Mastering

onestone

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I have two questions.

1) Do you master your own stuff or send it out?

2) Do mastering companies specialise in a type of music?

I have three questions :huh:

3) How do you select the company?

If this has been discussed before, please point to the thread.
 
1) No, my ears, speakers and expertise are not up to the job. I've tried, but I just end up making a horrible mess...
2) Good question
3) Use whoever Twisted use if you can afford it!
 
onestone said:
I have two questions.

1) Do you master your own stuff or send it out?

I always give my mixes a little tweak here and there, but I used to work as a mastering engineer and so I know what NOT to do, and how far to go. The whole point of mastering [assuming you're not pressing to vinyl which is an entirely different kettle of monkeys..] is to run your mixes by a dispassionate third party who can bring them into focus and compensate for any deficiencies in your work that you may have overlooked due to being too close to it.

By the time you render your master to stereo, you have probably listened to your tune upwards of 200 times and your perspective is almost certainly a little skewed.


2) Do mastering companies specialise in a type of music?

Different mastering engineers will tend to excel in different types of music. The majority will have a bash at just about anything.

3) How do you select the company?

Look on the sleeve of a record you really like the sound of and see who mastered it. Alternatively, ask people who's judgement you trust to recommend somebody for you.

"Hallucinogen in Dub" was mastered at Abbey Road in about 2 hours. The guy took one listen and said "Sounds great - nothing I can add really." and encoded it to Exabyte.

"Blumenkraft" was mastered by a guy kcalled Kevin Metcalfe at "The Soundmasters" on a recommendation by Simon P - who is one of the few people whose ears I really rate.

It took 10 hours and cost £200 an hour [I wish I'd been in the office @ Twisted when that invoice came in...] and was worth every penny.

The first thing he said on hearing it was "Ahh yes - this is right up my street..." and he then proceeded to get stuck in as if I wasn't there - tweaking this and filtering that until he'd wrung the full potential out of every tune.

I laid on his comfy leather settee at the back of the room, smoking his weed and going "Fucking yeah..!" and "Not half mate!!" every time he looked round for approval. It was really very rewarding listening to him turning my rather good mixes into bloody excellent masters and I left a very happy client.

Two grand very well spent.
 
Psilocybo said:
Two grand????

No, the question is

TWO F*&%ING GRAND??????????? :o :o :o

F*&%, I know lawyers that charge less than that! I'd love to hear the original and the mastered result to see what a two grand difference will do.

Seriously Ott, thanks, that's great info. And in case any of you producers are starting to get worried about me being competition, I was asking on behalf of my son. I won't be ready for mastering for a couple of months :P

AlternateContinuum said:
1) No, my ears, speakers and expertise are not up to the job. I've tried, but I just end up making a horrible mess...

This raises more questions

ears - do these people have better hearing than the average bear?

speakers - do they master for the 60W home speaker or the 6kW venue?

expertise - is this expertise in music or the gear?

BTW AC I just got 2.5 :Smile3:
 
Erm... you might want to stop looking at the total, and pay more attention to this bit:

It took 10 hours and cost £200 an hour

@ a rate of £200/hr, I'd say £2000 was absolutely spot-on for 10 hours work.

now you can argue whether £200/hr is excessive if you want, but by the time you consider what a top-of-their-game freelancer/consultant type figure from ANY field will charge for their expertise it doesnt sound bad to me. Especially considering that here you're not only paying for the expertise, but also the use of their acoustic space and seriously expensive equipment :Smile3:
 
i'm obviously not as qualified to answer as Ott, but I cant sleep ( :no: ) so I'll answer anyway

onestone said:
ears - do these people have better hearing than the average bear?

perhaps/possibly/probably.

better trained hearing? yes.

speakers - do they master for the 60W home speaker or the 6kW venue?

I imagine they can err to what you ask. ie if you say "this is intended for the clubs, make it sound awesome on a 6kW venue, i dont give a crap about home setups", thats what they do. and vice versa. Mind you, even then I'm sure they'd make it pretty decent on t'other, as whether you have a clear preference or not part of their expertise is making it sound pretty good on anything, I image.

expertise - is this expertise in music or the gear?

er, both, quite obviously? :unsure:

what would be the point in being an expert with their gear if they didnt know how to get musically worthwhile results?

what would be the point of being an expert in musically brilliant result if they didnt know how to use their gear to get there?

although for "music", perhaps better off reading "sound". Whether or not they will be able to tell a plagal cadence from an interrupted is anybody's guess -- but they'll have great experience/abilities in terms of frequency content, dynamics, the oh-so-tricksy mixture of the two, and what all that needs to do to best show off what the composer (et al) have created.
 
Kevin Metcalfe did some of our mastering when he was working at the Townhouse, as did a bloke called Frank Arkwright and I remember being very impressed with both their work. Unfortunately my memory fails to identify exactly which was which, and so I can no longer recall who it was that took 5 hours to master one 12" or who did the whole job in an hour and a half... but both men certainly knew their onions.

On a related note, I've just been asked to master someone's 12" for a vinyl release, and got the pre-masters in the post today. Apparently they're a fan of the Voice of Cod sound :cool: Despite my insisting I don't have experience mastering for vinyl they still want me to do it, so I've been Googling like crazy for vinyl mastering tips! :?
 
:goodthre: :Smile3:

I always give my mixes a little tweak here and there, but I used to work as a mastering engineer and so I know what NOT to do...

Sorry slightly O/T but out of interest how did u get into that line of work ? Its something Im v.interested in and have been reading up on a lot lately but am quite intrigued as how you find your way into it etc and how you train ur ear up to that level without loosing your hearing :Wink3:


peace,
marc
 
Colin OOOD said:
so I've been Googling like crazy for vinyl mastering tips! :?

Here's one:
keep your subs in mono!

:tongue1:

good luck :P
 
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