Tuesday, June 7

Let's Talk Mastering


Last week week we did a blog post about how to get more attention on Jango. One of the topics, mastering, was what most of you discussed in the comments so we decided to explore that a bit further.

Mastering used to be a mysterious alchemical trade left only in the hands of a few seasoned professionals. Especially in the days of vinyl (see picture) when a mastering engineer would also have to calculate time/volume ratios, eq frequencies that could cause skipping and tame sibilant sounds (s, t, f) that would hiss through a bad vinyl reproduction.

Today a lot of basic mastering can be done at home with some simple software and a good laptop. There is much that can be done to make your song 'Radio Ready' with the tweaking of a few knobs so we figured we'd share some programs with you that we think are good in today's market. But, if you're going to cut some wax, we'd still suggest seeking out a professional.

On the low end cost wise there's the iZotope Ozone coming in at about $200. The Sonalksis Mastering Suite is a medium priced option at $600 and Waves audio plugins and bundles can set you back thousands. This all looks pretty good since getting an engineer to master your tracks for you will cost anywhere from $50 - $200 per track, so in the long run you could save a nice bit of cash. But, if you're going to cut some wax, we'd still suggest seeking out a professional.

These are our quick picks...but what do you have to say? What's your favorite software for mastering? Or do you use the pros, and if so, who?

Let us know in the comments.

55 comments:

Little said...

I use all of the software brands you mentioned, and I also create my own VST plug-ins, as well as make ones that combine several of the production suite VSTs together.

I recently had made a flub -- I was in such a hurry to release my EP and release it into airplay that I had rushed through my testing phase. I didn't test across as many platforms as I should have, and I didn't listen to my songs on earbud headphones. I just trusted my test market fanbase and the 10 different stereo systems I tested on. I should have tested on earbuds (considering how popular they are!)

So imagine my shock when I recently did listen to my pieces on them and heard almost grating pain from sibilants and certain notes! I had to re-master (again) and re-upload (again). It was a royal pain in the patookas!

Instead of recommending or mentioning a software or hardware setup, I'll only add this advice: Remember to never rush a release without testing across as many platforms as possible! (On a side note, I just readjusted the 8Khz ranges to fix the problems. I went ahead and did some other minor adjustments, while I was at it.)

Anonymous said...

Great advice

smoove atl said...

i myself use the waves mercury bundle and the izotope stuff like nectar and ozone but honestly the waves L3 and ozone 4 works as far as getting the music to a competitive level but really the key in my opinion is a good mix always helps to get a good master because mastering is only the level adjustment of songs getting them to the loudest point with out distortion or peaking

Brian Hazard said...

It's not about software. You need a pro with a fresh set of ears, who has put in the required 10K hours to master their trade. Professional mastering will more than pay for itself in the long run, even if you're "just" making mp3s.

Anonymous said...

My tip for mastering on a budget: make friends with a mastering engineer and offer to take them out to dinner in exchange for mastering your album during downtime at the mastering studio they work at :)

Mark Boucher said...

I find mastering is a lot like recording, the less you do the better. About 20 years ago I was up to 16 track on half inch tape. I was a product of the times, and used every black box I could to improve my sound. Then one day pulled down an old eight track master, it was raw, before any effects. To my surprise it was better sounding than any of the production I spent weeks mixing. So now when I master, I always compare the headroom on my meters to "Beatles" music, usually "Abbey Road". Resist the temptation to squash the crap out of the music... Mark Boucher

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Boucher. Get the mixes as sweet as you can to start with. Then ONLY use what you need in the mastering process. You will have better tone!

youchillmusic said...

I think I started some of the heat on the original thread, I did put some perspective on it - but I'll say it again.

Category 1: If you are a band or musician aspiring towards a commerical release of FINISHED material there is *absolutely no substitute for professional mastering*. It's not just about RMS.

Category 2: If you are a band or musician trying to test out roughs to gauge listener reaction on UNFINISHED material to hone in on what will become your FINISHED material - I think it's wise to get the RMS of your tracks up to where YOUR tracks aren't percieved to be 50% lower in volume than the surrounding tracks. At this stage of the game it makes no sense (financially) to have your roughs professionally mastered.

If you fall into category 2 - there are tools available to increase the average RMS of your tracks but you *STILL* have to know how to use them. Little makes a perfect comment - even if you know what you are doing the misapplication can cause PAIN to listeners depending on what they are listening on - and the only thing you will get from causing physical PAIN to listeners is dislikes, no matter how good your stuff is.

