UK Mastering Houses/Kit Hire

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by audioangel, May 31, 2009.

  1. audioangel

    audioangel Active Member

    Hi, I had a search for a similar thread, and my searches didn't trump anything so I thought I'd ask...

    I have just completed a promotional recording, and would like to add a bit of polish to it, by either sending it off to a mastering house or getting my hands on a tc electronics finaliser which i have success with in the past

    Does anyone know whether there is a company I can hire a tc electronics finaliser from - i've had no luck on google and i no longer have access to one.


    Does anyone know a reputable mastering house that wouldn't hcarge me through the nose - the best quote I've found (for 20 tracks I have 25) is £171

    I am not interested in doing it with plugins!
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    $276us for 20 tracks is already dirt cheap. I would wonder about the quality of that kind of service. I would bet they are just using hacked plugins downloaded from the web.
  3. audioangel

    audioangel Active Member

    they look legit...
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Well, a couple of things I noticed about that site.

    1: There's no pictures of the space or gear they're using.

    2: The make no mention of their monitors or room treatment.

    3: All of their crucial mastering devices are plug ins.

    Now that's not to say that they can't do the job with plug ins but, you get what you pay for. Companies like that thrive on quantity. They can do it cheap because they know that there are tons of people out there that neither have the gear, the money or the experience to know any better.

    If you want to put your trust in them that's up to you. I'm sure they can do a reasonable job. If their prices seem too steep, then don't expect to get a reasonable product back. For all you know you're going to hire some hack in his bedroom with a whack of stolen software.

    Anyway, if you're patient one of the Resident Mastering Engineers here will give you the response you need.

    Here's Michael Fossenkemper's site:

    and their gear:

    John Scrip occasionally drops in as well:
    (Dead Link Removed)

    Here's Thomas' site:

    You get what you pay for.
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Actually, take a look at Massive Mastering's rate list. They have a budget list which actually looks better than that other site.

    (Dead Link Removed)
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I would be vary suspicious of places that don't show you their room or that show you a very nice room and charge 5 dollars a song since the picture is probably stolen from another site. In my 40+ years in this business I have been to many "mastering studios" that were GREAT I have also been to some that were in a bedroom or basement and the person was monitoring on computer speakers yet in their adverts they said they were providing "a professional mastering job at budget rates" which was really NOT the truth.

    I looked at the site you mentioned and it looks like they probably spent more money on their web page than on their studio. Why post all kinds of information about the computer that you are using and not say anything about the monitoring setup they are using. If you can't hear what you are doing to the material you can't master it.

    Maybe do a search of the WWW and see if people are happy with this studio or if there is any other information about it.

    Picking a good mastering studio and mastering engineer is important and there are some very fine people on this forum.

    Best of luck!
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Just for the record. I don't think it is proper for a moderator to point a potential client towards a particular mastering studio. We all need the work and telling someone to go to a particular studio is really not fair to the rest of us.

    FWIW and YMMV...
  8. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    The site in question ( used to have photos of my old space on their site until I contacted them and threatened legal action.

    They may have even been the first (of so many). And the typical convoluted explanation... "Oh, my web guy made the site and I didn't notice it (that you had a photo lifted from my site claiming it to be your mastering room...?) when they put it up..." I can't remember what else with those guys... Part of the gear list if I recall, but I don't remember.

    I wouldn't trust a place that would do something like that (period).

    Anyway - Sorry for jumping in sideways. I still get a twitch over my left eye when I see that name...

    hueseph isn't getting any kickbacks... He might just subliminally remember the situation with A.M. from before... :evil:
  9. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Point well taken. Forgive me. I'm a newb still in so many ways.
  10. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    yeah we run a big kickback scheme for all of the mastering gigs I get from other mods recommending me... So far I've racked up.... ZERO gigs so don't worry Thomas, for now you're still safe... until we come up with the new bigger better scheme in which we plan to stand out in front of others studios and kidnap clients as they try and walk in.

    Oh and you can kiss my butt for suggesting that I'm giving a kickback for this...
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Audio Angel, The site in question, as John has pointed out, are scum for misrepresenting themselves. The price is a little too low IMO, actually a lot too low, for them to have any overhead.

    Personally I think you are going about it wrong. I would look at the places based on what you like, not based on price, and see what you can work out with them on price. You might be able to work out a sweet deal if you have some wiggle room.
  12. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Well Michael....why should a MODERATOR give someone advice on where to go for their mastering? You would not see Brad Blackwood recommending a particular mastering shop over at PSW nor would you see a moderator over at GearSlutz recommending a particular mastering shop. Why should it be any different here.


