My basic info - I am not a pro, I have a home studio with pretty nice gear, I am dedicated and put a lot of time into it.
I have read posts here on the form questioning mastering. I often put thought into it myself. Thoughts like: Is it worth it? If I work really hard in getting my mix right, why would I need to have it mastered? I have a Fatso isn't that enough?
Recently I did a little test. I recorded a 3 song demo. I mixed it real good and did my attempt at mastering which is a fatso on the 2 buss with a multi-pressor plug in. Give or take a Clariphonic DSP / Valley Limiter.
I know now from my own experience that mastering is a must, not "my mastering",,,,," Real Mastering" ,,,,,
I posted my demo in the mastering form asking If someone could master it on the cheap, I received quite a bit of responses saying " I usually do it for this price but I will do yours for the hell of it." I checked out some of the websites of the studios and picked one, not because they had the best equipment, I ended up going with a studio that seemed to lean more towards understanding the style of music that I had recorded. Punk Rock. I'm really glad I did because I am super happy with the results. Everything sounds glued together. It's loud but not too pushed, even though I made the mistake of sending the ME a hot mix. My mix for once actually sounds finished. Best of all I learned a lot. I wanted to find a mastering engineer that I can send all my sessions to for finalization. It's hard enough to get a mix right I don't even want to attempt to try and master.
... I checked out some of the websites of the studios and picked one, not because they had the best equipment, I ended up going with a studio that seemed to lean more towards understanding the style of music that I had recorded. Punk Rock...
Bingo! Familiarity with the music is much, much more important than a long list of gear!
If more people keep believing this, they may have to change the name of this site to "Skillslutz".