Mastering for Electronica.

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Proof, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. Proof

    Proof Guest

    Hi there, I was just wondering if there is anyone on here with much experience in mastering for electronica - specifically the dancefloor varietys like House, Drum and Bass and Techno.

    Obviously there is a strong push for LOUD mixes, high RMS and the lot. Now, I realise that a lot of the traditional mastering engineers will be horrified by this concept, but the reality is, I am receiving a lot of mixes that have been pushed through a mastering plug-in, and coming out in the territory of an average -5 RMS. I will then suggest that the client go back and get me a mixdown without the master bus compression - but then they are still looking for the same level of loudness.

    As much as I try to convince people that is doesnt really need to be that loud - this scene is a young one, and many of the new producers are sure they know everything when it comes to audio.

    Now, I personally, having spent some years producing and mixing electronica, have slowly gotten over my need to make everything as loud as possiable, and am now constantly seeking to bring back the 'depth' that hyper compression has taken away from us, but how do you guys deal with persistenat client requests to make it as loud as possiable?

    I am starting up a mastering studio focusing on electronica - I saw a need for home producers to have somewhere they could take their music for the final polish, and it was a logical next step for my development and interest in audio - however, I am essentially being requested to make it as loud as possiable, and quality often comes secondry...

    In addition, many of these tunes are already signed to overseas labels (I am in New Zealand) and will be realised on vinyl, and cut on the cheap, often with little done, other than hard filtering at the top and bottom ends, and monoing under 300hz (for example)...

    The majority of mixes, or the 'sound' that is being aimed for is very bass heavy, with kicks and sub bass highly predominant in the mix. There are currently compressors and the like out there that can filter out some of the bass frequencies (such as the modification on my Vari-Mu), I would prefer not to have to rely on multiband compression, as the do make things loud, but certainly not musical, and am often hitting the point where the main bass heavy parts almost seem quieter than the buildups...

    In the understanding that this is a very specific application, for a very sepific sound - is there a lot of hope or technique other than pushing it hard through a L2 and hoping for best?

    I realise there is not one solution, just interested in getting general advice or direction.


  2. jase

    jase Guest

    Mastering for Electronica

    Hello Proof,
    I am a vinyl Mastering Engineer based in London and the majority of what i cut is ''electronica'' Over the years with trial and error you develop different techniques that enable you to occaisionally (when the audio production allows) get a loud cut unfortunatley there are not any bits of kit that will do everything, its a case of having enough experience,Tools and conviction to do the job. These things come in time. :)
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    It's all about technique to achieve what you want. You have develope something that works with the tools you have. One guy does it one way, the other another. But I can say there is not magic box that will do it. You really have to know what each piece excells at and use it, and then combine it all together.
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Jun 29, 2001
    Be certain to test your track in a club and see how it works with the compressors in the club. When I prepare for vinyl mastering, I usually don't hit them quite as hard as you describe...due to the fact that the vinyl will just get squashed again in the club.

    So complaints, plenty of ballsy bass power and tracks that climb the charts.
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