Why one should not mix/master own material?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Eaglion, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Eaglion

    Eaglion Active Member

    Hi all,

    This will not be a technical question. I have been a silent follower of the forum for a very long time. I do not want to fire an other round of "pros&cons" or "Pro vs Amateur " discussion. I have read many of these threads and I agree with most of them. My question is a little bit different and towords more on the artistic side. In my eyes mixing is an art of its own right. But what about the art of music and the musician?

    Here is my starting point...

    In many of the threads against DIY, people imply that one can not be fair to all tracks, their ego may effect the outcome that an external ear will be more neutral and fair. This a very valid reasoning. The question is "must the artists be fair to their creations?".

    Although art appeals and benefits general public, almost no artist creates for the public.Public sometimes likes, sometimes not. They create for their own happiness. Think of Vincent Van Gogh. None of his paintings look natural. Compared to real life and expectancy of his clients, his drawings were full of errors, ugly looking figures etc. He could not made any money with his creations and died in poverty. You know the story. This did not avoid him from drawing those paintings. Now we know that he actual was seeing the world as he had drawn and he was happy.
    -Do you think any pro painter has any right to correct Van Gogh's paintings to fit them in our perception of real world > No.
    -I do not appreaciate Miro's art. Can i add better scenes in his canvas to made them look better to me. >No!
    -Titanic is a very long movie and audience get bored. Can I cut scenes and reduce it to "Theather friendly" 85 min. lenght >No!

    No, they are their creations, they wanted that way. It would be an insult to them and their art.

    So why it should be different for musicans. Yes they will not be fair to every track, they will not mix or master which will bring commercial success. But hey this is how they want to hear their music. If they want to boost that useless guitars solo let be it. If they want to add an eerrie laughting effect on a romantic piece let be it. If the want to compress like hell and want whole piece to sound like a big cone cry let be it. They are happy.

    Maybe you know this. Nirvana's Nevermind album had two version mixed by two different mixing artist. Although Cobain wanted the first version, production company went with the second version. The second version became a commercial success and the techniques used became a gold standard for many mixing artists. Cobain on the other hand, complained about the second version until the day he died. He stated in many interviews that it was not reflecting his insight and he did not feel the album was his own creation any more and how he would prefer the first (rawer and poor quality) version.

    The following two questions will sound a bit harsh. Actualy i am not expecting you to answer them. My intention is not to offend anyone. If we ask these questions as follows you suddenly start to think differently.
    -Pro ME/MAs do you still think it is appropriate to alter/spoil others' art?
    -Musicians do you feel offended or someone had stolen your creation if some Pros change your creation?

    MY REAL QUESTIONS IS (at last)
    How do you feels about all these?


  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    In my eyes mixing is an art of its own right. But what about the art of music and the musician?

    what about it? mix it any way you want it, that's the way you need it ....

    In many of the threads against DIY, people imply that one can not be fair to all tracks, their ego may effect the outcome that an external ear will be more neutral and fair. This a very valid reasoning. The question is "must the artists be fair to their creations?".


    Although art appeals and benefits general public, almost no artist creates for the public.

    i don't agree

    Nirvana's Nevermind album had two version mixed by two different mixing artist. Although Cobain wanted the first version, production company went with the second version. The second version became a commercial success and the techniques used became a gold standard for many mixing artists. Cobain on the other hand, complained about the second version until the day he died. He stated in many interviews that it was not reflecting his insight and he did not feel the album was his own creation any more and how he would prefer the first (rawer and poor quality) version.

    poor rock star .... then he got rich

    -Pro ME/MAs do you still think it is appropriate to alter/spoil others' art?

    depends on what it pays.

    -Musicians do you feel offended or someone had stolen your creation if some Pros change your creation?

    i would be flattered anyone has shown interest in my work.

    MY REAL QUESTIONS IS (at last)
    How do you feels about all these?

    i feel fine .........



    your welcome,

    View attachment 2480
  3. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I certainly don't think of it as "spoiling" by any means (I'd assume none of my clients think so either).

    As far as "alteration" is concerned, I don't think Dior, Armani or Botany 500 mind at all when someone who purchases one of their suits takes it to a tailor to have it "altered" to better fit the end wearer either.

    And for the record, I neither master my own mixes nor tailor my own suits.

