Where are we at now? How's Mastering doing?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Don Grossinger, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    How is the business trending? If you as a recording artist or label are getting your music mastered, are you happy with the result? If you are not, why not? Are you looking to cut vinyl?
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Good thread.

    Don, are you comfortable to share any kind of pricing (process to records in my hand) here on RO for our members?
    This is a course is in regards to just vinyl mastering and all it entails. I suspect if people knew more of what to expect way ahead, they may get more intrigued about vinyl with you in their sights.

    Assuming we have 40 minutes of music ready to master, if you could be so kind to break down the basics right up to, example, having 500 records in my hand...

    What do you tell people who call you with these questions?

    Thanks for sharing what you can... :)
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I've always used pro M.E.'s... while I'm a "fair enough" recording and mixing engineer, I am most certainly not a mastering engineer. I've used pro places, and some not so pro places as well - it's always the client's budget that determined which, of course.

    As far as who I have used, Sterling is one of the places I've used in the past; I've also been very happy with Cass Anawaty at Sunbreak Music.
    He's got great gear, great ears, is easy to talk with, and... he respects the dynamic range, which is a big thing with me. Everything I've ever had him do has always come back to me sounding fantastic.

    I wouldn't be against cutting to vinyl - and in fact, I'm producing an artist right now that would probably entertain the idea. Although we are a little way off from completing the album. Late summer, maybe early fall.

    I'd have to put my retro mixing hat on and go back a few years, though. The last time I had anything I mixed end up on vinyl was probably around 1987 or so.

  4. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Pricing is pretty straightforward on my part of the process.

    I like to master the program I'm about to cut, but can cut as a flat transfer from your supplied master Mastering charges are as normal for any digital format and these can be used for download, CD or records. These are on my website: http://www.dongrossinger.com

    Lacquers are $250.00/side to cut. There is a $100.00 studio time charge for setup, etc. There is a packaging fee of $20.00, Fedex fee to plating facility of your choice to make metal stampers (I have recommendations) and tax. Pressing involves choices such as artwork for labels, thickness of pressing (usually 120 grams, but can supply audiophile copies at 180 grams), jackets, etc. Please consult with pressing plant (again, I can offer recommendations on pressing plants).

    Please contact me with any specific questions. 914-548-0950.
    bigtree likes this.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    nice to see you here again ..... k
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I hope someday one of my productions will hit a record player. Looks like you've had an amazing career. what is it about vynal that is most special to you?
  7. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Don,...Is there a preferred difference to you mix wise for vinyl vs digital for mastering? Who is still pressing vinyl these days?

    Are there big plants still doing it or is is smaller guys that bought "obsolete gear" and kept the dream alive?
  8. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    As to the topic at hand.

    More clients from around the world.
    Less in studio clients.
    More work coming from the internet.
    Less master CDs burned.
    Severely depressed/restricted budgets for mastering.
    More people doing things themselves including mastering.
    More acceptance of ITB or hybrid mastering. It is the results that most people seem to be after and NOT what the mastering engineer is using to do the mastering with.
    More $5.00 per song web mastering service cropping up on line.
    Overall mixes are not coming in as professionally mixed as they were 10 years ago. On the bright side most of the stuff coming from Asia or Europe is VERY WELL MIXED and ready for mastering.
    IMHO overall lack of quality in incoming mixes too many people are "pre mastering" their material and there is little room to work.
    Local client base has dwindled to almost nothing.
    Lots of musicians today are looking more for "how much" and less for "how good".
    Way too many places offering mastering for the number of people needing or wanting mastering.
    Vinyl is coming back nicely as are high resolution music files.
    CD sales are down.
    I still think that within 10 years most of the smaller mid-level mastering places will have either diversified or will have closed up shop due to lack of business.
    I think many people do not really understand what mastering is all about and will forgo it saying "I don't really need the extra cost because all my stuff is going directly to the WWW as MP3s. This may change if high resolution files start being available and quality returns to music.

  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thomas, can you elaborate more on this? Who, what where and why?
    I'm guessing Italy is amongst the top 10 of a list?
  10. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    May I ask why you would think of Italy first?
  11. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    I have sold thousands of dollars in high end gear in the last few years, Italians are the ones buying or most interested in it.
    I have participated in a lot of remixes, Italians are the ones that are standing out as sounding great.
    What's up with Italy? They are kicking some serious ass .
  12. niclaus

    niclaus Active Member

    Thanks for your answer.
    That is interesting indeed!
    Italy is very big in the audio restoration business, but I'd say not because they are better than others (they are in the top 5 but there are others that are equally as good...), but because of commercials and political reasons...

    They have amazing commercials people, who do a good job at beeing everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE !!!
    And also, they also have a lot of public money coming in...

    But that is a totally different business.

  13. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    What's special to me about vinyl is the sound of the finished product. The mix is no different for digital or vinyl, except for sibilance (to be avoided for the health of the cutterhead), and centering of bass freq. below 150 Hz
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I think it's appropriate to interject at this point that this sound requires a high quality TT/stylus and nice speakers.

    In short, to optimally replicate this experience, you probably don't want to be digging out your 1965 Sears Silvertone record player. ;)

  15. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Without a doubt, you are correct!
    But the Silvertone is perfect for playing Burl Ives kids 78rpm records. As they were meant to be heard.

  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    It would be sacrilege to listen to Burl Ives on anything other than a cheap phonograph.

    I bet that if I dug into my attic deep enough, I'd likely find Burl's awesome "Sings For Fun" album - that had Big Rock Candy Mountain, Goober Peas, The Fox and The Blue Tailed Fly.


    Directly related to this, I would also add anything recorded by Huckleberry Hound, Dave Seville and The Chipmunks, or Doctor Seuss.

  17. eternalsound

    eternalsound Active Member

    You don't see a lot of vinyl these days, or even CD's for that matter. Seems like a lot of music is produced for online downloads these days. I do have a 180 -200 gram vinyl collection that is quite adored, I must say.

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