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Red Mastering
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27th November 2012
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Mastering audio and Buddhism

one of fundamental part of Buddhism philosophy is rejecting a judgement

how any of 'signing bowl' engineers here, deal with it ?

this is a part of our job to judge other's folk music, although it's rather from technical point of view,
it's colliding with Buddhism philosophy,

anyway, it could be an interesting discussion
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27th November 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Mastering View Post
one of fundamental part of Buddhism philosophy is rejecting a judgement

how any of 'signing bowl' engineers here, deal with it ?

this is a part of our job to judge other's folk music, although it's rather from technical point of view,
it's colliding with Buddhism philosophy,

anyway, it could be an interesting discussion
Interesting. Could it be that discernment is more useful than judgement in evaluating cultural expression? Judgement often impies a personally defined set of values and hence an identification with ego, which would run counter to Bhuddist phillosophy, whereas discernment applies a more culturally defined set of values to assess any given event. In many ways the job of the engineer is to "get out of the way of the music" in order to hear it more fully in context and apply any process which will make it communicate more succesfuly. It is impossible however to remove one's self entirely from the equation, and the discerning engineer, or scientist etc.,will observe this too, taking it into account.
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27th November 2012
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My two cents....

Although I've studied the teachings of Thay Naht Hanh, and even went to one of his retreats, I could not become a "practicing" Buddhist. Too much of the "middle way" (non-judgmental) philosophy went against my sense of life, as much as I loved the compassion side of it. That being said, I learned along the way that they make exceptions too. For instance, there was a rat problem at Plum Village (Thay's place in France) and they had to kill the rats...totally against their philosophy. They wished the rats "better luck next lifetime". So I would say do what you need to do in the physical universe and God knows the audio business involves constant judgements and decisions.
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27th November 2012
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To quote Jiddu Krishnamurti "The description is not the described" that makes moving forward difficult. As soon as you analyze 'it' is no longer 'it'. Whilst mastering is a technical work in part, it would be nice to marry it with a near atheist spiritual leaning like Buddhism. After all Buddha said "Come and see." not "Have faith"
I guess that precision and balance has some parallel to a zen monks practice.

But all said and done, you are never closer than when there is direct action in response to actuality without the interruption of thought. Thinking is a step removed from what I think you are getting at.

Maybe thoughts of Christ on the cross would help a Christian mastering engineer maintain focus ?

I am not convinced it improves ones work and as such it might be best left to some religious forum.

Last edited by SASMastering; 27th November 2012 at 06:32 PM.. Reason: edit quote
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Mastering View Post
one of fundamental part of Buddhism philosophy is rejecting a judgement

how any of 'signing bowl' engineers here, deal with it ?

this is a part of our job to judge other's folk music, although it's rather from technical point of view,
it's colliding with Buddhism philosophy,

anyway, it could be an interesting discussion
I'm not a Buddhist, but I'm relativist at a philosophical level.
As a ME, I'm not judging music, I'm judging the way it was engineered during the previous stages of the production process, based on cultural and technical requirements. For example 'commercial loudness' isnt the same now as it was 20 twenty years ago...
I'm not judging for myself, I'm producing professionnal utilitarian judgements which arent fully mine but are what is required for the genre at the current time, a compromise between technical requirements and what the band/producer want. I'm doing what is dictated by the context. There's certainly judgement involved, but I'm keeping it as unconscious as possible.
Mastering isnt art or politics, it's more like plumbing. I'm trying to be as judgemental as a plumber would be.
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Interesting. Could it be that discernment is more useful than judgement in evaluating cultural expression? Judgement often impies a personally defined set of values and hence an identification with ego, which would run counter to Bhuddist phillosophy, whereas discernment applies a more culturally defined set of values to assess any given event. In many ways the job of the engineer is to "get out of the way of the music" in order to hear it more fully in context and apply any process which will make it communicate more succesfuly. It is impossible however to remove one's self entirely from the equation, and the discerning engineer, or scientist etc.,will observe this too, taking it into account.
great post!

music business in general is very 'egocentric'
it's always ' me me me'
...or my monitors are bigger then yours,
isn't it ?
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27th November 2012
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i think mastering is not judging about music, it's helping the artist getting closer to his primary vision.

btw: i read in "mixing with your mind" that they messured the brain waves of many different professions.
sound engineer have during they're work very similar brain waves than zen buddist during they're meditation.
they try to explain the reason: a sound engineer has to connect some opposed part of of his brain to find technical solutions out of emotional reasons.
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28th November 2012
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Are we not "evaluating" with the philosophical intent being a particular and non-threatenous end goal?

