on. Then import that file into your project and mute it - after all you don't want it playing at the same time as your own project. By inserting analysis plug-ins like Cubase's Multiscope on the master buss and then auditioning both your mix / master and the commercial track separately, you can see how each one is behaving in terms of its amplitude and frequency.
Just as important is simply listening to both signals one after the other. Does the commercial master sound bigger, or bassier, or clearer than yours? Then you probably have some more work to do on your own master. In time you will be able to bring your sound closer to that of the mastered version, but this is far easier to achieve if you can actually play both tracks in an A/B style to compare them. This is just one of the things you will learn from this comprehensive course on mastering in Cubase - check out the links below to learn even more.