Field Trip...

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Cucco, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey all -

    Nothing to write home about for some of you, I'm sure, but I'm heading off to Airshow Mastering today to get a track of one of my clients mastered. I'm gonna sit in on this one just for the shear sake of learning and watching.

    I'm so excited, I can't hardly contain it!
    (I know, I have issues...)

  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    It's ok Jeremy; in this business, we're all used to odd stares from people and whispering behind our backs. :twisted: I'm often told I'm "easily amused".

    I'd love to hear all about you experience, indeed.
  3. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Me too! I'm fully jealous Cucco. :cool:
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    don't forget to bring your camera. take pics and post them. Tell him I said it was ok.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Sorry - I had already gotten back by the time I read this. It's a shame. Although, it might have been difficult. The springfield studio (Charlie's) is pitched as being a small mastering suite. Small it is. I have a 14mm lens, but I think it would have had difficulty in that room.

    This ain't a bad thing though - the room sounded great. His monitors complimented it perfectly (the beautiful and amazing Meyer HD-1s.)

    Brothers, let me tell you - if you ever want to hear a GOOD EQ - don't even think about sh*tty plug-ins - I don't care WHO makes them. You have GOT to hear the Weiss EQ-1 Dyn!!!!!! Holy Crap on a Cracker this thing is sweet. I don't know how to describe its Mojo. It works and it works well, but you would never know it since it doesn't alter the sound (other than where you want it to). The only thing I can say is, if you've ever used an EQ, you have been lied to (okay, that's a bit over the top, but seriously...) It's amazing to hear nothing effected at all except the frequency(ies) that you intend to adjust.

    I'd heard the regular EQ-1 Mk2 before and been impressed, but in the hands of the real deal, it's an amazing weapon. I'm jealous of you dudes out there that have one or more of these lying around!

    Charlie didn't have to do too much to the mix (which I guess is a small compliment to me, perhaps...). He and I agreed that the voice was buried (unfortunately at the request of the producer), but he was easily able to bring it out.

    I only saw him use the Weiss and the Manley Vari-Mu - he was mastering using Sonic, which is where he accomplished the fade-ins, fade-outs, and minor level adjustment in one spot.

    It was a 1-track session, so it was over in about 30 minutes. He then took the time to shoot the breeze with me for a bit and offer constructive criticism on a few mixes I had with me on Flash Drive.

    In all, the session was a blast and I seriously look forward to bringing the remainder of my projects to him!

    I like to think of myself as an amatuer mastering engineer, or a mastering engineer apprentice. Therefore, it was a real treat for me to sit in on a session and simply watch and soak it all up. For all you other budding ME's out there, spend the money and the time to get to a pro near you. It's very well worth it.

    One side note - I found it interesting that Charlie hardly referred to his meters other than to check for digital overs. I guess he's accustomed enough to the sound that he knows when he's got enough volume/amplitude without having to check the dummy scopes.

    Okay - book report over.

    I'll detail the next session I have which will be for a female soloist on her entire album.

    Then I'll take the camera.

    J. :cool:
  6. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Damn. That's sweet Cucco. You're right about plug-ins not even remotely comparing to the real thing when you hear it. I'm fully jealous. Was it economical?
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sure was.

    Set me back $75 big ones...

  8. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    Damn, that's a steal especially considering you got a chance to hear his thoughts on your other songs. Thanks for posting Cucco, I love reading about stuff like this. :cool:
  9. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Yes. Mastering is money well spent. Getting people to realize this is another thing entirely when you have so many people attempting to do their own mastering. Mastering is a dedicated function. Props to Charlie for doing you a good job!
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Fortunately, it's not lost on me. Unfortunately, it's lost on many of my clients.

    I get frustrated when I do my best on a mix and then they say they don't want it mastered or worse yet - they want the guy up the road (who uses a finalizer express and a behringer compressor and hacked copy of SoundForge) to do it for them. Then, when I hear my hard work played back, it's now just a mashed up bunch of crap equivalent to a square wave!!! AAARRRGGGHHHH.

    It's that reason I've started to get into mastering myself. A couple of years ago, I get fed up with the local guys who really suck and decided to start practicing my skills. Of course, I have one golden rule - I will NOT master my own mixing work.

    I'm actually in the process of ammending my contracts so that if someone wants get a track mastered, they must go through one of a select few mastering houses. Of course, this portion can be omitted if the client raises a stink about it, but I feel in general, it will only make the work better in the end. (Even if I have to slightly discount my rates to accomodate for the extra charge in mastering - though I won't readily advertise this!)

    On that note, I am in the process of placing the wording in my contracts now. Are there any of you guys out there (specifically Bill, Mike F, Joe L, and others) who would be willing to send me a current press packet/promo sheet so that I can include information in my contracts? If you send it via PDF, I can print it on a color laser printer.

    Please feel free to load it with details and rates (and the ubiquitous "rates subject to change without notice...")

    Thanks guys!

  11. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    I'll put something together. I got this rediculously long video project going on right I need to keep at it until I am at a good break point. 7.1 surround and rendering is time consuming.
  12. JerryTubb

    JerryTubb Guest

    Hey Bill

    What's the advantage of 7.1 over 5.1 ? two more side surrounds,
    or is it just a film thing ?

    I did several 5.1 DVD projects this week... we're taking a few days off.

    Happy Holidays, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc. and Cheers my brother.

    BTW all you newbies out there should listen to Bill... he's a real pro who cares about quality, and knows his craft !
  13. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    I second that. Bill rocks. :cool:
  14. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Happy Happy Jerry! Thank you for the kind words! Jerry is a very serious mastering engineer...hey...we even use the same brand/model amp! :)


    The sides..and the clients wishes..that is about it. Film Spec. and gaming. thoughts..(if you are interested..grab a cup of coffee)

    On the personal side..I really believe we all would be in a "better boat" if the industry would have "looked at" a 6.2 myself. I have disspelled the notion of the "scientific fact" of unidirectionallity below shown in this room anyway. I admit, many variables as to where directional bass "really ends" Phase is the biggy.

    You would have a pair of subs (at or about <90Hz) two fronts, two rear side/corners and one center front, one center rear.

    As our friend Mick says.."You can't always get...what you want"

    Certain film playback does 7.1 or they derive it from 5.1 and the gaming industry has adopted 7.1 (not that I do very many..just a few gaming soundtracks).

    What I do is to render four mono tracks from the main L/R, eq them, do a R-L "difference signal" mix between the L main/difference Right Main/Differenmce mixdown between the 2L 2R and fold them into the sides. The "cookie cutter" sides as the industry sees it..simply has not enough "steering effects" for me..and this gives some antiphase between front right, side left and front left, side right. Clients are pleased..this is all that matters. I also include an extra rear really I am delivering a 9 track.

    Also..if you look carefully at the specifications for 7.1 ..we have some "latitude" with those side speakers..and I use it!

    Frankly..the only advantages I hear and believe in are:

    -Better image steering in larger rooms.
    -More bottom end allowed in the front mains (less "Q type" sound effects derived, more actual steering instead of virtual and helps the single sub situation)
    -The sellers of equipment, 2 more amp channels/speakers.

    Like the new Corvettes, each new model will go a little faster. I think they are in the 190mph range now? (A full 115mph higher than the highest US speed limit)

    Some playback systems I have seen are advertised 8.1..when in fact, they mono the sides and the centers, F/R are also mono..which makes them actually..6.1's but not 5.1EX or "real 6.1

    I know Jerry, it is all so confusing these days..especially for the consumer.
  15. headchem

    headchem Guest

    And props to Bill for giving so much advice on the forums! I'm definitely wanting to sit in on a pro mastering session after hearing so many recommendations to do so. $75 for a song (well, for an hour)? That's not so bad. I know rates go up for more experienced MEs, but I had always assumed a pro job was out of my price range. Might make a good X-mas present to my band!
  16. Calgary

    Calgary Active Member

    For a band such as yours which actually has some real potential you can't afford not to. :D
  17. headchem

    headchem Guest

    Well, I'd still be going into the session with the intent of learning tricks I might be able to apply myself... If, after seeing what their equipment and ears can do, and after trying to do it myself, my own masters don't come close, I'd probably cave in.

    Is 30-minutes per song an average time for a good master? (I remember that audiowkstation did that demo master for me in 15 minutes...) Can I really expect to spend just $75 for a song?
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well it's normally $120/ hr and $15 for the output on disc. He charged me .5 hours and the disc.

  19. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Half an hour is about what it takes to do one song. if you are doing a whole project, the time averages a bit lower once you find the key to the mixes.

    As far as surround, 5.1 sounds great well done. 7.1 sounds better in a large theater, but only due to the size of the space. But it's hard enough to get people to get a 2 channel system sounding good, much less a surround system. I've done my fair share of surround projects and I have to say that the majority of them are a bit of a disappointment. I don't think it's a format that works well for music. for movies it works because you have a captive audience that sits in one place. For music, it's mostly ear buds, and homes. Not many people sit in one place and listen to an album. I know I don't unless i'm working on it.

    Bill, what are you using to monitor 7.1? amps, monitors, system, interfaces?
  20. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I still do. It's one of my simple pleasures in life that I'll be sure to pass on to my son so that he can pass it on to his children and so on. I feel it's a great stress reliever and a good chance to sit and quietly reflect.

    Of course, Mahler 3, Brahms 1, Beethoven 7, etc. and a good glass of 97 Napa Cabernet go along way in making this a positive experience. :cool:


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