Are You Busy?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Don Grossinger, Aug 8, 2006.

  1. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    It's been a while since we've done an overview as to the state of the Mastering world.

    Have you been busy this summer? Any feelings about the upcoming fall?
    What sort of work is coming in?
    Is it well prepared? Better or worse than last year?
    How is the vinyl cutting business?
    Any surround or hi-res business?
    Anything special to say?

    Let's see what's going on.....
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Knock on wood. It's been crankin this year. Probably my best year in the last 8 or so. Spring and Summers have always been the busiest for me. Spring for the touring bands and summer for the major labels for fall and holiday releases. Typically I work on 1 full length per day and 2 smaller projects after that like singles or ep's.

    Types of projects I've been getting in this year:
    besides the normal flow, I've done several DVD-A surround sound projects and a couple handful of DVD-V surround and stereo projects. about 50% of the projects I do include video as enhanced. The majority of my purchases this year has been video gear. If you think there are a lot of audio formats, I think video beats it.

    most all of the projects I get are very well prepared. Any editing has already been done. When I take the gig, I tell them what I need as far as titles, isrc codes, shipping address, etc... Most everything right now is approved via ftp download.

    The next few weeks are typically my slow period, the calm before the storm. play catchup on a bunch of stuff, round up unpaid invoices, fix gear, clean out all of the tapes, vacation, etc... Right after labor day, all hell breaks loose. The procrasinators all realize that if they want to get their stuff done and in the stores before the holidays, then they have about 4 weeks to do so. Then it's back to normal till december. Jan is when I make my decision on new gear.
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    A lot of what we do is seasonal, based on many of our client's schedules that ramp up in the fall and continue straight through the Spring, with a little break around the Holidays. Mid-June into early July was a merciful break in the action, but now things are heating up again. (All hell breaking loose after Labor Day is pretty apt, too!)

    No doubt about it, "vacation" or slow-time is over, and everyone's scrambling to be ready for the Fall and Christmas Season. We're authoring a Christmas-concert DVD (remixed and edited in surround and stereo) for a Fall release, along with a CD companion of excerpts from it. In addition to that, we've got two archival/restoration projects going for private release, and several choral works that are awaiting final approval by the client before release. Another client has us remastering his entire 12-disc catalog as time permits; we've barely started on that.
    I've also got a Jazz quartet CD that's been given to me - all on one HD - to remix & master completely (client hated what he got in another studio, and likes what I do for him here instead.)

    Two other clients are now in panic mode and are pushing to get in here ASAP to finish editing some concert CDs leftover from the spring - they've got to have them ready for earl Fall.

    I haven't announced it officially, but I'm not accepting any new projects or promising to have anything new completed now, until late September. I'm sneaking away on vacation in early September, so I've got five frantic weeks left to put all the "Old" stuff to bed, and I want to come back refreshed and ready to hit the ground running with new stuff when I return.

    I can dream, can't I? :wink:
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Last year (2005) was our third best year since we have been in business (10 years total). The first three months of 2006 (January, February and March) were way down in work but things started to wake up in April and have not stopped since. We too are working on a large recording and mastering project for a high school choir, we just got the contract to do all the video as well as the audio for one of our concert recording clients. We just did a four song Hip Hop mastering session (ongoing client-great talent) and just did some really amazing heavy metal tracks for a concert tour CD release (wish they would pay us) did some restorations and some lay-backs for video, did three video 30 second commercials for the local Chamber of Commerce for use on Cable TV, We did two 1 hour live radio shows and video taped them, did a big duplication project for a local children's choir Christmas CD and did some transfers of older U-matic Tapes to DVD for a local client and we have lots of project waiting in the wings.

    In years gone by we could have closed our shop from the 15th of July to the 15th of August and not have been missed by our clients but not any more.

    We are also selling a lot of stuff on EBay (acoustikmuisk) that we have accumulated over the years and no longer need.

    I lost the person that was working here part time because he got a full time job so I hired another part timer and he will be leaving for college in about 10 days. Going to have to look around for someone to help out.

    It has been BUSY year so far and hopefully will get even busier as the year wears on. No vacation this year but I may get off to Kentucky for a weekend with some friends.

    I would like to get things to even out for a while. It seems like we are really really busy for a couple of months then quiet for a spell then busy busy busy for a couple of months then a slow down.

    Whew, it gets me dizzy just thinking of all the work we have to get done.

