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Mixes that haven't needed mastering?
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Jonathan Race
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19th December 2010
Old 19th December 2010
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Mixes that haven't needed mastering?

I always hear about how sometimes every one in a while the mix is to a certain point that it doesn't need any mastering and will be sent back to the client as is with the thumbs up approval of the ME

I was just wondering if anyone knows of any instances of this for any major releases I would know of? or if it has happened to you before?
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19th December 2010
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Even if no processing took place, someone still made that decision, cleaned up the heads & tails, levelled it and prepared it for duplication.

In other words, did the mastering.
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19th December 2010
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Yeah it's happened with me a small number of times.

While there are almost always a few cosmetic changes I would make for my own 'personal' tastes, there has definitely been a few occasions with 1 or 2 track digi-releases where I have simply written back to the client to say "These sound great and are really not worth messing with."

They generally appreciate the honesty, I don't charge unless I actually need to produce a physical master, and I find this gets me more work from those labels rather than less.
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19th December 2010
Old 19th December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Race View Post
I always hear about how sometimes every one in a while the mix is to a certain point that it doesn't need any mastering and will be sent back to the client as is with the thumbs up approval of the ME

I was just wondering if anyone knows of any instances of this for any major releases I would know of? or if it has happened to you before?
You have to understand that there are always mixes that don't need mastering, but that get mastered anyway.

Sometimes a mastering engineer is lined up before the record is mixed, or even before its tracked.
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19th December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editronmaximon View Post
You have to understand that there are always mixes that don't need mastering, but that get mastered anyway.

Sometimes a mastering engineer is lined up before the record is mixed, or even before its tracked.
It's pretty simple!

If it's going on an album that more than one mix eng has worked on, it's gonna need some matching up!

Even if the track doesn't get touched sonically?
(Which it won't here if it doesn't need it)

It's still gonna need to be put in the sequence, gapped or crossfaded, coded, dithered to 16, burnt, error checked and finally, audio QC checked!

In other words.....Mastered!
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19th December 2010
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maybe the question really means "mixes that haven't needed corrective steps when being mastered".
Jonathan Race
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19th December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by symmetricalSound View Post
maybe the question really means "mixes that haven't needed corrective steps when being mastered".
Yup, Should have been more clear (should have said this was for a single track as well not a multiple track release)
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Done this sometimes in the context of interludes and skits on records.

This said, I mostly work with super loud dancefloor smashers, so I generally have to process because the client is coming to be for loudness as well as balanced and QC.
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I read somewhere Bob Katz has on occasion sent back a mix totally untouched sonically. I think I read that at digido.

Last edited by Wlouch; 19th December 2010 at 04:19 PM.. Reason: spelling
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I have never in my life heard of any project that needed NO mastering. I've gotten projects that didn't need any processing, but I still had to put the songs in order, set the gaps and make the disk. I guess what I'm saying is, not needing sweetening is not synonymous with not being mastered. ALL projects are mastered if they've been replicated. All of them, no exception. Even if all the engineer did was set P/Q codes, it's been mastered.
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22nd December 2010
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I thought The Flaming Lips were infamous for bypassing the mastering process... which isn't exactly the same thing as saying their work didn't need mastering... then again, somebody had to sequence the tunes, etc. and that of course is part of mastering. I guess what was meant is that they disallow any processing on their stuff ====
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Mixes don't get mastered. Bodies of work get mastered.
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22nd December 2010
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22nd December 2010
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FWIW I'd be very worried about the reliability of any monitors that told me I could improve every single mix I get in.
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23rd December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wlouch View Post
I read somewhere Bob Katz has on occasion sent back a mix totally untouched sonically. I think I read that at digido.
Yup. Recently went through that chapter again.

"The perfect mix may need no mastering at all."
Katz, 'Mastering Audio', p.109

or, to clarify on things like PQ subcode, etc, vs. processing;

"Many pieces leave mastering with no equalization or processing."
Katz, p.108
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23rd December 2010
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mastering ≠ processing necessarily

Kevin Shirley also said there:
Quote:
"I think some tracks could use a smidge more top end, and others a bump of bottom."
- exactly the details that mastering offers – however slight, yet necessary.

Also:
Quote:
"and on many occasions I've got a mastered CD back, and then have been unhappy - but usually blame myself!
Is MAstering Still Necessary

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtalahde
Even if no processing took place, someone still made that decision, cleaned up the heads & tails, levelled it and prepared it for duplication.

In other words, did the mastering.
Yep. And knowing when, why and in what context something can be left alone, or minimally touched for sake of context, simply requires a very detailed, full range, unflattering monitoring environment.
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23rd December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville View Post
Mixes don't get mastered. Bodies of work get mastered.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has had a single mix mastered, or sometimes two or three at a time.

I like having someone I trust check it out and make sure eq and compression are ok, and then turn it up a notch.


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huejahfink
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23rd December 2010
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^^ Yep! Done quite a few 'single mix' jobs here.

Listen, process appropriately, re-sample if necessary, dither, prepare WAV and/or tagged mp3 for digital distribution.

Sounds like mastering to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peakly View Post
turn it up a notch.
bcgood
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23rd December 2010
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This sounds good to me just as it is.

(I've taken down the link)
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