The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Best Master / Worst Master - Why?
Old 27th September 2007
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Dannibal's Avatar
 

Best Master / Worst Master - Why?

I would like to know what you all think is the best master you've ever heard, and what is the worst. Ideally you'd let the best/worst speak for itself, but if you could explain why (in your own words) that would be outstanding.

If you would like to describe it as best/worst production (detailed opinion) that would be sensational too. I'm really curious what you all think. Thanks!

Cheers!
Dan
Old 27th September 2007
  #2
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I really can't answer either of those questions but great masters all have a balance of transient peaks to meat, and a balanced eq that suits the production. If you're looking for basic mixing ideas I have a page here. Each production is unique, so you really need to work with taste and intelligence on whatever you have to go with. If it sounds good it is good, but as a rule you need a few basics for any good production:

1. A tracking strategy that works. Be that live bass/drums with a scratch vocal/instrument ... or an MPC and 1 track at a time in a closet. The process needs to allow for the best possible performances. Do not go past Go, without great performances and arrangements. Performance is 1.

2. To know what truly sounds good, and not just good to you in the moment, understanding your monitoring is everything, so know what you have and use your brain to interpret your room. Monitoring is 1a.

3. Equipment is less important than ears, but both together is best. Mic choice and placement define the sound, and how much work you'll need to do later. Equipment is 3, application of equipment is 1b.
Old 27th September 2007
  #3
Here for the gear
 
Dannibal's Avatar
 

Maybe I should have worded this as "Favorite" other than "Best". My intention is not to slam anybody's work.
Old 27th September 2007
  #4
Here for the gear
 
Dannibal's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucey View Post
I really can't answer either of those questions but great masters all have a balance of transient peaks to meat, and a balanced eq that suits the production. If you're looking for basic mixing ideas I have a page here. Each production is unique, so you really need to work with taste and intelligence on whatever you have to go with. If it sounds good it is good, but as a rule you need a few basics for any good production:

1. A tracking strategy that works. Be that live bass/drums with a scratch vocal/instrument ... or an MPC and 1 track at a time in a closet. The process needs to allow for the best possible performances. Do not go past Go, without great performances and arrangements. Performance is 1.

2. To know what truly sounds good, and not just good to you in the moment, understanding your monitoring is everything, so know what you have and use your brain to interpret your room. Monitoring is 1a.

3. Equipment is less important than ears, but both together is best. Mic choice and placement define the sound, and how much work you'll need to do later. Equipment is 3, application of equipment is 1b.

thanks for your response! You've got a lot of killer gear at your place!

Cheers
Old 27th September 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 

Verified Member
One of my favorite CD's is Sufjan Stevens, Come On Feel the Illinoise
Old 3rd October 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Any remastering done by Tony Cousins in the U.K. These include XTC and Peter Gabriel's entire catalogues.

Compare the original CD's to the new version. It's a stunning demonstration of both Mr. Cousin's talent and how far digital technology has come. I recommend Gabriel's SACD's, but even just the regular 16bit/44.1khz discs are gorgeous sounding.

I also think the Police and Paul Simon remasters were really great. I think those are done really well too. I think that's Bob Ludwig and Greg Calbi respectively, but I'm not totally sure.

That guy who remastered Fugazi's catalogue... he's awesome too. Definitely hire that guy.

- c
Old 3rd October 2007
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Mastering is only part of the process.

How good the material sounds coming in can make all the difference in how good the mastering can sound. You have to look at the total package. How well the songs were written, how well they were played, how well they were recorded and how well they were mixed.

The mastering engineer can only do so much. As someone on this board pointed out "if you polish a turd you can only get a polished turd and not a bouquet of roses" Gross but to the point.