    I don't feel qualified (for lack of a better term) to master my own mixes -- Unless I'm doing a flat transfer. Sure, I'm qualified to gap, head & tail, PQ and print a copy - But as far as the audio itself is concerned, I've already gone where the mixes are taking me while I'm mixing (which is kind of the whole point). And almost undoubtedly, the mix that's "in my head" and the mix that's actually there aren't necessarily exactly the same. To think that (A) putting on another hat is going to make me hear something different or that (B) that hat is going to make the mix "in my head" different than what it is --

    I remember attending a mastering session on one of my mixing projects years ago (this is when I was just starting to even consider getting into mastering "seriously"). Obviously, it's boring as hell (anyone who attends mastering sessions with any sort of regularity knows that) so I was in the lounge after a short while. Then engineer thankfully came out and said -- "Is there supposed to be a kick drum on track 3?"

    Why yes - There WAS supposed to be a kick drum on track 3. And I had it muted. Don't get me wrong -- I knew it was there -- I heard it in my head -- but it wasn't on. And this was in the "good old days" when you had to actually go back to the studio and reset everything from the previous session (etc., etc., etc.).

    Needless to say, I was embarrassed as hell -- But it doesn't embarrass me anymore, because I probably make that phone call at least once or twice a month (if not more).

    On the really nice sounding stuff, the mastering phase is simply another "quality control" step (and of course, spacing and leveling and what not). On a few projects here and there, it's strictly that -- I have more than a few clients that simply want to make sure everything is good and they don't want anything changed at all unless there's a good reason for it.

    I have a project in right now where everything is "as the artists wants it" and my job was simply to look for things like a muted kick drum -- Or the 160-some clocking errors I found and repaired that somehow no one noticed. And video whine -- Actually called to make sure they didn't want it (they didn't hear it on the studio rig).

    Long story short -- No one is forcing anyone to send in their projects. They're sending them in because of the potential value (both literally and figuratively) of sending them in. And I'd go as far as to submit that the most experienced mix engineers value that step the most.
  4. Eaglion

    Eaglion Active Member

    Thanks for the replies. I felt that your replies are a bit defensive. I tried to emphasize in my first post several times that i do not mean to offend or critisize. English is not my main language. I am sorry if it still sounds so. I do believe and respect Pros. There would not be much to listen after mid 70's if you were not there. I am aware that most of the "pieces" brought to your desk "created by musicians", lacks prerequisites to be music (Kurt's cartoon clearly demostrates what i mean:) ). Pros made them sound like music and "barable". Again i am sorry if i failed to deliver this message.

    One thing you may overlooked while answering is you are Pros who work mostly with real pros (AKA commercialized artists). They can succesfully supress their artistic ego to achive perfect outcome. On the other hand, mixing/mastering books filled with musician-ME/MA conflict stories. I am sure you can write dozens of your own books based on your personal experience on these conflicts.

    Whenever digital kicks into a line of work, it makes the work look easy and cheap to non-pros. One of the best example is photography. We used to appreciate artistic photography before digital but now everyone shoots 100s per day "without a hassle", exposed to another 1000s. None of them perfect but most of them are acceptable "and free". They can print in their large page printers at home and hang on their walls. That is what happening now in the musical realms. People do think they can do it without pros. We all know that this is not true or possible.

    Meanwhile, digital technology also fused the discussions what is art, what is not. In many amateur forums, people started to defend that what they produce is also art. They want to claim their title as "artist" and it should not be in monopoly of pros. Sounds fair as long as what is produced is unique and creative. That is what triggered my question. Music had never been a one man's creation. There are composers, conductors, player which changes the outcome. Even if rehearsed million times no orchestra manages to play exactly the same. Each performance is unique. Thats why, not only Recording, Mixing and Mastering but also Printing is a part of this art and can not be excluded. Thats an other fact.

    Personally, i apreaciate any well produced creation as "art" as a whole but tend to appreciate the artist if (s)he manages to produce all by him(her)self. That may be the reason why all my walls are covered with my 3 y/o son's drawings instead of something else.:)

    Thanks for understandment and replies.
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    IMHO mastering should not "change" music or the artist vision. It should help the artist realize his or her vision and make their music sound the way the artist wants it to sound.

