Can we get an announcement that says......

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Thomas W. Bethel, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Can we get an announcement posted somewhere that says the following.

    1. Before posting a question use the search function to find similar postings.

    2. There is no substitute for experience and for the proper equipment to get the job done.

    3. If you want a professional mastering job done on your material go to a professional. There is no plugin or program that can do what a good mastering engineer can do.

    4. If you are just starting out understand that it is a long road and that just because you spent a lot of money at GC that does not automatically make you a recording/mix/mastering engineer. There is a lot to learn and thank heavens their are places like this to learn and ask questions.

    5. There are no magic settings, no perfect compression ratio, no perfect equalization curve that will make your music sound good. It takes good old sweat, blood and tears and LOTS of experience to do a good job recording, mixing and mastering your tracks.

    6. The monitoring setup is one of the most important things to have when you are recording, mixing and mastering. If you don't have a good monitoring setup you will not have a way to judge how your stuff sounds.

    7. Don't be afraid to experiment. Many really great engineers do a lot of experimenting and may use a piece of gear that is not really deigned to do what you are using it for. But before you experiment learn to use the equipment for what it was designed for.

    8. Stay away from using presets. They were done to "show" you a suggested setting but those same settings may not be appropriate for your music. Again do some listening and experimenting.

    9. Don't rush your project. Give it some time to grow on its own. Do a tracking session and give it a day or more before you do the mixdown. You may hear things that you did not hear in the "heat of battle"

    10. And the most important thing. Don't do your recording. mixing, mastering or what ever without an other pair of trained ears listening to what you are doing. Working in a vacuum is NOT a good way to get anything done. Collaboration is the best way to get the best product done. If you want to see what collaboration has done look at the relationship between Sir George Martin and the rest of the Beatles

    Just some thoughts from one who has been there and done that

    Have fun!
     
  2. axel

    axel Guest

    hi thomas, your words are so fantastic that it should be sticked up in quadruple size on the frontpage of this very forum.

    i agree!

    cheers
    axel
     
  3. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    As an amendment to this one, you should also throw in some "ringer" compression and EQ settings just to satisfy the mind of anyone who is still looking for the magic setting. Just to keep them from still posting the question. :twisted:
     
  4. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    I think you just did it Thomas... Nicely Put!
     
  5. gperryman

    gperryman Guest

    Or........

    Or just quit asking stupid questions.................that's how some of us learn.
     
  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Well done, Thomas.

    I would add one more to the wish list:

    FILL OUT THE DAMN PROFILES, EVERYONE!!!

    I can't tell you how many times I've read a post, wondered where the person was from, or wanted to contact them, read more about them, etc., only to find a blank profile. Rarely do I see a website, or an email address, or even a city/town/country of origin. Nada!

    IMHO, it should be mandatory in order to post on here. No profile, no membership. I know things have been calm and better behaved of late, but when the occasional oddball does appear and make trouble, it sure would be a nice way to know who's doing the name-calling, spamming, or trolling.

    Certainly, I don't mind newbies asking questions, sure; that's how everyone learns. But it would be nice to understand where folks are coming from in order to help them in a response.

    And again, IMHO, a forum labelled: "Mastering" is NOT a place for newbies or folks merely curious or seeking free advice about getting good audio. In a perfect world, the "Mastering" forum would be discussions among mastering engineers and potential clients. The idly curious are certainly welcome to visit, but I agree with what I think Tom is saying - it gets tedious (and occasionally insulting) - to keep reading posts from people who are clearly looking for a cheap way out at best, and/or want to take the jobs away from the pro's at worst.
     
  7. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    1. Before posting a question use the search function to find similar postings.

    But where is that damn search button?

    2. There is no substitute for experience and for the proper equipment to get the job done.

    If I could only steel one of your favorite settings for Loud CD!

    3. If you want a professional mastering job done on your material go to a professional. There is no plugin or program that can do what a good mastering engineer can do.

    Doh! Just finished reading a chapter of the"Advanced Mastering for Audio Dummies" named "How to use an auto-EQ?"

    4. If you are just starting out understand that it is a long road and that just because you spent a lot of money at GC that does not automatically make you a recording/mix/mastering engineer. There is a lot to learn and thank heavens their are places like this to learn and ask questions.

    Pfeww, never bought something there.

    5. There are no magic settings, no perfect compression ratio, no perfect equalization curve that will make your music sound good. It takes good old sweat, blood and tears and LOTS of experience to do a good job recording, mixing and mastering your tracks.

    Is it good to record, mix and master my own tracks?

    6. The monitoring setup is one of the most important things to have when you are recording, mixing and mastering. If you don't have a good monitoring setup you will not have a way to judge how your stuff sounds.

    Why car amplifiers are so small and be 1400 Watts per channel?