Judgement implies critical negativity and disdain....


They called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god - he, however, preferred to drop the 'Maha' and 'Atman' and called himself Sam.....
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As a student of the Buddha's teachings, I can appreciate this thread.
He promoted many concepts, but Awareness is always at the heart of all of them. That would seem to be a good asset for an ME.

With regard to his admonitions against "discrimination", in my view he meant not to attach to preconceived or to closely-held viewpoints; and also to maintain equanimity, evenness, of temperament, thought, and behavior; not to necessarily discard one's reasoning or discernment. He in fact was always telling people to gather information, and make wise choices.

He also taught "lovingkindness", compassion, which is a good way to approach someone else's labor of love. And each other. And all living beings.

He advised to always "strive with diligence", and to exert "right effort" in one's chosen occupation. He cautioned against the use of strong intoxicants.
Pretty good advice for a professional ME, or for anyone, really.

And, as he wisely pointed out, words are merely representations of reality, and not the thing itself, so we do have to be careful about attaching to definitions of words as though they meant only one thing, or were the thing, because they obviously are not.

He was also a firm believer in cause and effect, a principle that can certainly be applied to audio.

Finally I guess, since as he pointed out, all temporal things are transitory, and all material things will pass away, maybe we should do our best, but then, don't take it too mortally seriously.
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28th November 2012
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If your religion or philosophy causes you to have moral or ethical issues with the vast variety of music that we MEs work with on a daily basis then you have two (or more) choices.

1. Work with only music that is alignment with your philosophy, which might cut down on your workload : - )

2. Work with any music regardless of lyrical content, and don't let it affect you personally, as you're a pro.

3. Some balance between the two.

I've practiced Transcendental Meditation (the Maharishi stuff) on a semi-regular basis for the last 40 years, and find it only enhances my abilities to do effective alert work, and relate to all the people involved.

Respect and tolerance for a wide diversity of viewpoints is key, regardless of religion, politics, lifestyle, or philosophy.

Often times you'll attract music that is similar in viewpoint to yours, other times just the opposite.

It's part of the job, and might even be a learning experience.

Cheers, JT
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28th November 2012
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I'm no Buddhist and have little education on the subject, but do have a singing bowl ... :-)
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I'm no Buddhist and have little education on the subject, but do have a singing bowl ... :-)
neither myself
although I think it's interesting question
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close your eyes
sit still
allow your breath to slow down.
focus yourself in the middle of your chest, a little to the right.
listen.


turn your knobs
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17th December 2012
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one of fundamental part of Buddhism philosophy is rejecting a judgement

how any of 'signing bowl' engineers here, deal with it ?
Wait.... if they just went ahead and made judgements despite being buddhists, would you.... judge them for that?
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I am both a practicing Zen Buddhist and a mastering engineer.

I think you are starting from an incorrect assumption. Buddhists make judgements all the time. Would I like a bite of food or a sip of tea? Do I want to sit zazen on a seiza bench or a cushion? Do I have enough money in the bank to pay for food and rent? Coke or Pepsi? Life without judgement is nihilism, which is the opposite of a Buddhist life.

One of the fundamental ideas of Buddhism is that suffering arises from greed, anger, and ignorance. One of the most corrupting forms of ignorance is rejecting the reality around you in favor of an imagined "better place". "My house is a mess and small. If I had a big, clean house, then I would be happy." The Buddhist approach is to start by accepting the reality of one's life. "This house, which is as small and messy as it really is, is mine, and I can fully embrace the reality of that without comparing it to a fantasy, because fantasies are not real." People get this far and think that because Buddhism teaches that you must accept things as they are, you just let yourself be surrounded by a mess. This is a misunderstanding of the Buddha way. Yes, you accept that the state of your life is a mess, and you accept that without the delusion of the fantasy of a clean house you don't have. But, the next step is to get up and clean the house. You accept without delusion the house after the first sweep of the broom, and after the 50th, and after the 500th. And once the house is clean, you accept it with as much love and clarity as you did when it was dirty, and you start saving up for a place with a bit more room.