    One problem today is that a lot of artist cannot critique their own work. They have their music in their heads but what they present to the mastering engineer for mastering is not the same music. They idealize the music in their heads and when the mastering engineer masters what they have presented to him or her and they take it and play it for friends and the friends say unflattering things about their music the artist gets upset thinking that the mastering engineer has somehow "changed" the music.

    I work with a lot of indie artist. Most of them are excellent musicians and have very good ears. They have very strong visions of what their music should sound like. They can share their vision with me and together we can get their project mastered. I also have some musicians that fit into the above category. They are hearing the music in their heads but what they have produced is not what they are hearing. When we start to master their material they are trying to equate what their mind is telling them it should sound like versus what has really been recorded and mixed.

    I had a client recently who was hearing a very well recorded and mixed album. He heard all the music though his own built in filter mechanism. What he presented to me was a real mess. The tracks were not well done, the vocalist sounded like they were in a different room and everything had been overlaid with a tremolo and phasing effect. When they had done the recording it was done in a professional studio but his brother did the overdubs and the mixing. When he did the overdubs he left the studio monitors on while he was recording the overdubs so not only do you hear the original guitar work you hear the overdubs from the speaker recorded along with the overdubs. The artist could not hear the problems and though that I was doing something to his very carefully crafted tracks. He had 22 track to master and each track was a nightmare but to the artist they all sounded great.

    Since I am hearing the music for the first time a lot of things are apparent to me that may not be apparent to the artist. Lets say someone makes a mistake in the third measure. The artist knows that it is a mistake and that they will have to fix it later but somehow that mistake becomes part of the music and they turn off the problem thinking that they will fix it later but never get around to it. So when I hear the tracks for the first time I will make a comment about the third measure and they will literally not be able to hear it since it has become part of the fabric of the piece.

    I see a lot of posts at GS where someone will state that they sent their masterpiece to a "famous" mastering engineer who did not do what the artist wanted done but charged them a lot of money and then they took the tracks to their basement studio and using only TRacks made it sound AMAZING. I find that rather hard to believe. I think what normally happens is the the artist has a particular sound in their heads and wants the mastering engineer to somehow make their music sound the way it sounds to them it their head. When the mastering engineer, who is doing the best job possible, sends back the material the artist does not hear what he or she wants to hear and they get upset.

    Our motto is and always has been "where your dreams become reality" and most times we can work with the artist and get their vision met and maybe even exceeded. If the artist is hearing something entirely different from what is on the recording that may not be easy.

    FWIW and YMMV
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    All on a shoestring

    correct me if i'm wrong but the original post reads as if they resent someone else takeing their vision to a different place / want to do the mastering themselves / at least have more input in the process while admiting they don't fully understand it.

    i say; go ahead. what's stopping you? do what you want. you don't need anyone's permission. isn't that the whole idea of self recording?

    it doesn't even have to be good. indulge yourself, amuse yourself .... yeah; self amuse. everyone's a song writer, a singer, plays dozens of instruments, is a recording engineer, a producer, m.e., nutritionist, style consultant etc. an artist.

    there's much to say but probably much more best not said. younger people see absolutely nothing wrong withe state of the art while geezers won't shut up about The Beatles. but i can remember the old farts who used to go on and on about 40's white bread swing music so it seems things change while they remain the same.

    the tools that are available to the average joe schmuck are phenomenal. young people don't know what it was like to not have them while the senior set could never have imagined them. almost anything is well within the reach of any minimum wage earner. a few grand can buy a very respectable computer software mic and speakers. theres a lot of hard core cases that are getting by with even less porta studios, old adats, yet still possessing high power aps like pitch correction and time quantization / digital editing.

    it really does amaze me. but i still liked the Beatles best.
    View attachment 2482
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Hey if doing your own thing is what you want to do I say go for it. Just don't assume what you think is the cat's meow is what others are going to think of your efforts. If I want to paint a door in my house I can do it myself. If I want to paint the whole house outside and in I hire a pro. If I want to put up a picture I can do it myself. If I want to frame in a wall and put up drywall I hire it done. I know my limitations and I know what I can do. I am self limiting. Lots of musicians think that because they are subscribers to Mix magazine and read GS everyday they are full fledged audio engineers who have been around the block a couple of times, If it is your hobby and you enjoy doing things yourself GREAT do them. If you want to make money and become a professional then hire things done that are beyond your limits. It is not that you are admitting defeat it is that you realize that you cannot do everything yourself. Today too many "kids", and I say that in the nicest way possible, think they never do anything wrong. Their parents and grandparents and teachers at school always gave them the encouragement they needed and sometime said things that would indicate that everything the student does is perfect. After a while these "kids" think that their brown stuff doesn't smell and whatever they do is the best. This simply is not true.