REG X said...

For the past 7 years I used a digital recorder and plug everything into that.When I was finish mastering I download the song to wavelab essential6 on my PC and completed my final Master Product. Only problem is recording from amp to digital recorder you get background noise,hum,etc...Buying mixer and direct box and devices cut out the noise.This is somewhat OLD SCHOOL!!!! But you a more LIVE sound.

Anonymous said...

Advise from Sound Engineer:

Do not f**k around with Mastering. It is extremely easy to screw a REALLY GOOD MIX during Mastering stage. I had my REALLY GOOD MIX screwed up by a cheap Mastering Engineer once. Basically, how does one become a Mastering Engineer? As my profs said - after 10 years of continuous work as a Sound Engineer. And even then you need to have a pair of good ears.
So, just keep in mind that the most expensive mastering is priced at around $500 for a track. But oh boy it will sound sick and clear! If you think a track might become a hit, do not hesitate to spend for good mix and mastering!

Tom Jones said...

If you are serious about your recording project and you want to get the maximum fidelity possible take it to a professional. It is so much more than adjusting EQ and getting all of the volumes the same. If you ever get a chance to watch a true Mastering Engineer at work in a studio built specifically for mastering you will see and hear the importance. If you are a do it yourselfer you can enhance your recording with these programs but unless you are really, really good there is no comparison to having it professionally mastered.

Tony Meade said...

I know nowadays that everyone wants to do everything on their own, including me, but there are still a few things that I would rather leave to others.

I mixed my last CD myself, and as much as I liked the mixes, I didn't want to master them myself for two reasons:

One - I was too involved in the process to be objective about the mastering process.

Two - Mastering is a very specialized field of audio, like audio-for-film for instance, and to be done properly requires a very specific set of skills and equipment.

That said, I found a place to get my CD mastered for relatively low cost, but very good quality workmanship, called Channel Fuse Media. I don't know if anyone else has had experience with them, but my experience was awesome. Very good work, quick turnaround, very professional, and definitely a good bang for the buck.

Here's the URL: http://www.channelfusemedia.com/

Hope this is a help to someone.

youchillmusic said...

Mark Boucher makes an excellent point, especially since I am a HUGE Beatles fan.

They compressed and limited the living shit out of individual instruments (think drums and cymbal swooshes on Tomorrow Never Knows from Revolver or the piano on Let it Be) - but the overall RMS of the tracks is extremely tame by todays standards.

All you have to do to see this in action is to pull up a waveform of a Beatles track side by side with *any* modern mix in an editing tool.

So when I am in the comfort of my living room listening to the Beatles on my stereo I simply turn up the volume to compensate.

On the other hand - if my track is sitting in a playlist of other artists, and my track has a perceived volume 50% less than other songs - it can be irritating to listeners. Think about driving along in your car listening to radio and having to adjust the volume every time a new song plays...

I've rambled enough for now.....

Elianmusica said...

The whole world has illusion in the art, the letter and the poetry., like that like in the music. I am A Singer who writes his own songs of the kind pop, rock and romantically., my web site is www.elianmusica.com.
Regards

Anonymous said...

Every comment was a huge eye opener for me.Jango please keep useful information like this coming. It is greatly appreciated..

OTL - cellartapes said...

i read something about reverse compression...?? what is that for?

johnwilliamduke said...

What if someone offered unlimited mastering for a flat monthly rate? ... Shoot an email to studio@soundops.com for details :)

Great thread btw - cheers!

Anonymous said...

All this technical stuff...I record all of my music on a piece of $70.00 software - Mixcraft 4.5. I have never gotten a negative comment on the quality of the sound itself. Many positive comments on the quality of the music itself, however.....

midipiano said...

I own the whole suite of Waves plugins, and they indeed are great, but lately I've been using IK Multimedia Tracks3. Just outstanding and lots less money

Gentoo said...

In response to Tony Meade: I too have used ChannelFuse media before and they do a pretty good job at a reasonable price. In fact, the price is so reasonable that I thought it might be one of those fake studios that's really a kid with hacked waves pluggins. The address itself is at a UPS store in Memphis TN.