Personally, I think Buddhism is the ideal philosophy for a mastering engineer. (I may be biased.) Being able to hear a mix as it really is, without your perception being clouded by preconceived notions or biases, is the first step in making it better. Being practiced in observation without the intrusion of ego lets one make the best choices for the music at hand. This sort of egoless action is the heart of Buddhism: the album masters the album. The engineer's ears perceive the music, the engineer's hands turn the knobs, but the music decides what it needs.

I think every person who does something well and with passion has experienced the self falling away and the action performing itself. Musicians seem to access this most readily, they go on stage and play the song and there is no rational process behind it: the musician lets go of the music and it just flows out of its own accord. I'm sure many of you have been in a session where you stop thinking, because your hands know what knobs to turn and how far. Decisions are being made, but they are easy and automatic. The music tells you what needs to happen, and you become a conduit for that action. That state is Enlightenment. If you've ever felt that way in any part of your life, you may be an unintentional Buddhist.
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17th December 2012
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Originally Posted by MAzevedo View Post
I am both a practicing Zen Buddhist and a mastering engineer.

I think you are starting from an incorrect assumption. Buddhists make judgements all the time. Would I like a bite of food or a sip of tea? Do I want to sit zazen on a seiza bench or a cushion? Do I have enough money in the bank to pay for food and rent? Coke or Pepsi? Life without judgement is nihilism, which is the opposite of a Buddhist life.

One of the fundamental ideas of Buddhism is that suffering arises from greed, anger, and ignorance. One of the most corrupting forms of ignorance is rejecting the reality around you in favor of an imagined "better place". "My house is a mess and small. If I had a big, clean house, then I would be happy." The Buddhist approach is to start by accepting the reality of one's life. "This house, which is as small and messy as it really is, is mine, and I can fully embrace the reality of that without comparing it to a fantasy, because fantasies are not real." People get this far and think that because Buddhism teaches that you must accept things as they are, you just let yourself be surrounded by a mess. This is a misunderstanding of the Buddha way. Yes, you accept that the state of your life is a mess, and you accept that without the delusion of the fantasy of a clean house you don't have. But, the next step is to get up and clean the house. You accept without delusion the house after the first sweep of the broom, and after the 50th, and after the 500th. And once the house is clean, you accept it with as much love and clarity as you did when it was dirty, and you start saving up for a place with a bit more room.

Personally, I think Buddhism is the ideal philosophy for a mastering engineer. (I may be biased.) Being able to hear a mix as it really is, without your perception being clouded by preconceived notions or biases, is the first step in making it better. Being practiced in observation without the intrusion of ego lets one make the best choices for the music at hand. This sort of egoless action is the heart of Buddhism: the album masters the album. The engineer's ears perceive the music, the engineer's hands turn the knobs, but the music decides what it needs.

I think every person who does something well and with passion has experienced the self falling away and the action performing itself. Musicians seem to access this most readily, they go on stage and play the song and there is no rational process behind it: the musician lets go of the music and it just flows out of its own accord. I'm sure many of you have been in a session where you stop thinking, because your hands know what knobs to turn and how far. Decisions are being made, but they are easy and automatic. The music tells you what needs to happen, and you become a conduit for that action. That state is Enlightenment. If you've ever felt that way in any part of your life, you may be an unintentional Buddhist.

Well said.

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That's one of the most true and interesting posts on this forum for a long time.
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If you don't know the causes, effects and history then you should judge with caution. That's the thing about judging with Buddhism and like philosophies.
Most people don't now about causes from yesterday.. or years ago.. neither know the big picture.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAzevedo View Post
I'm sure many of you have been in a session where you stop thinking, because your hands know what knobs to turn and how far. Decisions are being made, but they are easy and automatic. The music tells you what needs to happen, and you become a conduit for that action. That state is Enlightenment.
Yes. Guided by your ear and intuition.

Not by any book or RTA.

Rather, immersion into the music.

It's what I call being in the Zone.

Best, or Better, Namaste, JT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAzevedo View Post
I'm sure many of you have been in a session where you stop thinking, because your hands know what knobs to turn and how far. Decisions are being made, but they are easy and automatic. The music tells you what needs to happen, and you become a conduit for that action. That state is Enlightenment. If you've ever felt that way in any part of your life, you may be an unintentional Buddhist.
This happens to me quite often.