    I have a friend who runs a trophy shop. I was there recently picking up some engraving. I saw literally hundreds of trophies that said "I participated" I asked the owner what these were for and he told me that every kid that plays softball gets a trophy. I asked what about the people who excel and he said they just get bigger trophies. I guess that is in effect the music business today. Everyone can post their music on YouTube but the real stars get to have their music listened to by millions and get paid for it.

    FWIW and YMMV
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Bigger trophies! HA!

    View attachment 2483

    what's missing is the filtering process top40 radio, the recording industry, unions, managers and even the mob imposed. never thought i'd miss mitch miller. i wonder how many studios there were in the 40's? 50's? 60's?

    even when i was a kid in the 60's, recording studios were mythical places. ususally the closest you might get to one was a radio station.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    When professionals come together to create a professional product, they rely upon each other's professionalism, personal contributions and their own creative tilt. A little like running a government. It's not a dictatorship it's a union of people. Musicians that have been given the opportunity of a contract, must abide by the contract in which they have signed. Sometimes they give away certain rights within the boundaries of the contract. Whether they like it or not. If they don't like it? They either don't have to sign the contract or they can walk away from the possible success that they may glean from having signed the contract. No harm has been done. No insults posed. It's a business deal. Just because you like your ophthalmologist doesn't mean that he will remove your appendix for you even if you ask them to do so. Everybody has their specialty. If you are involved with specialists, you rely on their capabilities to deliver. Do you have the right to tell them how to go about doing their job? No, you don't. If you do, they generally will not work with you. Because they know better. They know better than you do. And that's what you go to them for.

    I have a friend who is a wonderful singer songwriter, rock 'n roller. We don't work together in the studio. She believes she knows how to make a CD and that I don't. She believes this because I insist, for the basic rhythm tracking sessions, that the entire band must play together at the same time. She says it's not done that way. Who's right? The answer is me, I'm right. But she does not believe that adequate results can be accomplished that way. While her end result and product is good, technically accurate, it lacks that magical glue, acoustically. And, she doesn't bother to read any of the trade publications that we read or even contribute to. She's never worked with a top-notch professional and she's never been under any contract with anyone. I wonder why? It's because she is inflexible. Even other musicians don't like working with her because she insists that they play only the notes that she wants them to play. They are given no creative license or capability to deliver any of themselves. Is that right or wrong? It's right in her eyes. So does she work with a group of musicians as a cohesive and creative endeavor? No. Because other musicians are not musical automatons. They'll work for her only if she pays them handsomely. And that can get real expensive for a simple vanity album. Her last CD cost her nearly $30,000 to produce. Sounds good. Went nowhere. A little too sterile for me. Some crappy recording tricks used that don't add anything to the song. Oh but she thinks it's cool. Well I think it sounds stupid. So this all varies from project to project and person to person. There is no right. There is no wrong. There can be collaborative events. Or completely solo and self produced because frankly, she is a control freak. She must be in command of everything. And then she complains that she is not getting anywhere. I wonder why? As Ron White the redneck comedian has said, " YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID ". And that's the unfortunate thing as she is incredibly talented. She has loved the sound of my live recordings of her with a band. I wonder why? Even projects that I have tracked for her, which were concept oriented working with a band, sound better than her quite technically accurate, clinically perfect, CDs. I wonder why? She's too stupid to understand. She comes by her purebred Teutonic background quite honestly. She is Hitler making recordings. And if you don't want to rely on a highly skilled professional, you can produce whatever amateur sounding recordings you want. Because clinically and technically accurate doesn't necessarily translate into a mass appeal production. It's just technically sterile. Music is not something that should be sterile. Musicians in the Symphony Orchestra all play with different and varying techniques. If they all played with the same technique as each other, you would have a computer sequenced playback. Is a computer an orchestra? Hell no. The sound of the beautiful Symphony Orchestra cannot be electronically re-created to sound the same as 80 individuals all contributing their own unique technique to create a wonderful to listen to performance. It's the performance value and the technicians all coming together, in the hopes of touching people from deep within.

