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Mastreing process questions
Old 6th August 2005
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Mastreing process questions

I noticed the recent responses to "what is on your 2 buss" indicate "nothing" in order to respect the mastering process. Here are some questions:
1. About how much should it cost to get an album mastered by someone who is really good?
2. About how much time would it take?
3. How does the mastering person know what sound you are after? (Does it take a couple of rounds of checking?)
Thanks for any help.
Old 6th August 2005
  #2
1) Depends on what they charge - $75-200 an hour isn't out of the ordinary.

2) For a fairly "standard" job without a lot of bodywork, 5-7 times the program length is a decent way to estimate the length of the session. Obviously, the more cooks in the kitchen, this can easily triple or quadruple going back and forth over multiple sessions.

3) That almost depends on the nature of the session - If it's attended, it might be easier to dial it in. I find some projects to be "obvious" (for lack of a better term) about what they're asking for - Especially if a lot of care was taken from the start. Other projects that require more extensive processing and "body work" can take several rounds of of listening and tweaking.

The big key is to make sure the mixes sound as close to what you're looking for as possible - I hear people (even other M.E.'s) that say that the "mastering should blow you away." I see the point, but that's not really the way it should work IMO.

Sure, if the project needs a lot of nip/tucks or is really anemic and in need of "body" or power that essentially needs to be manufactured at the mastering stage, yeah. Hopefully, it'll blow you away with how much potential was realized during the session. But that's for mixes that really aren't where they should be in the first place.

In a perfect world, the MIX should blow ME away. The M.E.'s job should then be to maximize the project's potential, changing it as little as possible. A lot of mastering gear isn't chosen for how it sounds - It's chosen for how it doesn't sound.
Old 6th August 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master
1) In a perfect world, the MIX should blow ME away. The M.E.'s job should then be to maximize the project's potential, changing it as little as possible. A lot of mastering gear isn't chosen for how it sounds - It's chosen for how it doesn't sound.
What would your oppinion be if one really seeks a sound on the 2bus? Is it a good decision to take care of it in the mix then?
Old 6th August 2005
  #4
Some mastering engineers will tell you not to compress your mixes, giving various reasons such as the quality of your compressors or your monitoring environment not being up to par., but I disagree. Mix compression radically changes the instrumental balances within the music – if left to the mastering engineer your mix can come back sounding very different from what you sent. I recommend judicious use of compression, checking the results in various listening environments with varying levels until you are sure it is beneficial. If you feel uncertain, print versions with and without compression, and remember, the mastering engineer is there to polish, not repaint your mixes …
Old 6th August 2005
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
beatzz's Avatar
 

Awesome Brad! That answered a couple questions about compression before mastering which have always bothered me.
Old 7th August 2005
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik
What would your oppinion be if one really seeks a sound on the 2bus? Is it a good decision to take care of it in the mix then?
Yep. I fall squarely into the "If it's for the sake of the mix, do it" category.

If it's for the sake of sheer volume, that's another story to a point...
Old 7th August 2005
  #7
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AB3
I noticed the recent responses to "what is on your 2 buss" indicate "nothing" in order to respect the mastering process...
There are some real good reasons to not get carried away with 2-buss compression but "respecting" or even considering the mastering process at all is NOT one of them!

The one thing that I think is worth leaving off is the final peak limiting. This is simply because the final level can change a bit depending on each song's position in an album or a compilation.

The reason I say to not get carried away with two-buss compression is that a musical balance that depends on compression is likely to change unfavorably when the song gets compressed additionally in mastering and broadcasting. I suppose in some ways heavy 2-buss compression makes a good test of a mix but I tend to leave it off on the final.
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