Re: Mastering - Steve H.
Mastering is the absolute final stage in the process. Basicly its to prepare a completed song/tune/track for public release.
So it comes last, after arranging and mixing.
Steve is working with a bounced mix.
So he has already
1. arranged the song, (written it, recorded the individual tracks and moved the regions to where he wants)
2. mixed the song (set volume levels, pans, EQ, compression and effects)
3. and bounced the mix into a stereo file.
Its recommended that you finish your mix before you start mastering. MAstering is a process that should be applied to the song as an entirety - so you shouldn't be tweaking mix elements like pans, levels and effects while you're adding 'the final coat of polish.' You should already have done that at the mix stage.
What you might find, like I did, is that mastering will highlight some small mistakes you made in the mix, and you might have to go back to the mix stage once or twice to fix those mistakes, then bounce the new mix to a new stereo file. But its all part of the process, and I learnt loads about mixing from trying out mastering, if that makes sense.
So trying mastering will help you mix better. But you still need to arrange and mix your song first.
Hope that helps!