    When it comes to Mastering a final mix, then it is up to the Mastering Engineer to take that recording to its pinnacle. The Mastering Engineer has to know, what the demographics of the audience will be for the recording that they are mastering. You know what the mastering a symphonic recording into a brick like, overdriven, over loud, irritating sounding production. This is all a creative process. You cannot dictate creativity to others. To do so is a sin against nature. Music is one of the greatest gifts we have been given. And it is up to us to satiate the needs of what everybody must have in their lives. So you are making judgment calls based upon your interpretation of how you believe things must be. No problem with that if the production is yours and yours alone. So if you have signed no contract's, have no producer, can't afford a Mastering Engineer, you can make anything you want. I certainly don't feel bad for Kurt Cobain. He had no good reason to blow his successful wealthy brain out. I'm sure it was not based upon mix number two being used. And if it was, we cannot necessarily fix mentally unstable people. No element of success can fix that. The record company took a creative chance that this person could make them wealthy and him and his band. And they did. And he was. The real losers here was the band, his wife and child, the record company, the producer, the engineer. So now no one can make any more money on Nirvana, including Kurt Cobain. Though I'm still sure that the record company is still enjoying sales and the musicians that were in the band are still enjoying their own careers.

    Somebody has to be the Foo Fighters
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I also fail to mention that even the Beatles gave away the rights to their music to their record company. When the record company EMI decided to sell off the rights of the published songs, Paul McCartney tried to buy his own product back. Unfortunately, Michael Jackson outbid him on his own music. So he calls Michael and offers him an even higher price to recoup the music that he created. But Michael wouldn't sell it back to him, even after collaborating with him. I don't think that was very sporting of Michael? In fact I think it was damn right rude and insulting to Sir Paul. The Beatles never wanted their music to be utilized to sell any products with. And now what do you hear on the radio and TV? It's a violation of trust that the Beatles had with EMI not to use their music or sell it for commercial purposes. The same can be said for George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin. The Gershwin family and its executors of the estate, do not allow any Gershwin music to be utilized for commercials. A special deal was worked out with the Gershwin family for one of their pieces of music to be utilized for a single company commercial campaign and that was United Airlines and only United Airlines. So the world is actually being robbed of the ability to be exposed to any Gershwin music that could be possibly heard in commercials. Is that right? It is for the Gershwin family. If you want to listen to Gershwin, you will listen to it without any kind of commercial sales or affiliations. And you'll have to purchase it to enjoy it for yourself and only yourself. I even wonder to this day whether Sir Paul, when he performs his own music, must he pay royalties to the Michael Jackson estate? Not sure about that? There may have been some clause in some contract somewhere that gives him the right to perform his music at concerts without paying any royalties? But we don't know that do we? Only the lawyers do.

    I recorded a country rock band back in 1978. They had some really great songs. One song that we knew had the opportunity to become a hit, had sort of a twangy guitar solo in it. I thought it was sappy and out of place? So I took that guitar track, fed it through an 1176 compressor/limiter to obtain as much sustain as I could. Then I took the output of that compressor and fed it through (with wires and alligator clips) connecting it to a burned-out bridge rectifier in a power supply, LOL. That guitar solo turned into a full-blown rock-and-roll heavy fuzz guitar. He didn't like that. The band members all loved it that way. I also fed the dual Show-Bud pedal steel guitar through a Hammond Leslie speaker. And the band love that also. That cut made it to both competing rock 'n roll station's, first release compilation albums. That cut went on to become a regional success. But they never played it the way it was on the recording live and it drifted into obscurity. Partially because I following album that they produced with another producer, it was recorded and mixed exactly as the guitarist had wanted to be. And it went nowhere. I wonder why? It's because it lost my input, my creative input, my creative expertise. And that's because when I record a band, I become an additional band member. And if they don't want me in their band, then they can go record with somebody else. Which they did. And that proved not to be successful.

    "60 miles southwest of San Antonio" (Bob Sellers band circa 1978)
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    All can say is that by the time i'm 'done' w/ editing/mixing, i'm usually sick of hearing it, especially if it's my own stuff. which i had to put up w/ during writing and practice as well.