There is no easy way to answer your question.
Old 3rd October 2007
  #8
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 

I like the masters on Roger Waters' solo albums. Absolutely perfect sonic balance and detailing with a dynamic range to die for. Just make sure you turn the volume up on your stereo (oh, the agony!)
Old 3rd October 2007
  #9
Here for the gear
 
Dannibal's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
Just make sure you turn the volume up on your stereo (oh, the agony!)
haha
i had a question about that in another thread. i still need to research on it. if anyone can point me in the right direction...
-is it possible to get a recording fairly loud with good dynamics, and not your typical "buzz cut" master that's loud but has no dynamic range?

as for the polishing a turd... i heard/use another saying. not sure how popular it is, but here it goes...
"you can't poor syrup on sh*t and call it pancakes..."

i'd say my favorite production/master is from Meshuggah's "destroy, erase, improve." I don't know.. just something about it...


thanks for all your input so far...
dan
Old 3rd October 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Adebar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Mastering is only part of the process.

How good the material sounds coming in can make all the difference in how good the mastering can sound. You have to look at the total package. How well the songs were written, how well they were played, how well they were recorded and how well they were mixed.

The mastering engineer can only do so much. As someone on this board pointed out "if you polish a turd you can only get a polished turd and not a bouquet of roses" Gross but to the point.

There is no easy way to answer your question.
That´s what i think too.

Roger Nichols told me one of his mixes he sent to mastering kept untouched. I think it was Bernie Grundman who said to Roger, every thin i do to your mix makes it worse because the mix was perfect.

The mix was perfect, but probably all the tracks were played perfectly. This again would be worthless if the arrangement were bad .......

Mastering is a small single step of the whole thing.
Old 4th October 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 

The original CD issue of Elvis Costello "Armed Forces" in the early/mid-80s was the worst thing I ever heard. Wall-to-wall digital clipping. Yuck.
Old 8th October 2007
  #12
Gear Nut
 

love faherenheit (toto) bob ludwig...nice balance, though the style changes u can feel the sense of unity, LOVE THAT LAST TRACK where miles joins them

and most of alan parsons albums mastered by chris blair DYNAMICS!!!


HATE ALL ALBUMS MASTERED IN COLOMBIA, and i hate most of all, ppl who calls themselves mastering engineers when they actually doesnt have the experience that makes an engineer a mastering engineer; PLEASEE cranesong, weiss, lipinski and all those high end companies does not compensate for the lack of CRITERIA!!!

sorry bout my englishheh
Old 11th October 2007
  #13
Here for the gear
 

What about metal albums? Anyone got any ones they think are shining examples?
Old 11th October 2007
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Kyle S's Avatar
 

not a huge metal fan but shadows fall's War Within sounds fantasic to me.
Old 11th October 2007
  #15
Here for the gear
 

Hmm, maybe I'll go pick up that CD I discovered them on Soundclick a few months ago and have been listening to a few tracks on a regular basis.
Old 11th October 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
Keep in mind I have not heard the un-mastered material, but with these examples you can tell the mastering stage was done amazingly or super poorly.

Great metal masters:
Exodus "Tempo of the Damned"
In Flames "Clayman"
Nevermore "Dead Heart in a Dead World"

Terrible masters:
In Flames "Come Clarity" (Ultra insane loud.... digital distortion, kick and snare get lost completely)
Brand New Sin "Tequila" (Mastered by George Marino! I have a feeling the mix was terrible, so he did what he could do... but I think it could have been way better. Borderline unlistenable.)
Old 11th October 2007
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Just got the Shadows Fall CD. Yeah I was starting to feel good about my album until I listened to the first 2 tracks of this album.

arg, yeah I'm not getting that kind of sound this time around...I think there's more that seperates our sounds than just mastering

Man that kick is hot in the mix but the guitars are still clear.

Pretty loud in general too but doesn't sound overly compressed at all to my ears.
Old 14th October 2007
  #18
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I don't think you can fairly judge this stuff without hearing the unmastered version.

