As they say – a point of view depends on the point of the seat. Also, the topic is so studio equipment. Anyone who has a lot of money, will advise the most expensive equipment, and the man who for years used the budget solution, it will boost his own, clever tricks. I think the latter really a lot you can learn with that sizeable cost of time, patience and hard work. The former will be successful if they know a topic mastering, but if you can use a lot of cash, a little experience and think that having good equipment, they will do once a good master – can become very confused.
The market is a little bit mastering plug-ins, including Waves plug-ins, Oxford Plugins, Universal Audio Uad system or TC Electronic Powercore. Makes no sense to play with plugs of intermediate quality. If you need a budget solution, absolutely not go to plug a lower quality than those mentioned. I highly recommend Sonnox Oxford Limiter and Uad Precision Equalizer. If you are looking compressor, I’m not able to recommend any plugins vst, believing that it will produce professional quality. But what if you do not have those 5000 euros to buy a mastering compressor from the top shelf? Personally, I try to catch as much of the stage mix. A well-prepared mix, UAD precision equalizer and said oxford limiter may be a relatively good solution.
But, you know that mastering any equipment does not give you a fully professional sound if something kick on the stage mix. Well-balanced proportions at the stage of the mix will give you a lot more potential in the process of mastering. Very helpful to be well-sounding and Professional Samples. Not once I realized that good samples give significantly better results in working on mastering it is easier to master the same mix.
In conclusion, if indeed you can spend a lot of money on mastering equipment and already have some experience, I recommend to buy expensive equipment (looking at the whole subject without compromise.) However, if you do not have cash, I recommend possible to master the stage mix, using the best sounds from the equipment (synthesizers, beat machines, etc.) or Pro Samples ripped from professional equipment.