    I don't care if i just send it to my cuz to t-tracks it in his project studio. even if i had the software, i'm sick of the song, and feel it's the "best i can present the mix". It's the idea of someone else hearing, what i have become used to, and making any improvements if necessary. I think i should get 'my mix' back, enhanced in any way possible. So i get to 'hear it for the first time again'

    For albums that are to be re-leased, not my personal pet projects, I wouldn't risk having an error laden disc replicated at the factory. Not only would a ME make sure the copy sent out, is flawless (w/ in tolerance), they'll also be able to compensate for the inevitable deficiencies in my mix, much better than my buddy.

    I highly doubt that it was the mix that sold 2 million copies. Dave grohl is quoted somewhere that he wanted his snare to sound like 'old slayer', which is why they did the drums in the same studio, listen to old slayer, and nevermind. same snare sound, and it before you could buy it as thrash metal preset at guitar center.
    Nevermind sold because of the extremely catchy teen spirit riff, and cobain's anguish he channels thru his vocals. Bleach is raw and heavy as sh--t, it got them signed to a major. In Utero, was pretty rough and boomy, didn't stop heart shaped box from still being played on the radio. See what i'm getting at?

    Nirvana was the first band i ever got obsessed w/, when i was around 10yrs old. They covered all my walls, i knew all of their albums on guitar, minus like three songs. I never once said, wow, great use of 8k to bring the cymbals out. Like any listener today i took the production for granted, and listen felt the music. This is what i expect anyone who makes the master version of my mix to do.

    It's something i still have to remind myself, when i stop using my instincts during mixing, and get un-necessarly fixated on a meaningless thing. +.1db, -.1db, no wait, +.1 sounds better, uhhh dunno, -.1 yeah -.1, eh +.1, umm, (leave it the f- alone kyle! lol)

    i can't believe kurt brought up mitch miller, his Christmas lp is still hanging around my parents house. too funny. that was a Christmas staple for a few years! the horror.
  12. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Remy you are are my hero!! That is the coolest shizNiT EVER!!! I would love to test what kind of voltage was being passed through that BR!! The voltage of love!

    This thread was a pleasure to read on all that contributed. I really think the artist that plays w/ a live band and lets the engineers work their magic turn out best. I.E. Beatles or many many others.

    I did a show about 5 years ago and at the end they played some recording of band I thought sounded great. Luckily, I got a copy of this recording and they left the song recording as we were packing up at the end of the show. So, I got a copy of this show and started listening to our set. At the end that song was there but it was like at -50db or more max peaks>>> way way down there!! So I cut the audio out to master it back up to volume and to figure what song was this...? It was Duncan Sheik who I think is from Australia. I think that might be the best mastered recording in the last 20 years!! I remastered it back to a louder state w/ a crappy main board computer built in 16 bit audio system. Totally should sound like crap but as I tried to bring this song back up to a proper volume it sounded great!! This was recorded by stereo pair of mics on stage at the Clubhouse in Tempe, AZ in 2007. I fixed the audio by way of N-Track (Australia software I think>?) This really should not sound good as MP3 at 128kbps but it does! Maybe it is overproduced but it flawless!! My band did not sound that good in comparison! lol

    Here listen to it>>> Fantastic Toys and Corduroy's -- Duncan Sheik

  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    While you're talking about your crappy audio card, the audio is processed digitally. No reason why it shouldn't sound decent. Your playback system is different from my playback system is different from others playback systems. It was a well engineered recording. Interesting it still sounds as good as it does indicating your levels that were recorded were down at -50? Of course those files may have been in 24-bit? Which would still have yielded 90 DB of usable dynamic range. Far more than what is needed on a recording of this type. So resolution when it still remained relatively high. This would not be true, however, for 16 bit origination. Because at -50, you have less than half your resolution and no more than a 46 DB signal to noise ratio. So I think you started with 24-bit files? And down converting to 16-bit, after you had " normalized ", the levels, still yields a lovely sounding recording albeit at 16-bit. Which is completely and totally adequate.

