Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Mastering

studiosound

New member
For Mastering, we run into two common mixing issues that I’d like to touch on. 1. If in doubt mix cymbals lower rather than higher. They’ll come up in the mastering process and it’s hard to work with them properly if they’re mixed to loud. 1. De-ess the vocals. Sibilance can be difficult to work with if it’s not reasonably addressed in the mixing stage.
 

nirospring

New member
I'm sure I'm in the minority on this thread, but I think that mastering is a thing of the past. It is a great luxury if you can afford it because it gives you that last set of ears and one final chance to fix any problems. However, a great part of the mastering engineer's job has always been to make sure that a CD sounds coherent in its sonic qualities and to fix spaces in between songs. The CD is a thing of the past, and most music is listened to as singles in a shuffled playlist. The major record labels are slowly fading away, and artists are stepping more and more into the role of recording engineer/mixer. Today there is more music coming out than ever before, and most of this is coming out on a low budget. This budget is likely to be spent on a mixer who can also master.
 
I'm sure I'm in the minority on this thread, but I think that mastering is a thing of the past. It is a great luxury if you can afford it because it gives you that last set of ears and one final chance to fix any problems. However, a great part of the mastering engineer's job has always been to make sure that a CD sounds coherent in its sonic qualities and to fix spaces in between songs. The CD is a thing of the past, and most music is listened to as singles in a shuffled playlist. The major record labels are slowly fading away, and artists are stepping more and more into the role of recording engineer/mixer. Today there is more music coming out than ever before, and most of this is coming out on a low budget. This budget is likely to be spent on a mixer who can also master.

It is important to note that most artists (certainly not all) do not have the patience or the skill set necessary to properly record their material. Furthermore, the separation between the artist and the engineer allows the artist to focus on his or her art, leaving the rather technical side of recording to the engineer. Finally, as Massive stated, mixing and mastering are not the same, and the skills necessary to be truly exceptional at either do not have as much overlap as most artists think.

That said, if people continue to care less and less about the audio quality of the music they listen to, who gives a shit if it was well-recorded in the first place I guess...
 

masteringhouse

www.masteringhouse.com
Today there is more music coming out than ever before, and most of this is coming out on a low budget. This budget is likely to be spent on a mixer who can also master.

For a large majority of music coming out this is true. Many albums are being done on a low budget with inexperienced people behind the board. This is often more of a reason to get a pro involved if you're serious about your music, to make it sound better than the tons of other albums out there and compete with other albums done at pro studios.

That's not to say that some great music or albums can't come from a home based studio, there are many examples of this. The main role of mastering is a quality control step. If your monitors or room aren't up to pro standards you could be missing a lot of information or have a skewed perspective that would make your recording less than they could be. Mastering with an engineer that isn't part of the recording or mixing process also brings a new perspective to the project. If there are balance issues that might have been missed due to issues with the mixing room, or being too close to a project, a pro ME will be in a better position to help correct those problems than the same person in the same room who mixed that may be repeating the same mistakes across the album. I would estimate that at least 50% of the work that I do is correcting these types of issues as I often see the same sort of frequency balance problems consistently across several tracks for a single project (e.g. sub frequencies that sound overly prominent but were missed due to mixing on nearfields, sibilance issues, etc.). It doesn't matter if it's released as an album or several singles, the problem(s) are still there in the tracks.

As I've seen some others post here, if the mix engineer feels that he did his job to the best of his ability it should not require any further mastering other than burning a disc. It's a good idea to have an impartial third party review (similar to a book editor) to help ensure that the final product is the absolute best that it can be.
 
Which of the meat and potatoes in the answer to the first question did not satisfy your appetite? Here's what I read:Now, that pretty much covers an accurate and fairly complete description of mastering, and right in the answer to the the first question in the article. Where are you still left wanting?

I think he got the beans above the frank
 

Red Mastering

New member
absolutely agree what Tom said,
even if you can't afford a ME - instead of 'mastering' it yourself - take mix to your friend with studio and let her/him do quality control and checkup at his/her place,
I understand ppl trying to approach 'home' mastering as home recording and mixing,
but as Tom mentioned -'Mastering with an engineer that isn't part of the recording or mixing process also brings a new perspective to the project' - it's a high value brought to the project by experienced engineer and it's difficult to substitute it
 

SafeandSound

New member
I think it depends what level people are working at, generally people know if their music stands up to commercially released material or not, in terms of mix quality before mastering has been performed. If the mix sucks the mastering will slightly enhance a mix that sucks. There is some merit is playing it on another friends system if they have a studio and if they are a fairly competent mixer, otherwise it might just be the blind leading the blind. If the music has a value you will get a professional involved, it really is as easy as that. Professional mastering these days is not necessarily costly and easily within budget of a home studio operator. I only wish when I started producing music in my home studio 20+ years ago I had the mix appraisal / online mastering options that are now available. What you can learn and receive now through employing a pro is pretty darn incredible.

cheers

SafeandSound Mastering
mastering dance music
 

jaynm26

New member
To Mastering Engrs what are your top 5 mastering software, in relations to samplitude, matrix, etc.!! I dought any of you use mastering software such as waveburner? lol
 

Massive Master

www.massivemastering.com
I use Samplitude, but the software is about the least important part of the whole rig. It's more workflow than anything.
 

jaynm26

New member
Bad mix good mastering can fix, but I have seen cases where bad mixing/recording and the mastering engr couldnt work with it. Im with Tom all the way "IF YOUR SERIOUS BOUT YOUR MUSIC GET A PRO INVOLVED" best ignored advice on the planet.
 

jaynm26

New member
I'm sure I'm in the minority on this thread, but I think that mastering is a thing of the past./QUOTE]

Um? I totally disagree most dont have the knowledge and experience, most dont even know or have the means to complete simple task Q sheets, adding CD Red Book text format, adding ISRC codes, Bar Codes, DDP image, Copyright info. I know some Mastering Engrs probably think this is not a huge deal cuz they work with this info on a daily basis but trust me most have NO CLUE what this stuff is. Not to mention all of the complex task. You are as serious as your music so if your music is a joke cuz you have not invested time and money into a Mastering Engr...well
 
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