Mastering in Mix Mag

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by JoeH, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    The December 06 Issue of MIX magazine has an excellent article & cover story on mastering, entitled: The Final Step: Why Mastering Matters.

    It's not online yet (I'll post the link when it it's available) but you can pick it up at any of the usual places (B&N, GC, SA, etc.).

    Worth a read, indeed.
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I didn't find it all that interesting. pretty shallow interview if you ask me. I don't think I've read any mastering interview that was very deep. I think mostly because the person asking the questions isn't a mastering engineer, and the person anwering the questions doesn't say much. maybe i'm just in a "I'm bored with reading those kinds of interviews" mood.
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    i don't disagree with you, Mike, but I think it's important for others (wanna-be's and potential clients) to read this sort of thing, perhaps enlighten them a little bit to what's going on in the industry.

    I agreed with most of what they had to say, as "forced" as some of the Q&A was...remember, these things are usually built upon phone calls, chats, conversations both formal and informal. The people being interviewed are given a chance to read their comments for clarity and accuracy before it's printed, as well, of course. Some have an agenda to get across, some are being asked to respond to very specific pre-ordained topics (ie: Loudness wars, plug ins, etc.) You'll rarely see anything wild or off the wall in these kinds of interviews, just the best of their comments, with a consideration for available space.

    I'm still not in favor of a lot of what is expected of Mastering nowadays in terms of doing things with radical EQ and compression that really should be fixed by remixing, etc. They address this sea-change in the industry as well; gone are the days of record labels calling the shots, mastering engineers asking for remixes, stem-mixing, etc. Far too many folks are doing it in their bedrooms or garages with poor monitoring, thinking they can do it all...then comes a mastering session that's a huge wake up call when they realize how badly they've screwed up. Then they want to fix it in mastering. That's just WRONG, IMHO.

    I also think the Mastering market is seriously oversaturated at the moment, and I wish the best for the guys at the top - the ones who are doing great stuff, and really fighting for their craft. THESE are the real mastering engineers. There are far too many SA and GC-equipped studios out there, delivering lightweight results. I'm not saying you can't get good results from pro-sumer stuff, but the line is so blurred these days. I think it was at least an accurate, current look at what's going on in the trenches.

    I also liked Joe Gaswirt's comments that "every record has a magic level where it sounds best and shouldn't be pushed any further." (his words to god's ears!!!) The companion articles on EQs and restoration work were nice; nothing new or groundbreaking, but important to see more of the whole picture.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    When I first got into mastering it was a very different world (11 years ago)

    Most mixes coming in sounded GREAT and I could spend my time making them sound even better! Now days many mixes are distorted, over compressed and over EQ'ed before they even get here and I have to spend my time doing more "sonic surgery" than really mastering the tracks.

    Sometimes an attended mastering session is a very sobering experience for the mix/recording engineer. It is the first time they get to hear their mixes on a good set of wide range speakers in a purpose built listening room. They hear all kinds of things that they never heard before like trucks rumbling by outside their bedroom or birds chirping or children playing outside when they were recording. They also get to have someone with trained ears sitting next to them and making comments that they may or may not want to hear.

    Most tracks that I got early on in my career were from established recording studios and they were very professionally done. Now most of the tracks I get to master are from basement or bedroom "recording studios" and this maybe the person's first attempt a doing everything themselves. Sometime the results are very professional sometimes they are very amateurish to say the least. I would say that the difference between what I was getting 11 years ago and what I am getting now is the difference between day and night.

    I read the articles in Mix and personally wished that they had gone a bit deeper but I agreed with most of what they said.

    My hope is that people will STOP buying more and more equipment and spend more time learning about and creating with what they have already. Too many musicians today keep buying more and more equipment to make them sound better or different and what they really need to do is step back and realize that it is their own playing or singing that really needs work. Why spend a lot of time retuning a vocal track when you could just sing the notes correctly in the first place? Why spend a lot of time re sequencing the percussion tracks when you simply could play them correctly to begin with? I see people in Sam Ash all the time buying more and more equipment but I also see the overall level of musicianship falling. I think there might be a correlation.

    Good topic.
  5. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    L2/L3 abuse... urgh!!
  6. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Totally agree with this.

    Maybe this is OT but I think it is relevant in some way. On the opposite, few months ago, I had a client that recorded his songs in his bedroom himself with very modests gear and he does not have a great knowledge of audio techniques (he said he wish he could). He did record and mix it with his ears, judgement and always kept the focus on the music and its vibe, just like any serious musician-composer would do and the result was VERY nice and surprisingly good; dynamics, dynamics...did I say dynamics? Clear and clean, spacious and depth. It is like getting back to the root of making music. He said no plugins were used except for the reverb, that would probably helped, specially if he is not an "Audio" type of person. Then at the mastering, some minor EQ corrections (mostly in the bass regions) have been applied and that is about it.


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