Mastering gear refers to the equipment and tools used in the audio mastering process, which involves preparing a final mix for distribution by enhancing its overall sound quality and ensuring it meets certain technical standards. Mastering gear can include hardware processors such as equalizers, compressors, limiters, and analog-to-digital converters, as well as software plugins that simulate the effects of these tools.
The gear is used to adjust the tonal balance, dynamic range, stereo image, and other aspects of the mix to achieve a polished and cohesive final product. Effective use of mastering gear requires a thorough understanding of both the equipment and the mastering process itself. An experienced mastering engineer will be able to use their gear to make subtle adjustments that enhance the mix without introducing unwanted artifacts or compromising the integrity of the original recording.