    Well back to the grind <GRIN> I love my job!!!! Where else can you get paid to do what you love and listen to some really great music and get paid for it. YEA!!!!!
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Whew, it gets me dizzy just thinking of all the work we have to get done.

    Well back to the grind <GRIN> I love my job!!!! Where else can you get paid to do what you love and listen to some really great music and get paid for it. YEA!!!!!

    You said it, Tom! This is a great biz to be in, indeed.
  6. sauger

    sauger Active Member

    Its was a great year in the first 6 month. But now our summer is really hot and I think everybody thinks more about swimming not music.

    Don asked how the Vinylcutting business is, and I must say, its great. We have a small lathe doing vinyl-dubplates, this is a DJ / consumer thing and the summer month arenĀ“t the best, but with our Neumann VMS70 the business is doing well . We started february this year doing Master laquers, and it become more every month.....
    What more can you expect ??
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well Don - thanks for asking. :cool:

    Right now, business is slow, but that's a good thing.

    Since I've transitioned completely away from studio recording and am ONLY doing mastering and on-location classical, things have slowed up for a bit.

    Most of my classical clients are on summer break right now, but I do have a rather cool project I'm about to start on. A very talented soprano has been working on a CD for years now and finally scrapped the whole project (which up to this point she has tried to do in a studio...yikes) and went to New York to record in a world-renowned recital hall. She brought me the tracks to do some minor touch up. Well, they sucked. Real bad. The piano sounded like a Baldwin upright which was in another room and her voice lacked any clarity or definition (which is a shame, she is VERY talented). Everything was a wash of mid-range reverb...

    She is going to now be working with me to record her disc now and we have available to us one of the most beautiful halls on the east coast! I'm so friggin excited about this one! She has also granted me permission to release clips from the session as well as photos, so once we get underway, I'll post some stuff!

    As for the mastering, I'm in the process of ramping up that business but I must admit, it's a hard business to break into. I think Zilla summed it up best in a comment which he made (paraphrasing) - people either want Cracker Jack mastering or REAL mastering, not in between. Well, I've gone from category A to category B recently, but I'm trying to get more clients so I can prove that. So far I've had 4 (it's only been a month...) and they've been thrilled. One was for an off-broadway play for their canned music portion of the show, the others were local talent.

    FWIW, I will be posting pics soon of the new mastering studio. I'm waiting for 2 things to be completed -
    1 - My new mastering desk. It's a beautiful custom desk which is costing me a disgustingly low $398 to have built!
    2 - I'm putting bamboo floors in to replace the very nice berber carpet which is currently in place. I may post the pics with the carpet though b/c the bamboo is going to take a while... :cry: (probably 2 months or so).

    So, that's my rambling for the day...


    PS -

    When's the next mastering shoot out?? I want a piece of this one!
  8. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Hi Don,

    Yes, we're really jammin' here, lookin' good for the fall too.

    Lots of Rock, Country, Blues, Folk, Jazz... some Classical.

    Most of it's relatively well prepared, a few instances of slammed and/or poor mixes. Most projects coming in on Data Discs or Hard Drives at 24 bit.

    Done a dozen or so 5.1 Surround projects this year, mostly the Austin City Limits stuff... they include a 24/48 stereo mix, qualifies as hi-res.

    Anything special to say... we're doing lots of restoration and remastering of Analog tape from the '70s & ''80s. We're lucky, great staff, two rooms, demand is high, keep knockin' on wood.

    Cheers... JT
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Jerry -

    Just curious - how are you liking those Paradigms? I've toyed around with getting a pair, just biding my time right now. (Thinking between them or the 802s)

  10. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Pretty busy - This is normally a relatively slow time. I have a feeling October is going to whack me upside the head...
  11. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Hey Cucco,

    I must admit, I really like the Paradigm 100 v.2's, we've got 'em in both rooms, been using them for a few years now, no complaints. Coupled with a fine power amp, they sound great and really give honest reliable results. They're excellent monitors, and really deliver maximum bang for the buck, as they say, without compromising our work. I'd have to think long and hard about replacing the Paradigms... if it's really worth spending X thousands of dollars more for the 802s. Some folks might dismiss the Paradigms as mere home theater speakers... hasn't been a problem for us.

    I wouldn't pretend to say they're in the same class as B&W 802s, Egglestons, or the big Duntechs. 802s would certainly look better to potential "gear sensitive" clients. The B&W 800 series show up time and again on top ME gear lists, so if you can afford them, go for the 802s.

    (with apologies to Don Grossinger, not trying to hijack the thread)

    ~ JT ~

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