    7. Don't be afraid to experiment. Many really great engineers do a lot of experimenting and may use a piece of gear that is not really deigned to do what you are using it for. But before you experiment learn to use the equipment for what it was designed for.

    Thats why presets are cool!

    8. Stay away from using presets. They were done to "show" you a suggested setting but those same settings may not be appropriate for your music. Again do some listening and experimenting.

    Doh!

    9. Don't rush your project. Give it some time to grow on its own. Do a tracking session and give it a day or more before you do the mixdown. You may hear things that you did not hear in the "heat of battle"

    Can't wait to master the s#$t of of this mix!

    10. And the most important thing. Don't do your recording. mixing, mastering or what ever without an other pair of trained ears listening to what you are doing. Working in a vacuum is NOT a good way to get anything done. Collaboration is the best way to get the best product done. If you want to see what collaboration has done look at the relationship between Sir George Martin and the rest of the Beatles

    I prefer working alone.



    Sorry all, got inspired :lol:

    Seriously, Great post Thomas!
     
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Bravo, Thomas, BRAVO!!

    I'd like to ammend the following...

    10a. (Paraphrasing a common conventional wisdom here.) A lawyer who has himself as a client is an idiot, a fool, or both. Same applies to the audio production process.

    11. Take notes on your project. Take LOTS of notes. Take GOOD Notes... so take LOTS of GOOD notes. That way you can give your mastering engineer an idea of the direction he/she should potentially take the project. Not only that, but they can help with the liner notes. The mini list of things you need to keep track of; punches, eq settings, compressor/gate settings, verb/processor settings, song structure, chord structure and of course, the lyrics.

    12. Good stuff ain't cheap, and cheap stuff ain't always good.

    13. Don't ask for advice, if you're not going to accept the reality that you may very well be wrong, and someone tells you so.

    Lastly... 14. This can be a brutally honest industry, filled with lies, deceit, corruption and violence... and those are the GOOD points! :lol:

    Max
     
  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I agree those are all valid points. Anyone else care to add to the list?
     
  10. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I agree that sometimes the questions get tiresome, But I also don't want to create an atmosphere where people that don't master a record a day can't ask a question that may help them.

    I think anyone who is serious about what they do, will have info about them. If there is no info, then I don't think many take them seriously. But I'm on the fence about making it a requirement.

    I will start stickies to answer basic questions. Hopefully it'll keep very basic questions from being asked.

    I would rather have someone ask a question than pretending and still call it mastering. The term mastering is getting pretty watered down, but it won't stop people from using it. Hell my dad even uses the term when talking about adding reverb to his voice so he sounds far away. So I think it's important to distinguish between sweetening and making something to be manufactured and sold. I think the more people that get in there and start turning knobs, the more they'll realize that it's not that easy. I've got several clients that started out trying to do something on their own and found that it cost them way more than they thought it would in both time and money, and they didn't like the results. Only then did they see the benefit of going to someone that could knock it out in a day, it sounded great, their clients felt special and important, and it didn't cost as much as they thought it would.

    I personally don't feel threatened when someone just figured out how to make music in garage band and wants to impress their girlfriend with their CD. These hobbiests aren't going to have their songs mastered. so I would rather teach them the importance of listening and getting better so hopefully when they move up to logic, buy some mics and outboard, make a record that they want to manufacture, they'll have learned something along the way. enough to hire someone to polish it up better than they know they can do themselves.

    There is a different mindset of someone making music to burn on a CD and someone making a record and manufacturing 3000 to sell. What we as professionals should take into account, is that the person starting out burning the one CD may eventually move up to manufacturing 3000. And if they want to really compete out there and really sell CD's, then they'll see the benefit of involving people in their process that know more than them. Encourage people out there making music to be better. These are our future clients.
     
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO DEPOSIT A FEW MORE QUARTERS INTO THE SLOT FOR GREATER RECORD TIMES.

    DON'T TRY TO EAT AND MIX AT THE SAME TIME AS THE CRUNCHING OF CARROTS WILL INTERFERE WITH YOUR MIX.

    ALWAYS WIPE BEFORE YOU MIX OTHERWISE YOU MAY HAVE STINKY MIXES.

    THERE IS NO OLD-SCHOOL FOR AN OLD-FOOL.

    Getting younger daily
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    Who's my daddy???
     
  12. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Crack kills.

    Is it me or does Remy's posts make no sense?
     
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I'm sorry Michael. You're right, crack kills and that is why it as an engineer, I always make sure my pants are pulled up. Especially in back!

    Big crack butt
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    No one likes a hairy butt.
     
  15. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I agree about the term "mastering" getting watered down.

    Almost every recording studio in this area is now offering "mastering" as part of their services. Most places are using the same equipment and monitoring that they used for the recording and maybe taking the two track mix and sending it though an outboard limiter/compressor and equalizer. This is hardly mastering but I guess you can call it anything you want to.