Anyway, they took some pretty crappy mixes I had and made them sound pretty decent. I didn't have monitors at the time. Now that I do, I am doing my own mastering as I can no longer afford to send my mixes out. Cubase is my prefered set up as most of the VST's for it are excellent. I like Cubase's multiband compressor because it gives you 4 bands rather than just 3. I've discovered the real trick to really getting mixes sounding good occurs in the multiband compressor. For example, too much sibilance is often better tamed by adjusting the high end in the MBC rather than the EQ. Here's the trick I personally use to tame trebble, set the threshold somewhere near -30. The exact setting will vary from song to song. Ratio somewhere between 1.3 and 1.8. Set a slow attack time but a fast release time. Attack time will be the most variable in most instances.

Gentoo said...

Oh to continue with channelfuse, I found their communication to be somewhat lacking. Most mastering houses will contact especially if there's an error in the track before mastering it. I has a music drop-out in a single once and the simply sent it back without checking to see if it was supposed to be there (which was so obviously a mistake). It's also very difficult to get a hold of anyone and when leaving messages, they never return calls.

youchill said...

Anonymous said...
"All this technical stuff..."

Another well made/perfect point - all the mixing and mastering in the world isn't going to help a song that doesn't have legs. If your songs hold up and generate positive feedback on Jango, and you are happy with the results then there is no problem.

Ian said...

You need to be realistic about where your precious tunes are going to end up. I've paid good money for high quality mastering of past albums and have NEVER ever had a return on that 'investment'. Unless you seriously expect a high level of sales (CD/Downloads)the cost of pro-mastering will never likely pay for itself in the long run despite what others may have you believe. Do the maths.

You would only therefore spend that kind of money for your own gratification.

And don't be fooled into thinking pro-mastering is essential if you are to have any chance of commercial radio airplay or increased sales. I have already disproven this common misnomer.

While I'm not dismissing the merits of have mastering done by an independent set of ears with the necessary tools and skills, the truth is pro-mastering is a luxury for most, an expense that many are probably unable to justify given the real-world realities. My advice is for the average DIY'er to learn to do the basics themselves unless they really expecting to sell 100's of CD's and digital downloads.

Jimmi RITZ Reitzler said...

Mixing is a Big Can of Worms.If your paying for every thing your self and you mix your music the way you want then send it to a CD or Record plant to be put on CD or Record-A,They will try to charge you to mix again or-B,They will mix how they think it should sound any way.And some sites will remix what ever you up load on there site.Just do it your self as much as you can and HOPE...Remember the Beatles had George Martin Over seeing every thing.Jimmi

James Michaels said...

The best way to make a kick-as CD from beginning to end (60 - 74 min) is to spontaneously and consciously record 4 - 6 full length uninhibited productions and then pick-and-choose the best for the final product. After that they will come easier and you can even revert to previous material to match new concepts. Also, these days you must put it to video (goes with the new territory). Being able to perform most of the songs of those that have influenced you validates your professionalism. Recording a cover of a great song relavent to you concept is a big plus. It ties things into history. Image is important, but is secondary and should flow naturally. Character and developed talent is more important. Good Luck!

youchill said...

Wow - so many great posts! I like the quote from Ian

"My advice is for the average DIY'er to learn to do the basics themselves unless they really expecting to sell 100's of CD's and digital downloads. "

If you are expecting to sell 100's of CD's then there is no way in the world that professional mastering will be worth the cost. Good point!

Anonymous said...

It's all in the recording and the mixing. If those two items are at 100%, then professional mastering will definitely help. I just wanted to say, pro mastering does not need to be expensive. I paid Channel Fuse Media to master my project online. The mastering did exactly what I hoped it would do. The CD sounds so awesome! I cranked it up and the songs hold tight. Really a good investment. Here is a link www.channelfusemedia.com

Spartacus Jones said...

Interesting comments.

Me, I'm not very high-tech.
I write songs. I sing a little. I can arrange some.
When I need a drummer, I hire the best one I can get. When I need a pianist, I hire the best one I can get.
For me, mastering is no time for amateur hour.
I've always found it well worth it to hire a pro, and I go to a guy who has decades of experience and a great set of ears besides. (One of his projects recently won a grammy) He has good musical taste and knows when something is working -- or isn't -- and isn't afraid to say so.

I pay about $60 an hour for mixing and he can generally knock out a whole tune in an hour, maybe 2, though we have spent more time on a couple of things.

I might tackle a rough mix, but when it comes to making it sweet and complete, he's the Man.

But here's the thing. When I do a tune, I'm not thinking about how much it's going to cost or how many CD's I'm going to sell. I do music because I can't NOT do it and what matters to me is that I do a good job, make it come out "right," even if I don't make a dime.


sj

Ras HP said...

