Typical Mastering Jobs/Technology

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by BarilkoLives, Aug 20, 2003.

  1. BarilkoLives

    BarilkoLives Guest

    I know from reading the forums here and from various conversations that Mastering is indeed an integral, albeit misunderstood, stage in producing a high quality LP. So in the spirit of demystification, I want to ask a few pointed questions, bearing in mind of course that any answers given may be subject to taste and producers'/artists' wishes.

    Rod Gervais said (in the "disappointed" topic here)
    While I'm not sure if this comparison is completely accurate, but it certainly gives me a better idea of where to start:

    1. How do the "brushes" of a mastering engineer differ from the "brushes" of a mixing engineer? Put another way, how are the tools different? For example, could I (if I were a mastering jedi) use the same compressor the mixing engineer used but in a different context?

    2. What are some of the typical jobs/tasks that have been done to make music "radio-friendly" for a typical rock act? A typical R&B act? If you still think this is too broad, then please give some details on what you have been asked to do. I know every project/artist is unique, but only to a certain point.... ;)

    3. What kind of challenges have developed in mastering music to SACD or other 5.1 formats? For example, the 30th Anniversary of Floyd's DSOTM. It was re-mastered (again) and the stereo version sounds great (I haven't actually heard the 5.1 version yet - no player :roll: ), but I don't know why it sounds great in a different way than the 20th Anniversary version.

    I know there's a lot to cover here, but please try your best, pick and choose, whatever you like, and I'll thank-you in advance for your time, knowledge and expertise.
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    Good questions.

    1) the difference in brushes. This is a really good question. I came up as a recording engineer and then a mix engineer and now a mastering engineer. I've used every kind of compressor and eq made. The main difference is attention to detail. One mastering compressor I use is a Weiss ds1-mkII. The amount of parameters you can adjust is a little time consuming. here are some to name a few.
    Attack, release delay, release fast, release slow, release average, soft knee, threshold, ratio, preview time, frequecy select, frequency Q, input gain, output gain, makeup gain, limiter. everything is 40 bit 96khz. These really allow you to tailor the compressor. Most recording and mixing compressors just have a few of these to adjust and they also tend to have a sound. Mastering gear is also designed for the highest quality of sound and their price tag reflects that. The same goes for eq's, limiters. Also the most important is the room. this is the main difference. there are some past threads that go into this a little more.

    These are 3 big questions so I'll break it up so I can get some work done.
  3. Rod Gervais

    Rod Gervais Distinguished Member

    Jun 8, 2003
    Central Village, CT
    Home Page:

    That's quite a piece of equipment, I'm pretty impressed with the Weiss gear - spent some time at their site........

    For anyone who's interested, here's a link to view the MK2:


    Happy Hunting

  4. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    321 West 44th Street Suite 1001
    Home Page:
    I'll take question #2

    Making music "radio Friendly"

    There is a certain dynamic range that works best with radio and for the most part the overall impact and listenability (that might be a new word) This combined with the proper eq and whatever other song by song edits, volume changes, noise reduction... give you the polished sound we all want.

    Now how the song comes to me determines what I do. If the song is a descent mix then a little comp may be perfect after the proper eq. I do most of my eq before the compressor. This is important! I want the eq great before the compressor hits it because it affects how the compressor will react. Then I fine tune the eq once I hear how it's working with the compressor. Sometimes a mix is to compressed to begin with. Obviously I won't compress it more. I will try some things to bring out the dynamics and bring a little more life to it.

    A lot of clients are surpassed sometimes how little compression will be needed once I have the EQ worked out. Having great compressors is invaluable. As far as what the client asks, they just want it to be great. My goal is to get it beyond there expectations.

    Different styles are approached with different thoughts. But the basic dynamic range I like it consistent (I think) regardless of the style. It's more about the song.
  5. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2002
    NYC New York
    Home Page:
    There are different challenges in mastering 5.1. For one, you can leave much more dynamic range and you don't have to work as hard to create depth of field and space. I thought this format would be the saving grace for dynamic range until I heard the new fleetwood mac 5.1 release. It's slammed from beginning to end. It's not very easy to listen to when 6 speakers are screaming at you.

    The remastered stereo versions sound better because I think ME's know more and the equipment is much better. A lot of the equipment ME's were using not so long ago were designed for analog mediums and they were mastering the same way they would for vinyl and cassette. Now there is equipment designed specifically for digital mediums and it's limitations. we'll see what happens in the next 10 years.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice