Mastering refers to the various processes that take place at the end of the production of a CD: setting the order of the tracks, adjusting the pauses between titles, balancing the levels between different tracks and, if necessary, equalizing them. At this stage of production we also do any cleaning and noise reduction that is required.
We also convert the files to the proper formats for streaming or download on the Internet (mp3, aac,wma, etc.).
During mastering we ensure that the sound maintains its natural dynamics so that when listening to the CD there is no need to raise or lower the volume between the different tracks.
The dynamic range of a symphony orchestra or a work of contemporary music will be much higher in a recording than you can listen to at home - either you won’t hear pianissimo parts or the neighbors call the police when the music comes to the fortissimo! That can be solved by careful limiting of the dynamic range or over-controlling, which maintains the musical relationships but constrains the dynamic range.