Yes I I'm Ras HP I think so it's a very good thing to give us options to make mastering cause it's very important for the quality of our music please can u give us more informations about the mastering in Jango airplay?

Anonymous said...

Mastering....mmmm..a very sticky subject for those of us with limited budgets but a huge amount of desire and heart.We are happy with the way our homegrown tunes sound with just using Abelton and Cubase.Once you realize the best way to get it to sound the way you want is to record most tracks dry(no reverb etc.)then add your effects to each track as you mix down and master.It takes awile,but the results are very good.Listen to our stuff and judge for yourselves.Rock on!----Ron-3 Card Stud

Mekaal Hasan said...

Mastering is entirely dependent on how well the audio is mixed, since mastering involves making adjustments to the stereo wave file and individual tracks cannot be adjusted. It is a good idea to APPROXIMATE a volume level by applying a mastering compressor (btw Timeworks Mastering Compressor is to my ears, far nicer than L2 )so the mastering engineer knows what levels you are looking for, but this is a job best left to a professional who has an objective view on the mix.

Anonymous said...

I MASTER PROGRESSIVELY....what i do is build my track form the ground up adjusting volume levels and adding eq's as i progress.Keep my bass in the lower sub frequencys mids for vocals leads strings either low or high hats high snare in between high and mid.Its all by ear i add compression using mpl1 pro and then limit using maxim.It just takes a good ear and patience.

Anonymous said...

IF you do mix and mastering yourself have a comparrison track you want it to sound like for reference try and get it as close to that track as possible and work with what sounds best to you people have oppinions listen yes but find out what works best for you.My work partner and I have started making waves in the industry of late with arrangements and mixes for high profile artists and we have learned you can mix in the box (in the computer with software) or out of the box (with dedicated hardware) and get simalar and great results with both. It has taken us a few years however to get it to the level we are at presently at and I would say this GOOD MONITORS MAKE GOOD SOUND SENSE

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know about ISRC ? (International Standard Recording Code)We had our album mastered and then reproduced and found out that when it was mastered it was done with NO code embedded on it... Are we able to get this done after everything else that has been done? Can we get a program that is able to do this?

Rolanoid said...

Lately I'm in love with the Fab Filter Pro-L but I would always choose a good professional mastering engineer over DIY especially if you don't have treated room acoustics.

Anonymous said...

I'm a pianist/keyboardist composer and arranger, I always love to produce my tracks from A-Z. In my personal point of view all rules of recording, mixing and mastering are relative, depending on the type of music u r producing and the message u wanna deliver through it..There is a few solid a,b,c basics that guarantee ur track to be "heard fine" between others', but almost ALL other details are related to personal experience, taste and ears !

Joey Ricciardo said...

It's very simple. Joey Ricciardo at DeepScope Studio in New Orleans will master your tracks for $40 per song and you'll sound fantastic. In case you're wondering, yes I am Joey and you can hear what I can do for you by listening to the song "Bet Your Life" by Joseph Anthony Ricciardo right here on Jango.

Or you can visit http://www.deepscoperecords.com/deepscopeweb_003.htm to hear more songs.

Call (504) 301-8483

State of Mind said...

While I'm a great fan of IK's T-Racks, I always hire a professional engineer for mastering. Once you hear what an experienced pro can do, I'm sure you'll agree that it's worth every penny (unless, of course, you're an engineer yourself as well as a musician).

For listening to my own premixes, I used to apply one of T-Racks' default mastering settings (and then bypass it before bringing it to the mastering session) - the idea being some sort of "simulated" mastering.

But now I've gone back to always listening to the raw mixes (painful as they may be). The closer you can get to the desired result before mastering, the less tweaking you'll need - and the better the end product will be.

And check out various engineers - after tryng a couple, I've ended up with one of the top guys in my country (Denmark). He also happens to be a fast worker (which keeps the price reasonable) - and furthermore, he gives helpful advice on what I might consider doing differently in my next mix.

Little said...

@Mark Boucher:

Unfortunately, we live in a time where tracks are squashed more than any decade I can think of. It's as if the "East Coast Sound" got completely out of control. As an example, listen to La Roux and Lady Gaga right after Pink Floyd. You will probably have to turn the volume down in order to not bust your eardrums! For instance: Tears For Fears' "Shout" only had two points where Jerry Marotta's Drums clipped the signal, Lady Gaga's "Pokerface" clips the signal every time the bass drum hits. Perhaps you should master for your target audience. If you're in a band that does Beatlesque stuff then your mixing techniques will go a long way for you. (I do, however, miss my old 4 and 8 track days, sometimes...)