    In the words of William Shakespeare slighly modified for this occasion "Me thinks thou doth protest too much"
  13. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately this is becoming an all too often scenario. People looking around for the cheapest price and not necessarily looking for a good mastering engineer or someone that will work with them. The most often fielded question I get on the phone is "how cheap can I get this done for?" or "I know what your posted rates are so what are your real rates and can I get this done as cheaply as possible" or "I have 24 songs and two hundred dollars will you do the mastering for that?"

    More and more recording studio owners are trying to get into mastering since their recording studios sit under utilized and they think that by offering mastering as an add on they can get more money out of their clients. Or you get the person who has a computer full of cracked mastering software and plug ins and has some skills in website design and PRESTO the next day they have a site up and are declaring themselves MASTERING engineers with "years of experience" They steal some pictures from a well equipped mastering studio and post them on their site as their own. The poor consumer, who has no idea what mastering really is, has been told that it will cost him "thousands of dollars" by his friends or he goes to a couple of well respected mastering sites and see what they are charging but also sees another site that will do his "mastering" for a couple of hundred dollars and he is hooked. He gets back what he sent them poorly done, not what he wanted and vows that the next time "I will do it myself" or he will forgo mastering all together. Not a good way to promote the mastering profession.

    It is a WALMART world out there. Is is NOT about how good something is but it is all about how cheap can I get it for. And IMHO it is getting worse not better.

  14. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Dude, you've been watching too many soap operas during the day.
  15. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    What's a "soap opera"?
  16. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Whatever Thomas. I think you owe me an apology, I won't speak for John, but he might like one as well, Hueseph while you're at it.
  17. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    For the record and in my own defense, I get as much in Kick backs as I get for being a Moderator. So, it's goose eggs for breakfast again my dear Liza. And, goose eggs for lunch and dinner too.

    I wasn't trying to offend anybody and I certainly wasn't trying to start an "issue". So, I'll just pay everyone back in full and Thomas, you can have yours out of respect. Cheque's (I'm Canadian eh. That's how we spell it up here.) in the mail.

    I do remember the stolen images issue and it was the first thing that popped to mind but I'm tired of doing searches on this site for other people. I don't mind doing it, iI just get lazy sometimes. LOL

    Anyhow, peace all. I hope the op doesn't find this too disconcerting.
  18. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member


    IMHO the moderator of this forum should NOT be giving any potential clients the idea that there are ONLY a couple of mastering engineers on this forum that they should go to. To be giving out their names and their web addresses as part of his reply certainly looks like favoritism to me. Why not list all the mastering engineers or why list any? A simple "many of the mastering engineers on this forum could provide you with the services your seek" would have been a better way to say it. It was wrong of the moderator to do this and I stand by my decision to point it out to all concerned. Maybe I over reacted by saying their were kickbacks but at the time and the heat of the moment it certainly looked like that is what was happening. I am glad to know it is NOT TRUE.

    If the moderator wants to take down his post with that information on it I would certainly understand if he wants to take down my post on the subject after his post.

    Most of the mastering engineers I know are not doing as well as they were a couple of years ago. Business is down, there are more and more people doing "mastering", costs continue to rise and we are all caught in an economic vise. People, myself included, are getting touchy since it is their business and their livelihood.

    We shouldn't be fighting amongst ourselves but we should also not be posting messages that suggest to a client that there are only two mastering engineers that they should be going to.

    I have the utmost respect for you, for John and huseph but lets keep the playing field level. I have modified my posts about the kickback but of course it has been quoted many times so it has to be up the moderator to decide what to do in this case.

  19. audioangel

    audioangel Active Member

    OMG I have started some sort of war :)

    Maybe this is a better question then. What should I expect to pay for mastering and what should I be looking for in a mastering house/engineer?

    I have 25 tracks, which amounts to about 65mins of audio.
  20. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Rates can vary dramatically. Basically you want to first look at places that 1) you've heard their work and you like 2) someone you trust recommended a place. dropping them an email of phone call will get you info on what it would cost you.

    25 tracks is a lot. Depending on the kind of material and how it was recorded and mixed can also dictate the price for a project. If they are pretty cohesive, it would take less time which means less money. If they are, you should convey that so they can factor that into the cost.

    Also flexibility in turnaround time can help you with the cost.

    Are you going to have the disc manufactured? or are you going to distribute digitally? This can also affect the price.

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