    While George Massenburg may say there is no reason not to be doing everything in 24-bit at 96 kHz, I would expect something like that from a person like himself. I take a much more pragmatic approach. It doesn't matter if you can hear the differences. You can hear the difference between 7.5, 15, 30 IPS. We were able to hear those differences back in the 1970s. But that didn't automatically mean that everything was recorded at 30 IPS, either. Will we still be listening to originated recordings made at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, 30 years from now? Of course we will be. And if it's good, it will remain good. Will we be able to hear the artifacts of previous technologies? Probably only those of us that know what to listen for will? I still hear plenty of recordings today that have tape noise from yesteryear, pre-amplifier noise from current technology devices... big deal. There is always going to be thermal noise until we start cooling everything with liquid nitrogen. And that ain't practical nor commercial, to do. Things may get fast enough where we get to enjoy DSD streams? But we're not there yet either. So there is nothing wrong nor to be ashamed with if one still wants to work in 16-bit, 44.1 kHz PCM based recording. Until the next great technological hurdle is overcome that everyone will be walking around with, the general public is not yet demanding anything beyond 16-bit, 44.1 (48) kilohertz digital recordings. In stereo or surround. We are talking about musical sources here. Moviemaking and their associated soundtracks, are a whole other thing. These are different kind of playback systems, designed for different kinds of audio sources. And not all musically based. Though the music may sound spectacular they are also because like in televised sporting events, sound for movies is riding multimillion dollar budgets and profit expectations. That's a little more serious than your average home rock 'n roll band recording enthusiast. Would I provide a higher level of quality to my clients if they were handing me five figure contracts? You bet. But if all you're willing to put out is $250 to record a couple of songs, are you expecting to receive a Lamborghini or a 20-year-old Toyota? I think you can do the math on that one? So that doesn't require an MBA or a rocket scientist, to figure out that, 16 bit 44.1 kHz is 100% adequate and acceptable.

    DSD has already come and gone. And to my hearing, that is the only viable, current technology, recording format. It really can compete closer to the original input source. I find it unfortunately quite noticeable between its highly sampled one bit value & another system running 24-bit, 192 kHz PCM. To my hearing, it's totally obvious. So if you want the best, that's the best. For ripping else... there's Master Charge. And if you're not going to record, track, mix and master in DSD, then, 16-bit, 44.1 kHz is all anyone needs. Because PCM sounds like PCM sounds like PCM and that ain't the original source sound.

    Not even CLASP can compete.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

    I'm not crazy!
  14. mindprint

    mindprint Active Member

    This is by far my favorite sci fi topic duscussion!!
  15. sachit

    sachit Active Member

    I think that the engineer doesn't steal the artist's right to express himself. If you and your engineer have differences, sort them out or get another engineer. The point being that like Remy said, the engineer has to be a part of the band. Look at Alan Parsons and how he worked on Dark Side of the Moon. There's something very wrong if you, the artist, don't have that kind of rapport with the people you're working with.

    Now I mix and master my own music. I didn't have a choice. Like OP said, I don't want my artistic vision compromised at any point of the production chain, even if it's an argument on the release settings of a reverb send. That doesn't mean I'm stubborn: I accept suggestions and criticism; but I do want to be in control of my own creations.
    And right now, apart from other things, I don't have the moolah to hire the kind of sound engineer who would be so good that his/her suggestions would improve my production substantially(for e.g.: Remy :redface: :wink:). Someday when I have that kind of cash and I find that kind of engineer I'll probably surrender the mixing desk and relinquish control of the master compressor. But until then, DIY it is.
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well it is a bit of a sci-fi discussion. I keep chuckling every time people talk about sonic purity as 24-bit, 96 kHz. Chuckle? It makes me laugh out loud! Right. Thank you George for that excellent professional observation. It might sound better but it still sounds like crap. I mean why didn't he specify 192 kHz sampling? It sounds better than 96 kHz. Sounds to me like it was some kind of endorsement for some company he may have been under contract with? And they don't make any 192 kHz converters? So it's just faster flickering fluorescent lights to me. And I really appreciate the technical academics telling me what I can't hear. Just like THEY tell you can't hear the difference in polarity on something. Really? So I guess I've been hearing wrong all of these years?