@OTL - cellartapes:
That's called "expansion". It's made to exaggerate the dynamic effect of a sound. If used correctly with compression, smoothing, dithering and re sampling it can actually give you the illusion of a better fidelity system.

@Ian:
I have to agree with you, somewhat. Having studied mixing engineers and engineering, the one thing I can state is that half of them disagree with the other half as to what makes a great sound. Even the experts in the field aren't all science geeks. I've been involved with the field for nearly twenty years and there is more hot air mixed in with raw talent than you'd believe. Even the most low end commercial jingle engineer has a tendency to have the ego of a rock star, and yet if you mention ambisonic formulas or otherwise, they are many times lost. Many, many of these guys found something that worked for them within their era, and are unwilling to embrace new technology. It's unfortunate. If one would listen to Boston's early albums, or many of Led Zepplin's with the knowledge that these guys were using reel to reel four tracks with almost no effects (Boston's first album had most of the tracks from Tom Scholz's original garage demo on it -- unchanged!) then perhaps they'd realize that the technology now days is absolutely incredible. Most mixing engineers are actually realizing that all their money spent on equipment in the nineties is wasted, and many are trying to cut their losses by claiming that Computer tech isn't as good, despite that now many of the same components are in rack mount units that are in computers. (Sorry, after a point, a waveform is a waveform, no matter how it is generated.) Even Thomas Dolby came out and said that digital VSTs and Dxis are just as good sounding as his original equipment -- AND they don't freak out and go out of tune like the originals do!

So... don't believe the "experts" who will try and milk you for money. Look for someone who has the ability, the time, and more importantly, the ear to help you (and if they can, help train you) with mixing. Think for yourself and study all the techniques you can find, but just remember that some of the greatest just come up with stuff off the top of their heads. (Like that famous "Snare Sound" from Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean" was made by placing a piece of wood behind the snare to reflect the signal when the mic was aimed at it. Or Led Zepplin's famous "wide snare" was actually a mess up by their engineer! It was double tracked by accident, and he was doing 4 to 4 mixdowns, so by the time he caught it, it was too late!)

Sorry if I've insulted anyone, and I don't mean to come off as condescending. I just really geek out on the engineering aspect of mixing!

Mobile Media Mastering said...

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BEAT MASTER TROY said...

I use adobe audition 3, and fl studio 8, for my pre-mastering. It works for me. Most of my music has been mastered with magix music maker premium versions 15 & 16, the mastering suite plug in, comes with it. And my download sales have been very good.

BEAT MASTER TROY said...

Oh the thing that I left out, is that I doing all my recording, mixing, editing, engineering, and mastering with sony's 7506 headphones. They're cheap, and they have been the best headphones since the early 90's. If you got good hearing, everything can be done in headphones. You don't need too spend a lot of money on monitors, that is a myth. Don't believe the hype. Believe your ears. You can do it all on your desk top, or your good laptop. Make sure you have a lot of ram. You will need it speed, because wave files take up a lot of space. At least 4gbytes or more.

Scottie Eades said...

I used T-Racks after recording tracks for my CD using sonar home studio XL. The wave files were 24 bit. It worked really well. The thing to remember is to listen objectively and on many different systems. also listen at different volume levels. Your ears get biased and fatigued after awhile so don't try to do it all at once. Take notes as you listen and analyze every instrument and the overall. I'm not a pro, but I think the tracks came out pretty good. Of course the listeners have the final say. :)

Anonymous said...

@Little- I agree.

While ambisonic formulas etc. apply, every situation is different- When I'm mastering classical music or for cinema, it's obviously an entirely different process than if I'm working on an electronica mix.

Mixing for your audience is critical. DIYs should keep this in mind.

My advise to any amateur engineer is 'keep it simple'. A moderate compression on the mid section and bass many times makes all the difference in the world.

Always be open to revision and never be afraid to start over. Whatever you do, don't over-mix and squeeze the livin' daylights out of it!

That's all.

Justin David Myers said...

"mastering -- i got board with it, so im just chillin tell i get the photo shoots done, ill get to that in a few, its just how i am,"" check me out on jango.com I'M Point One"JMyers/Capone DubEntertainment

Anonymous said...

