Mastering course not school?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by northstar, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. northstar

    northstar Guest

    I have been able through a studio to work on some mastering gigs as an assistant, the studio is closing and the main engineer is a nut.I was looking for some sort of well respected mastering course, workshop or school that i could travel to(i am in Toronto Canada).Something that would give me a fresh approach starting from the basics and hopefully eventually including new formats like 5.1 or SACD,DVD etc. . I want to lose bad habits and learn some real skills so when i have the cash(and i am close)to but togther a small mastering rig i am more confident and ready to go.I was employed for DAW skills and lerned Sequoia for the gig, but have not spent enough time using the real analog gear.Any suggestions would help? thanx
    I am trying to master a demo with rented gear, using my nuendo rig, i have manley mu , Millennia eq and a l2(hardware) what is the best chain(staring from the computer back in to the computer((for a cd help i love plug ins am i wrong))
  2. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:
    If I was in Toronto and wanted to get into mastering, I would start by calling Mike Lavine (former bassist for great rock trio Triumph) I believe he owns Metal Works. A mastering facility. Tell him you are willing to do whatever it takes to learn from his people.
    Do some research on the place first. Make sure you have the names correct. I'm sure they have a website.
  3. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Aug 12, 2003
    That sounds like a very good tip Joe!!

    What converters are you using?
    I would start with the EQ then comp and limiter last before going in the computer.
    Adjust the units one at a time, don't smack them all in at the same time... who knows? maybe you don't need all 3 devices?

    Good luck.
  4. northstar

    northstar Guest

    Thank you gentlmen i have treid for a while to knock on doors even hiring the studios for my small label in hopes of getting to know the engineers.Toronto has three large mastering studios,and four recording arts programs, the compettion for intern is strong .What about setting up a small rig for more affordable mastering for the masses, then through this get a better handle on the analog gear , what needs to be done and learn more on what to listen to and hear.Then maybe with 3 to 5 years under my belt a larger studio would accept me for emploment.

    I was using a lynx 2 , people say it is a great converter, is this true,does it compare to prism ,appogee etc..I found the l2 a little strange.I used Nuendo and wavelab but only did a editing and burning in them , no plugins used, the studio i was at loved all the multiband and comp/limiter in Sequoia, are these plugins used, do they Sequoia worth it?
    this forum rocks
  5. NolanVenhola

    NolanVenhola Guest

    Trying to step into a facility like Metal Works would be difficult. Metal Works (indeed owned by Mike), is one of the best recording/mastering facilities in Ontario, bar none.

    With so many home computer users learner to master audio on their own systems by experimenting and learning from the best (ie Joe and the other mastering engineers who dispense good information on the net), I feel people are just taking their mixes to their buddies and let them do it.

    I'm guilty of having people come to me for that. But small time musicians and bands don't make money off their music, so they can't justify going to a pro studio. I don't blame them. Return on investment is necessary.

    So what am I saying? Start your own mastering studio. If you're good you will get business. If you aren't you will fall by the way side of the home mastering guys.
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    I don't think that's great advise, Unless he just wants to be another bedroom ME. It's far better to pay your dues under an experienced mastering engineer. Granted it could take years before you get to take the helm but when you do, you will be at a level so far above others, because your standing on the shoulders of great people. Bands that take their music to a buddy to master it are not my clients. Nor am I seeking them. I can't compete against free and they can't compete against me, just the way I like it. I would make it a goal to get into a place that you want to get into, it make take a long time and a lot of work. But if your serious it'll be worth it. Think small, be small.
  7. Stephanie

    Stephanie Guest

    You should take his advice to heart. I've been working in studios for only about 4 years now, maybe 5. Just a little over a year ago I met my now mentor Stephen Marsh. I have been doing mastering at home on my own rig all this time, but believe me I would not know anything close to what I do now if I had not been working closely with Steph, assisting in his sessions, running refs/clones for him, interacting with the clients, and just sitting back and listening. Do whatever you can to get into a studio you like, where you can reach your goals and respect the people you work with.
  8. Eric B

    Eric B Guest

    Hey Northstar,

    You have some amazing gear - If you have a good monitoring environment, you can do great work with that stuff - Millennia and Manley make some of the best sounding electronics available.

    I'm in Toronto myself and have been to some of the mastering places Laquer Channel is allright. So is Metalworks. Check out Joao Carvalho. Best in Canada! (In my humbly biased opinion)

    Definitely put that gear to use - The hands on from running your own space will give you more time to experiment, with less stress -
    Its really the only way to internalize any tricks you might pick up in the studios or read about - You can also make some cash doing this, and the more you do this, the more you have to talk about with the studios.

    Most of the people I know in the mastering business went this route, starting off small and at home, doing jobs, then starting up a business, building that and then working up to be a top facility.

    There's a ton to know about mastering, you relly have to work on continually educating yourself and developing your ears.

    Definitely get the book "Mastering Audio" by Bob Katz. Definitively the real deal. His site is - Lots of info there. You can also do ear training with the "Golden Ears" CD course for audio engineers.

    As far as the gear goes, I'd tend to put the EQ first, then the compressor. I'd use the L2 as the very last step in the chain - If any pluins were used after the analog chain I'd use an L2 plugin instead of the hardware. This is just one way - There is no right way to do it though, just the way that sounds good.

  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Sorry to say but learning mastering on your own is like learning to take out an appendix after reading about it on the net. It can be done but it would be better to learn from a pro in a pro mastering facility.

    I served an internship in Nashville and can only say that I would not be where I am today without that internship.

    There are so many things to learn and so many ways of doing the same thing that it is virtually impossible to go it the self taught way. Reading Bob Katz's book would be a good way to start the learning process but then I would see if I could apprentice at a top facility for a while or at least ask if you could shadow a mastering engineer for a week as a minimum time commitment.

    There are too many "self taught" recording and mastering engineers around today that are ruining music while they self learn and it is not helping the art or science of recording one bit. IMO

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