    I'm so relieved now that my hearing has been corrected.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  17. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Very old argument...you just haven't found the right Mastering Engineer to work with. Not all of us are our to corrupt your "artistic vision" in fact most of the mastering engineers I know are trying to help you achieve your "artistic vision" Best of luck!
  18. sachit

    sachit Active Member

    I never said that all MEs are here to destroy my 'artistic vision'. I just said that you get what you pay for, and I can't afford what I need. :D
  19. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    I bet I can get you what you need for free but it does no good unless you hit me up or some other generous person here? I don't promise anything in regards to making you an artist! Pink Floyd... the whole lot of them were artists!!! Gomer Pyle could make them sound good together cuz they sounded GREAT!! Sure sampling up to 192khz is ideal but is not really gonna make a song not suck if it just SUCKS. I know my old band was not the greatest but when we practiced what we had to offer it sounded better as anything improved by bit depth or sample rate etc etc... The quality of a piece of music is based on the writing of a piece and that today means more than anything I am sorry to say or hopefully happy to say!!

    Seems today we are harder on the music today cuz almost 100% or more of it seems to suck really bad~!~! What is sucky music??!!? Well that is Subjective at best!! I am sorry if I come across as an A-Hole Butthole surfer but maybe that is what 99% of listeners or more out there in the REAL world HEAR EVERYDAY ON CRAP RADIO STATIONS!!! Which is still not your fault but I feel better ripping on the unholy of unearned radio credited crap that I hear out on air waves!!!

    That makes me sad that Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber are even household names. No matter what bit depth or sample rate you record that $*^t it still sucks!! I hate music if it is all about what is hip!!! That has nothing to do with sound quality or anything of the sort! Play us your stuff here and don't be afraid if we will love you for it. Trust me playing your music and giving examples is priceless. Just wish I was brave enough but who knows... one day for my own! Maybe then I eat my words thinking my music worth a damn!! You know on that day I might even give you a pass, even if your name is Justin Beiber!!

    P.S. maybe i will give a pass on my own music if I thought that it was worthwhile for the masses!!! I just don't like sharing my heart and soul... I can totally understand why people hate the MUSIC INDUSTRY AT ANY LENGTH!!! Maybe one person out there likes what I like, but still I speak with no intelligence or authority!! I don't want authority but I want, at least, you to think of me as an Idiot Savant!!IQ!!
  20. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Active Member

    Speaking purely as a musician (I am neither a recording nor mastering engineer) I think we have to consider why one would want music mastered at all?

    But first:

    Picture (if you will) a cobbler..... he makes carefully crafted shoes - a beautiful thing in their own right... custom fit to one's foot.

    However - the shoe will certainly require polish - and the polishing of the shoe is not changing the "picture" the cobbler (as an artist) created.

    It would certainly be wrong to modify in any way a painting by Vincent van Gogh, however - when taking those pictures to the public eye - showing them in a museum - I would argue that the manner in which one went about designing the lighting to "best show" them to the public is not the same thing as altering his vision.

    Putting this in terms (now) relating specifically to the question asked...... I have to ask a question of my own:

    "Why does one take their music to a mastering engineer in the first place?"

    If all you want is to listen to your own music - in your own home - then mastering is not really necessary.....

    If all you want is to share your music with some close friends to listen to in their car or home - then mastering is not really necessary........

    If you consider your mix the end all of your music - then mastering is not really necessary......

    Why master at all unless you are considering a commercial release of your music?

    If you are considering a commercial release of it - then why not pay close attention to those who are experienced in what works commercially? After all - the only (real) reason to release your work commercially is to (hopefully) make sales and generate money - with the advent of YouTube, and the ability to take music instantly to a world wide audience it is no longer a situation where sales is the only way to generate recognition.

    If I want to maximize sales and profits then I would be foolish to ignore those who could help lead me there.

    Note please that nothing I have said here means giving up your creative freedom - however when faced with business decisions the best one can ever do is to surround themselves with people who know more about the subject than they themselves do - and then listen to them very closely.

    A good friend of mine majored in agriculture in college - and is a multimillionaire and successful builder/property developer today.

    Commercial building and property development has nothing to do with cows (his passion) and his major in college had nothing to do with his success....... when I asked him once how he became so successful in a field that's totally different from the field he was educated in he said this:

    "I hired people (I could trust) to work for me who knew more than I did about what I wanted to succeed at, then I shut up and did what they said."


Share This Page