I find similar feelings at the gym, too.
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Thank you for all the kind comments. Saying deeply personal things on the internet is a risky endeavor, and I'm glad that my words seem to have resonated with folks.

With hands together, _/|\_
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The Zone

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Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb View Post
Yes. Guided by your ear and intuition.

Not by any book or RTA.

Rather, immersion into the music.

It's what I call being in the Zone.

Best, or better Namaste, JT
This is how I master,and why I do not understand some peoples reliance on reference tracks.Some days(luckily not too often)I don't want to master anything
I don't fight it anymore ,On these days I might fix something
change some bulbs on the desk etc(schedule permitting).
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18th December 2012
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Hmm, I have a singing bowl, and a hand made Tibetan healing gong and many years of meditation (90s) and I see mastering as a Healing Art first and most.

Judgment and Discrimination are very different.

Effortlessness in the moment is the result of a great deal of discrimination ... judgment is negative ... if I am negative about a music I'm working on I should stop working.

Maximizing the positive is a mindset not unlike a Buddhist or any other enlightened mindset.
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Believe in your soul and the universe, the music frequencies pass thru your body you are one more tool of the studio, to correct things in a good way, not to judge the way music was done, if you do, you have some ego issues clean your chakras once a week.
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Couldn't mastering without making judgement as well be done by a automated mastering plugin? Like TC Electronics Finalizer wizard function or something.

If you hire a mastering engineer, I would assume you do it based on his previous work which is built from his judgements and decisions.
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I've heard a few MEs say that their first rule is to do no harm. So there seems to be a natural if accidental connection with Buddhism right from the start.

I've also heard it said that to succeed in ones practice it helps to have an 'ear' for the teaching, which is often likened to having a musical ear.

Some excellent posts here.
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One of the main problems this thread will have, is that the language in which it communicates is not as well equipped as it might perhaps be in communicating the the different intricacies in judgement, discrimination and interpretation as an original language of a particular philosophy or religion. Even then in some concepts no language is sufficient to express what is and what is not, when one refers to meaning.

This is a great conundrum and a very serious question, that is perhaps beyond the scope of this discussion or even this forum; what one word in English means to you or I versus what one word in an other language originally meant and how to best express that in English is no easy matter for the translator and the person trying to to understand from that translation.

It is best to say that we can only understand what we can understand; and perhaps we should try to control the urge to understand what we think other people can or should understand. Take as it comes. Even when you perhaps look past one tiny word that can make a great deal of difference, things will remain as they are.

What it means to one it does not mean to an other, but what it means applies to all.

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One day Zhuang Zhou and a friend
were walking along a riverbank.

"How delightfully the fishes are
enjoying themselves in the water!
"
-Zhuang Zhou exclaimed.

"You are not a fish," his friend said.
"How do you know whether or not
the fishes are enjoying themselves?"


"You are not me," Zhuang Zhou said.
"How do you know that I do not know
that the fishes are enjoying themselves?"
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One of the main problems this thread will have, is that the language in which it communicates is not as well equipped as it might perhaps be in communicating the the different intricacies in judgement, discrimination and interpretation as an original language of a particular philosophy or religion. Even then in some concepts no language is sufficient to express what is and what is not, when one refers to meaning.
Bang, the description is not the described, just get on with it. The very mechanism of trying to understand is the factor of self you are trying to shake off. Until you un-understand it you are not it.

Alan Watts: "Or it is like a mosquito biting an iron bull. It is the nature of a mosquito to bite and it is the nature of an iron bull to be unbiteable. Both go on doing what is their nature, and so, nothing can happen. Soon you realize you are absolutely up against it. There is absolutely no answer to this problem, and no way out. Now, what does that mean? If I cannot do the right thing by doing, and I cannot do the right thing by not doing, what does it mean? It means, of course, that I who essayed to do all this is a hallucination. There is no independent self to be produced. There is no way at all of showing it, because it is not there. When you recover from the illusion and you suddenly wake up, you think, "Whew, what a relief." "

It's great intellectual entertainment but gets you nowhere. Glad I got all this off my chest when I was 17-21.
Once you have got the message let go of the receiver.

Just get on with life and treat people well.
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