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Mastering Your Demo Reel.

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by kmetal, Sep 10, 2017.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
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    Without having made the retail market with any of my recordings I've done over the years, the mix demos I put online are essentially the only way potential clients are gonna hear my work.

    I'm planning on possibly re mixing some old stuff, and a couple new things, to make my demo reel for my upcoming launch (2019) of my music site and freelance business.

    My mentor (longtime pro) has worked on some albums that have been released on real labels (albeit smaller ones) and even worked w some names anyone would know. On the studio site however, these recordings are absent. And I feel that these sorta average sounding tracks are selling the studio short, since he does commercial level work, when working with that level talent and budget.

    So I got to thinking that in addition to the "as is" postings of each recording I've done, perhaps it's in my best interest to remix my demo reel, with my current level of tech and ability, as well as have them professionally mastered.

    In Hollywood, and in Video Games, the trailers are often spruced up, highlights, and better graphical renders.

    So is this cheating? I noticed some sample sets I bought have had the samples mastered at Sterling Sound. Which is my favorite place, since many records I own that sound noticeably better, happen to have been mastered there.

    On one hand it's not me mastering it, but on the other it is showing the full potential of my mixes, and the band's performances.

    I'd disclose where it was mastered.

    So is this a bad idea, or unethical. ? I would budget roughly 1-1.5k for this, with the intent of having 5 min or less of material to use for promotial and demo purposes for about 3 years.

    I would likely use either sterling, masterdisk, or peerless. Or something similar. And develop a working relationship with a more affordable mastering engineer(s) for general projects. I've not ever had any of my work mastered, and always finalized it myself with the usual stuff.

    I'd likely have one or two versions/formats done, then use Sonnox frauhaufer to do further renders in any necessary format, on my own.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
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    The goal of having a website and offering samples is to get customers to contact you.
    To me it is not cheating as if the customer work with you and send your work to mastering, they will potentially get the same quality.

    If it's bugging your conscience, you can advertise has it is. Recorded and mixed by KMetal, mastered by (ME)...

    A website is great way to have a profesionnal first impression, but why 2019 ?? Putting up a website isn't that long to do..
     
    kmetal and audiokid like this.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    Location:
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
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    As long as you are honest pal, and don't take credit for someone else's work, you're fine.
    I mean, if you were putting up files that were mastered at Sterling ( or wherever) and claiming that to be your own work, then yea, that's unenthical - but you already know that.
    OTOH there's nothing unethical about putting up your mixes - whether you did the mastering or another company did - and using the mixes as being representative of your work. Mastering - even the best in the business - cannot fix a bad mix, or polish it to the degree that it would "save" a poor mix. If you want to give credit to the Mastering facility and mention that they did the end polishing, then that's fine. But if you are showcasing your mixes, then do so.
    It's not as if you sent Sterling garbage and it came back suddenly perfect - because we know that's not possible.
    ;)
    D.
     
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  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
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    awsome! I'm probably gonna get the demo reel mastered for the sake of putting my best foot forward. I'm gonna need every competitive advantage I can get out there in the flood of online music work! Plus it's a good excuse to send out my work to a true ME. :) it should be a good learning experience and worth the money. I've got some old tapes to be transferred to so maybe I can get it all done at once.


    lol things tend to happen slowly or instantly over here in kmetal land. Realistically the site(s) should be up sometime in '18, but I figure I'll be conservative, and I want to do an official 'Launch' with ads in mags and hopefully even a couple writeups. I may pair it with some sort of thing related to the Studios I work out of too.

    More than anything I want to work out the ecommerce and file transfer bugs before i truly open. And I have to figure out what limitations and capabilities my system has as far as realtime remote.

    Lol better make that 2020....
     
    pcrecord likes this.
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    Location:
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
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    Some Pro M.E.s will provide print outs to show the various EQ moves they made ... I always found that helpful because it gave me a basic indication of what I was either shy or heavy on, on my end EQ wise, and whether or not I was being too heavy handdd or too loghtbon gain reduction... even learning which compressors worked best for certain circumstances.
    At the very least, a reputable ME will tell you what moves they made. Developing a working relationship with a pro ME happens over time, they get used to your mixing style and you learn to trust their ears in terms of their adjustments. For me, one of the biggest things, is an ME's willingness to respect the dynamic range... that one is a deal breaker for me...if an ME's sales pitch to me is that they are gonna make my master as loud as possible, that's a red flag - at least for me.
    LOUD does not equal "Great".
    I learned quite a bit from the ME's I've sent projects to over the years... Greg Calbi, Thomas Bethel, Steve Hebrock (Steve was both a multi track recording and mixing engineer and an ME) and others along the way. They all helped me to become better on my end in different ways.
    Of course, those were the days when clients had actual budgets to work with.
    Now, everyone wants to pay $5 per song and have a "drive thru" service do the "work".... which usually only equates to limiting the $*^t out of it. (Heavy sigh... ).
    I promise you pal, if you work with a pro ME, you'll benefit in more ways than just the sound of your final master. ;)
    FWIW
    -d.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Home Page:
    Good call D. It's an area of audio I have no experience with, so it seems like a good point to do so. Thomas Bethel is someone I've been interested in for a while as far as a skilled ME for general projects. The high end ME thing would be for this vanity project, and occasional use. It's funny how little I know about the true process.

    lol I got ozone, fabfilter, Sonnox, and L2, to try and compete w these drive thru Mastering places.

    Dynamic range is less of a concern for me, although becoming more important as my taste evolves.

    What I find is there's a certain sheen or edge to commercial masters that seem to make other 'regular' recordings like mine and my coworkers seem a little dull and small by comparison.

    I think EQ choice, and Summing is what has the effect on that, although comp/limiting can certainly shrink a mix.

    Gonna have to learn to mix to standards that ME's expect as far as headroom and dynamic range, and all that. There's been some good threads here on RO about that.
     
  7. lu432

    lu432 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2018
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale, Florida
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    What I find is there's a certain sheen or edge to commercial masters that seem to make other 'regular' recordings like mine and my coworkers seem a little dull and small by comparison.

    It has to do with room acoustics. If your mixing in a poorly treated room, your not going to be able to correct and optimize your mix so you get that "sheen" and that balanced mix. A lot of ME's like myself spend a lot of time and money getting an acoustician to design and treat our room, and to balance it out to our choice of speakers. There is a lot of material that you won't hear in a regular room, first because your only hearing the mixes utilizing near-field speakers, and second of all because the acoustics are designed to overcome large acoustical problems like a mixing console and lots of outboard gear. While a mastering room is designed to be an acoustic microscope to allow us to get the best possible performance, especially with full range monitoring. A lot of problems get fixed in the bottom and top register that do several things, like give us more head room, and allow us to remove resonant frequencies that are missed in other rooms by mix engineers.

    Of course the other reason your paying for mastering is for experience and a second set of ears. Before a release goes out, we serve more than just a polishing person. We are also the last person that can spot a digital over, or bleep, or some other artifact that may skirt by without a second pair of ears. A lot of rooms pride themselves in hear things that may cause people not to buy your record. Investing in professional mastering is always a good thing. Especially with people like Sterling Sound. Their amazing and have accumulated years of knowledge and experience. Good luck with your project man :)
     
  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

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