The Basics of Mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by DonnyThompson, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Or maybe I should have titled this thread "Mastering 101".

    I found this video on Youtube:

    I liked the way that this guy explains things... at around 7:10 into the video, I couldn't help but laugh when he says this:

    "Most people think that mastering is really just about making things loud and in your face. That's not mastering. That's "making things loud and in your" LOL.

    Other excerpts:

    "Can you do this yourself? Sure. It's like fixing your own teeth. At the beginning it might be a little dangerous, but, after awhile it gets safer. The question is, do you want to do it yourself? ( shrugs)..."

    "Today, everybody wants their music to be louder than every other song out there. It's not a new thing; back in the days when transfer ( mastering) engineers were cutting records, part of their job was to make the record as loud as possible to cover up any inherent noise. The record companies found out that louder records played louder on the radio, which made people buy those records more than the others, and the race was on. Except today, with digital, it's turned into an insane pissing contest, where loudness is the only factor and absolutely no concentration is put into the sound quality whatsoever..."

    "...A mastering engineer listens to a lot of music. If you want to get into styles, a mastering engineer who specializes in a certain style listens to that style all day long. If he specializes in Hip Hop, he knows what Hip Hop records are supposed to sound like, because that's his stuff.
    And you also think that you know what hip hop records are supposed to sound like, because you listen to Jay Z all day long, right? But that's not the same thing, because when you listen to your own music, you won't hear the same problems that an M.E. can, because you're too "in it". Having a second opinion as to the tone of your record can be another good reason to hire an M.E., especially one who is familiar with your style..."



    pcrecord likes this.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I like Fab for its clever and funny way of explaining things. Athought I don't agree with everything he says, I think he offer good advice in general.
    I liked his series of youtube videos on recording and mixing a band on stage.
    audiokid likes this.
  3. freightgod

    freightgod Active Member

    I apologize in advance for not watching this video yet (I will! thanks for the up). But a mastering engineer who works in one genre and gets to decide what that genre is supposed to sound like because he says so...I rebel against that instinctively. It's like psychiatry, IMO....who gets to decide what "normal" is? The guy with the scrip pad...
    audiokid and pcrecord like this.
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    I get you Freightgod.
    Thing is, there is never only one ME for one genre. Ultimatly, the band and the fans has a role on deciding what sounds good because they are the ones paying for it.
    The genres common content will affect the ME's decisions too. If it's a speed metal song, you can bet the transients will have a higher priority than a soft balad.

    Also, don't forget that the role of the ME is to make your album sound as One. the volumes of the songs and the frequencies to match other album on the market.
    His first role is to save you from getting up and ajust your sound system between songs and other music. (or grab the remote) ..

    I think your reserves should be more focused on the mixing phase where a lot more is happening ;)
    audiokid likes this.

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