My wife was a manager at Sterling in the 80's (George Marino/Greg Calbi/Ted Jensen/Jack Skinner), which gave me the opportunity to hear the Before & After of a huge number of now-classic records. You'd be amazed by the number of platinum albums that walked in the door in need of major help. And this, of course, was when mastering still meant cutting 23-minute lacquers in one pass.
Old 15th October 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
pootkao's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I don't think you can fairly judge this stuff without hearing the unmastered version.
I was just thinking the same thing...
Old 16th October 2007
  #20
Lives for gear
 
masteringhouse's Avatar
 

Verified Member
When I look at most of my favorite masters Ludwig seems to be the name that comes up most often (too many albums to mention, just pick one).

Interestingly one of my least favorites was also remastered by Bob, the Who's Quadrophenia. I'm certain the mix was probably an issue. Also given the sheer volume of his work I reckon nobody can shoot 100%. 99.99% is a very good average though.
Old 19th October 2007
  #21
Gear Nut
 

I dunno if they qualify as metal or not, but "Dogman" by King's X sounds awesome to me. Of course to the other point, I'm sure a lot of that satisfying low end was already there before it was even mixed, much less mastered.

analog modeling, I think most serious productions in Colombia get sent to BA for mastering but we are going to change that. Of course, we are going to send the people who will be actually working as mastering engineers on an apprenticeship. We are right around the corner from you in Andes BTW.
Old 19th October 2007
  #22
Lives for gear
 
taturana's Avatar
 

Verified Member
I´d say the stuff done by chris blair was pretty awesome...

bob ludwig also...
Old 19th October 2007
  #23
Gear Nut
 

I was listening to "Synchonicity" just the other day and I was shocked how little low end the disc had. A lot of stuff from that time suffers from a similar fate, i.e. early Metallica and Mega. It's like it all got chopped off at 100 :(
Old 19th October 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Cellotron's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubito View Post
I was listening to "Synchonicity" just the other day and I was shocked how little low end the disc had. A lot of stuff from that time suffers from a similar fate, i.e. early Metallica and Mega. It's like it all got chopped off at 100 :(
Possibly due to the transfer for CD coming off of tapes that were eq'd specifically for the vinyl cutting - in which case rolling off some low end allows a longer side to be cut at a hotter level - instead of being mastered for digital from the original mix tapes. The fact that this indeed happened a good deal in the 80's is one of the big reasons redundant "remastered" releases became so prevalent.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 19th October 2007
  #25
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubito View Post
I was listening to "Synchonicity" just the other day and I was shocked how little low end the disc had. A lot of stuff from that time suffers from a similar fate, i.e. early Metallica and Mega. It's like it all got chopped off at 100 :(
Ahhh the 80s.
Old 19th October 2007
  #26
Lives for gear
 
taturana's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubito View Post
I was listening to "Synchonicity" just the other day and I was shocked how little low end the disc had. A lot of stuff from that time suffers from a similar fate, i.e. early Metallica and Mega. It's like it all got chopped off at 100 :(
yeah, the lp version of synchronicity sounds a lot better than the remastered CD... zenyatta mondatta sounds real good on cd though...

i remember some of the worst cd´s i ever heard were the first cd releases of old jethro tull lp´s... brittle, strident guitars... i hope they got better at it by now... (tull´s lp´s always has a bit of that but the LP made it sound good)
Old 19th October 2007
  #27
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
Possibly due to the transfer for CD coming off of tapes that were eq'd specifically for the vinyl cutting
Right -- and a lot of those tapes were Sony 1630's, not so hi-fi by today's standards.

Also, at that time it was a common practice with large-scale releases to cut lacquers from an EQ'd analog copy using "normal" analog tape machines + a (mediocre) DDL rather than "mastering" machines with 2 sets of PB heads and electronics (1 for cutter preview, the other for program). Meaning a lot of so-called "AAA" records actually weren't.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
anopenscroll / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
8
matthewscott614 / So Much Gear, So Little Time
0
cap217 / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
2
nOiz / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
3

Forum Jump
Forum Jump