Mastering routine procedure

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Alécio Costa - Brazil, Oct 24, 2002.

  1. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Hi guys!
    I would like to know from you some routine habits concerning your jobs and handling.

    a) How many hours do you stay in front of your monitors, console, Daw?
    b) How many pauses/breaks?
    c) How loud is the SPL?
    d) Reference Cds alays present?
    e) How many different systems available to check your tasks? boom box? Ns10s? clock radios?
    f) Do you alays try to do your best and your vision or try to make a balance betwe what ya think and what your client wishes?
    g) What about the loudiness war ? :)
     
  2. Doug Milton

    Doug Milton Active Member

    a) 8 to 10 is not uncommon, depending on the project. But 6 to 8 is kind of the norm
    b) As needed by clients or myself. Some projects are tougher and require frequent breaks for a clear head.
    c) I usually work around 85 but will crank it for spot checks
    d) Yes. There are so many genres and sub-genres that I find it useful to have a target that's close to the client's expectation. It doesn't mean I'm copying the ref disc, only making my client be relative to things in their genre. It's easy to hit a target if you know what it is.
    e) I really know my monitors and room and prefer to just listen on one system. Although I do encourage clients to do the "car test".
    f) It's always a balance. I feel it's my duty to give the client honest (sometimes painfully honest) feedback about their project and let them guide me. Ultimately it's their record, their vision, and I need to respect and be true to that.
    g) There are clients whose greatest wish is to be the loudest ever. I usually tell clients to make their record sound the way they want it to sound and if people have to turn it up a little, so be it. Dynamic range adds SO much to the emotional impact of music. You wouldn't want to have a conversation with someone who shouted at you for an hour, why do that to people who buy your record.
     
  3. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Grat Doug! Leu us see other guy´s opinions!

    Besides.... How do you pro guys in the US deal with those situations where the final Cd has problems like wrong equalizations, voice out of tune, drum not in good sync, etc. People generally think this is a problem of the studio that did the job or worser, the mastering studio..

    I remember once a guy complaining that hs CD was not loud as a Top US gospel artist.

    I tried to explain: first of all, you recorded at a home studio with very limited budget, time, lack of experinece. Not much I can do.
    They guy agreed but was somehow disappointed. They always think that mastering engineer are able to make miracles.

    How do you deal with these kind of critics, where you just can not do anything or very little?

    :)
    :w:
     
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    First of all, give the customer a One-off and let them sign on it. Signing off on a project puts the approval in their hands. They simply have to pay for more tweaking at thast point.

    If they sign on it, that means they are happy, if the press copy does not match the one-off, then the press company has to "fix the problem".

    As far as time goes, 7 to 12 hrs and as many as 18 to 26 hrs has happened at one sitting.

    The breaks are when the computer is rendering..(about 30% of the time in worst cases)

    Spl varies from 75 to 85, and from 90 to 100. Once or twice I will go close to the limit (120) for short periods to watch the speakers, the vibrations and the feel of the product near final.

    I use between 3 and 5 systems usually..but If I like what is happening in here, it usually flys on all systems..but a "car check", the home theater check and the boombox checks are always a good idea.

    As far as clients wishes, that is the important thing. To get your client to "wish" as you do is anotrher thing entirely. Educate the client, find out what they are looking for and make it so. Between my client and me, we can find the feel in most cases. 70% of my work does not involve the client being here..but I prefer to get the client to sign off on the project when I feel I have done all I can do.

    About loudness wars, see the above paragraph. Educate the client.

    Mastering engineers CAN make Miracles happen..it takes patience.
     
  5. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Thanks Bill!
    I do agree with you! If the client stayed X months recording, mixing with you or approving that job you or someone else did and he had plenty time to fix it before bringing it to us, at the mastering stage, its their responsability if the voice sounds too autotune, if the groove is not in perfect sync and so.

    Maybe I am just fed up with too much amateurism behavior...

    :)
     
  6. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Sounds about right!!

    Remember, first we are professionals, second we are engineers.....Wrong...

    First we have to learn how to be people persons and sales oriented, how to take care of clients needs and how to deal with anything that comes across your plate in professionalism. For example, when I am interviewing a client..(you know, I do not have to accept a gig at all)..but the interview is important. I have skipped the interview to get the gig and it can come back and bite you..so interview....

