Mastering choice help

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by neverexists, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. neverexists

    neverexists Guest

    Hi all .
    I have a little trouble , my band (thrash/death metal ) is going to finish a 2 track demo for promotional purpose.
    We want to master outside this cd , i have searched around and found 2 possibilities to my opinion.

    a) Cutting-room (Björn Engelmann or Thomas Eberger)
    about 6/8 Hours for 2 tracks
    b) Sterling Sound (Ted Jensen or George Marino)
    about 1 Hour for 2 tracks

    At the end the price is the same but a) workin 6 H and b) 1 .

    Which one do you advise ?
  2. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Montreal, Qc, CANADA
    Home Page:

    6-8 Hours seems to be a bit excessive but if the price is the same... I would suggest to go with the ME you prefer in terms of artists/CD's you like.

    Best of luck!
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    6-8 hours???? for two tracks???? I think there is a miscommunication going on with that. 1 maybe 2 hours is all it should take. But you should go with who you would like to master your track.
  4. PickMan

    PickMan Guest

    I am not going to tell you who to go with, but I have worked with Ryan Smith @ Sterling Sound (He was Ted Jensen's assistant and is now a Senior Engineer @ Sterling Sound)..and I have always been pleased. I know Ryan and Ted worked on a lot of things together in the past. Sterling has been one of the most professional places I have dealt with and will finish in whatever time frame's they tell you.

    Definitly listen to a lot of stuff by both and make your own decision.
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Picking a good mastering engineer can be a tricky thing. Pick the wrong one and he or she can do lots of damage to your material. Pick the correct one and he or she can make your stuff sound wonderful.

    Biggest problem is communication. Be up front in all your communication with the mastering engineer. Don't send mixed message like " I want this to be the loudest album imaginable but with the greatest dynamic range. Also listen to what this person has done before and what their best at. Not all mastering engineers are great with every genre even though some of them will tell you that they are. Also make sure you have all your ducks in line before going in. Don't wait to the mastering session to decide that the drummer is off cadence in one or two of the songs. There is not much the mastering engineer will be able to do about it but you may waste a lot of time and money worrying about it. All those things should be checked way in advance on good listening equipment and it is best to have someone who is impartial to also be doing some of the listening. If you are going to an attended session make sure you get a good night's sleep before the session and don't stay up all night doing the final mixing. You will be in no shape to do any critical listening. Talk things over with the mastering engineer every step of the way and don't think just because someone is "famous" they can not make mistakes in judgment and if you hear something you don't like talk to the engineer about what you are feeling. This should not be a challenge to what he or she is doing but more a questioning of judgment or taste.

    Best of luck.

    Just a quick question what made you decide on those two particular mastering operations?

  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Not if you're mastering royalty...
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    No, he would take a week or two.
  8. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    Generally speaking, if the price is the same that could be a red flag.

    I have never worked with any Mastering Engineers where the price difference was that huge! I usually pay anywhere from $225.00-300 HR.

    That being said, you can get cheaper deals if you book an un-attended session. Also, many places have a minimum of xx hours.

    I'd say that 2 hr should be enough, even with the setup time and burning you a ref. CD (which will usually cost you extra).

    Talk to the engineers and go with whomever you feel it's best for your current needs.

    Where are you located?
  9. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    I should add: if you are going to shop this demo to Labels get the BEST Mastering you can afford. Provided the music and mixing are good, a GREAT Mastering will really make a difference, immediately as they play the 1st 10sec.
  10. neverexists

    neverexists Guest


    thank you to all for the replies , i'm not sure where to master so if you have some studios (better if specialized in metal :) ) notify me please .
    I'm from Italy .
    I've found Sterling and Cutting room searching in some metal cds that i like.
    This is the first time we decide to do mastering not where we have recorded the songs ( 2 songs . tot 9 min ) so i'm very curious.
    I can't go to Usa or Sweden for mastering , is too expencive :) so i'm going to attend fot the mastered version of the cd .
    Do you have some tips or something to NOT DO on mixing ?

  11. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    I mastered a recording for the Prince Alexander Furst (the Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe Germany) last year.

    Now, if that isn't "mastering royalty" I don't know what is... :lol:

    P.S. It only took around 6 hours to edit down 75 minutes of material down to 50 and then process and create the production master.

    P.S. - On the MM site, there's a PDF guide (linked from the left of the main page) that has more than a few "do's and don'ts" on mixing - Mostly aimed at the "rookie" market - Don't know what level you're on, but it might be worth the bandwidth...

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