Mastering? If you are serious about your career, save up and work with Masterdisk, Bob Ludwig or BGM.. We (First You Get The Sugar) worked with Andy VanDette at Masterdisk. Worth every penny !!

Anthony Richardson said...

The IZotobe Ozone has been my choice of tool for mastering at home, saturated highs and mids gives you all of your sounds crisp and you can adjust in more lows, mids and highs as you go, I suggest listening to a professional mastered Cd and duplicate it , soon you will be a master at mastering. Anthony nustarrmusic.com opening soon upload and sell your music with no fees at all from your single or full Cd sales for $40 per mth this is created for the artist who are on budget trying to make it and can't afford the professionals, here you can sell and be heard by the world as you grow promote because you are your own record company on nustarrmusic.com, it is suggested that you put the best recordings up as possible as many will hear and judge your quality of music, you can see and hear my work all mastered by ozone there and here on jango.com/music/anthony+richardson

Taylor Sappe said...

I have been using Cubase for all of my editing, mixing and mastering. I usually run the mix through a 31 band spectrum analyzer to see what frequencies are out of balance. Then I can use parametric EQ to make adjustments to those frequencies. Once I get all of my frequencies in balance, I will insert a compressor into the output channel and give it just enough to get the levels up to maximum without losing too much dynamic range. For the heavier stuff I like to leave about 3 db of headroom with soft clipping, then normalize the finished product to 0 db.

Mark Boucher said...

@ Little And @ Ian,
I enjoyed your comments thanks for the feed back. I love audio and how a good song makes me feel, regardless of the quality of the cut. I guess that comes from growing up when (some) record were listed as "Stereo", we thought 8-tracks were neat and a killer system was called a counsel and was about five foot long. Has any one every noticed the "tape bleed thru" on Zeppelin cuts, like "Hole Lotta Love? Also I love the "Amp Hum" you can hear on the start of Some of the Grand Funk songs, from the album with "I'm your Captain". Mark

Another LONG Year said...

I mastered my first two Albums myself with Adobe Audition 3.0, and I did a reasonably good job. However, my new Album is being mastered Professionally, and I was AMAZED at the difference. Trust me, it is worth the money spent. My Engineer is Jeff Monroe at Song Mastering dotcom, and he is great to work with, and the prices are VERY affordable.

http://songmastering.com/

vociferous said...

Because of the ogoing trend to make masters louder and louder, most maters released since 2001 are so hypercompressed that they truly sound horrible. Dynamic range in music is being completely lost. About 10 years ago I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the legendary mastering engineer Doug Sax (who mastered Pink Floyd's The Wall and many many other amazing recordings) and learn a thing or two about mastering from him.. Even back then we spoke aboput the issue of overuse of limiting but I know Doug would be disgusted by what has happened since... For example the latest Justin Beeber record is louder and less dynamic than the last Metalica album... If you really want your maters to sound awesome do yourself a big favor... Check out the video @ this URL
http://www.pleasurizemusic.com/
Download their free Dymanic Range Meter and learn how to use it and keep a DR rating of 8 or better on your mixes and masters.
Cheers
Rokk Lattanzio
Vociferous Music

Anonymous said...

I tried Song Mastering dotcom once and it was horrible. The kid is clearly an amateur using pirated plugs on a computer. Don't waste your money.

Mark Boucher said...

I guess everyone is all talked out. I was wating to see is any one would reply to my comment about the "Amp Hum" on an old "Grand Funk" record, you can hear it before One of the song's on I'm your Captian".Also "pre-echo" due to tape bled on "Led Zep's, Whole Lotta a Love".
The "snap, crackle and pop" still talks to me... Mark b.

Rick said...

Has anyone tried http://handsomegrandson.com for cheap mastering? I haven't been able to find many reviews but their site seem pretty legit. Any information would be great thanks!

Emcee N.I.C.E. said...

There are so many ways to go about mastering but at the end of the day, it's the final product.
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You have to ask yourself when putting out a record, "Do I want to put out the best possible sounding record I can? So that you may have a legitimate shot at radio" If so... then let the Pro's do it, find and or spend the money to make your record sound the best it can so that 1. It's competitive with the major artist that are out there and 2. It's done right.
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There is no worse feeling than having a good/great record and cheesy mastering screws it up and then you miss the boat and have to go back and do it all over again.
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I just recently went to Bernie Grundmans in L.A. and Brian "Big Bass" gave me an awsome sounding record to the point where Radio PD's and MD's are ready to play it because it sounds good.
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Don't cheat your sound!