    First questions:

    Are you happy with your mix?
    Who did it?
    What kind of speakers did they have?
    What makes you happy with it?
    Can you spend the money (mandantory) for a 3 hr training session at my rates? (during the interview, certain people do not have to do this at all...I can learn from them..if you know what I mean)

    Do you want to rearrange the order?

    Do you have exclusivity to make final decisions?

    Who will be paying for this session?

    How long do you expect this to take?

    Did you bring your reference system with you, headphones, etc ???

    Who will be pressing this?

    How many one offs do you require?

    If need be, can we remix if necessary?

    Can I get Vocal/ instrumental tracks separate?

    and a ton of other questions,

    Do you drink while we work? Smoke Pot? Will we be alone or will we have company? Can you leave your cell phone in your hotel? etc..etc..

    Make sure it coincides with your rules and requirements for proper work.

    This will weed out the BS. Professionalism can be done and you can be cool at the same time. Interview must not take place in the studio..better to do it at the local cafe etc..

    That way it is on point. You are in control.

    Get the idea???
     
  7. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Bill, grade 1000 to you!
    I have always tried to develop a similar thing but yours is a must!
    :w:
     
  8. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Greetings,

    I spend 8-10 hrs "at work". During really busy seasons or if a specially intensive project comes in I might work up to 12 hrs, but I try to do all my EQ & creative work first so I am not burnt out . Simple production work comes late in the day.

    Breaks as necessary. I can go 5-6 hrs straight if needed for consistancy.

    Medium volume levels. Sane if at all possible.

    I always ask the client to bring in reference CDs that they know really well. It allows them to know my room a little better.

    I mostly use my main monitoring system, but have NS-10m's in the room too.

    The client is boss. I offer options & opinions in the most discreet manner possible, but within reason, what they want is what they get. The client always does sign off on the PMCD for the session & evaluates it after, but EQ is a creative process made up of many decisions for which the client is responsible. If something is very wrong with the recording, I ask if other options such as a different version or a remix are possible. It is up to the client to decide whether to go on or revise & redo. If the client wants to go with what they have then I do my best to work a miracle.

    I always make the level competitive, not rediculous. I get very few level complaints these days.

    Bill's questions are typical & wise. I do not have the luxury of any sort of "manditory training time". Many of my clients are independents who are on a very tight budget. I try to work as efficiently as possible. There is usually no drinking or pot smoking in session. That slows things down & might skew the results. I do my best work straight. I am here to do the best for the client, provide a fresh (unstoned) set of ears. I try really hard to get it just right the first time.
     
  9. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Greetings,

    I spend 8-10 hrs "at work". During really busy seasons or if a specially intensive project comes in I might work up to 12 hrs, but I try to do all my EQ & creative work first so I am not burnt out . Simple production work comes late in the day.

    Breaks as necessary. I can go 5-6 hrs straight if needed for consistancy.

    Medium volume levels. Sane if at all possible.

    I always ask the client to bring in reference CDs that they know really well. It allows them to know my room a little better.

    I mostly use my main monitoring system, but have NS-10m's in the room too.

    The client is boss. I offer options & opinions in the most discreet manner possible, but within reason, what they want is what they get. The client always does sign off on the PMCD for the session & evaluates it after, but EQ is a creative process made up of many decisions for which the client is responsible. If something is very wrong with the recording, I ask if other options such as a different version or a remix are possible. It is up to the client to decide whether to go on or revise & redo. If the client wants to go with what they have then I do my best to work a miracle.

    I always make the level competitive, not rediculous. I get very few level complaints these days.

    Bill's questions are typical & wise. I do not have the luxury of any sort of "manditory training time". Many of my clients are independents who are on a very tight budget. I try to work as efficiently as possible. There is usually no drinking or pot smoking in session. That slows things down & might skew the results. I do my best work straight. I am here to do the best for the client, provide a fresh (unstoned) set of ears. I try really hard to get it just right the first time.
     
  10. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    great!
    I have seen some ME from the USa commenting that they have their clients signing a kind of contract that says that the client is resposnible for..

    Would someone please comment on that? I got really interested on this stuff.

    Also, does someone have any forum reference for muisc rights, related things? One of my clients got signed with a major company here in Brazil today , asked for my PT CDR backups, they will rerecord the lead vocal because they have a new singer and make some minor alterations..

    The independedt client paid me , I deliverd him the work and now the company asks for that. I also played and coproduced this album. Do I have any right?
    Thanks
     

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