    One problem with this approach is that you are listeing to the songs though the same equipment and with the same engineer you used for the mixdowns and possibly the recording. So mistakes that would become painfully obvious on a good monitoring system are glossed over or bypassed. Also since the same engineer is doing the recording/mixdown he or she is "pre biased" to the sound he or she was trying to get whent hey were doing the recording.

    This is NOT to say that the same person cannot master what they have recorded but I don't think it is the ideal way of working.

    Since there are no degrees or certiicates for mastering anyone can call themselves a "mastering" engineer and no one is the wiser.
     
  16. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sure they are Thomas, Why do you think so many people are asking questions like "why doesn't mine sound like so and so's?" Clients that make music for a living know the difference, they can hear it. Clients that do it for a hobbie maybe don't know the difference or don't even know what they are listening for.
     
  17. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Point very well taken.
     
  18. jahtao

    jahtao Guest

    Its a tough one... i mean a lot of folks on here are kids basically, just starting out, that should be encouraged and nurtured (if you ask me). Its the ambition to make records they can enjoy that drives them, we should not be in the business of crushing it and selling them a 'work will set you free' elitist worldview. The emphasis should be on learning and willingness to learn. Presets, for example, might help point skill-less people in the right direction if they are intrerested in checking why certain settings have been pre-set.

    Basicallly, I think you've pitched your complaints a little strongly, i'm not a great believer in beligerence... thats not to say you haven't got a point. So how do we deal with this? Suffer fools gladly? No. Perhaps there should be 'general principals' thing or a 'read this first thing'. Good idea, but as for the beatles etc etc etc, come on people! If we can possibly keep our pet hates and personal creative biases out of it, i think the community will be better for it.

    So...
     
  19. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    All very good points, indeed. Looking at it from all sides (Hey, I'm a middle child, what can I say?), there are good arguments either way.

    Personally, I tend to fall on the side of Mastering being a "professional" process, and not for lightweights. Same as culinary school, or practicing law or surgery; you can fake it, or you can REALLY learn how to do it.

    While there aren't any official "schools" per se (no offense to the many fine audio/visual learning institutions out there), this is just too small a niche for something like that to become standardized in any legal or exam-based way. It's often "learn as you go." (Ask Bob Ludwig or Bernie Grundman how they learned...)

    To be fair, 99% of the people working in this biz learned their skills ON the job, or along the way, in a "Self-educated" manner. (I think we'd all agree that that skill just naturally comes with the territory?)

    Learning to get good sound up and through the signal chain will always make for a better master, but again IMHO, it's probably better to give the real deal - the truth - to anyone new asking about it (Mastering) on the way up. Making a really fine record in one's bedroom or basement is not the same thing as running a professional mastering house, and there's the rub as I see it. Big difference in skills at that point.

    On the internet, the playing field is supposedly leveled and anyone can be anything, or ask any kind of question, etc., and ideally be treated with the same respect and rights as any other. It's a great big anonymous world out there. In other words, a high level goverment official can post in the same chat group as a neuro surgeon as does a housewife or a Nun. That's fine if you're talking about soup recipies or crabgrass or Stephen King's latest work.

    But it gets mixed up here when a specialized forum like "Mastering" sits side by side with more generalized forums like "Recording Studio" and "Music Business". Human nature being what it is, folks will tend to go in and out of these chat forums much the same as any other. That's where the so-called "Dumb" questions can wander in, and I'm sure it's frustrating for folks who'd prefer to talk about the more complex issues in Mastering only to be asked things like: "Well, what super-duper presets did the (fill in your favorite/flavor of the month here) use to make THEIR master; gee it sounds great!" (The thinking is, of course, that these newbies just want to copy/paste the presets into THEIR systems,and awaaaaay they go.) As everyone knows, it ain't necessarily so.

    I do think a gentle reminder from the pro's on here is what it takes from time to time, esp when answering the so-called "Dumb" questions. If we keep it civil, keep it light and informative, the forum may continue to be a great place to share ideas, vent some steam, and even learn a few new ideas.

    I wouldn't advocate a closed "elite" forum, either; what good would that do, and where would any new ideas come from? But surely there has to be a middle ground, at least for a forum such as this one. Perhaps the entire job spec of "Mastering Engineer" is still evolving, too. The argument could certainly be made that there's a "Pro" Level, as well as the semi-pro (amatuer?) level of just getting it out the door onto a CD. Maybe we need another term for the entry level stuff, vs. the professional version.

    IMHO, the folks asking the questions need to be as careful and as respectful as they can, same as those answering them. Or otherwise, just don't bother participating. To my way of thinking, the "Mastering" forum is a whole different level from the other forums here, and hopefully it will stay that way, just as it should.
     
  20. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    duplicate - deleted
     

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