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Please stop saying mixing and mastering!
Old 4 days ago
  #1
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Please stop saying mixing and mastering!

One of the most common questions: Does that include mixing and mastering?

People just do not understand the difference between the two. Mixing is an artform, and mastering is an artform. What can we do as a Hip Hop Rap community to educate?

What I've seen in the last 7 years is mastering not even asked about as a service.

Could be because CD's are less likely to be pressed. How do you guys address this?
Old 4 days ago
  #2
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@illynoise best way to educate is to create tutorials that showcase both as separate functions. It should be noted also that Hip Hop overall has an aversion to education.
Old 4 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
Maybe just set your song rates to include time for mastering and include both mix and mastering as a bundle. That way you don't have to rely on the client to ask for it, and you can make sure your mix is mastered and sounds as good as possible.
Old 4 days ago
  #4
Gear Nut
Sadly, there's so many con artists out there advertising both as a package until it's becoming commonplace to think of them as one. As the last poster said, you can set a rate with both included if that's what you do. If you do one and someone else you know does the other you can collaborate and set a price when you have both services requested. It's a win-win for you and whoever at that point.

Lastly, there is less knowledge about the differences but a lot of that is due to not having the whole studio process broken down like before. You used to know you went to the studio to record and then needed to send it off somewhere else to be mastered. Instant download age has hurt a lot of things for sure.
Old 4 days ago
  #5
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Unfortunately the majority of people these days just lack sense and are extremely ignorant. Most Never care to even use Google and educate themselves especially the newer artist's who are entering music. A young rapper the other day told me that if I 'Make Beats' I obviously Mix & Master (Even though I mix and sometimes master songs that's not my main job position in music). When I broke everything down to him he said 'No' what I'm saying makes no sense because it's all the same thing. I kept trying to explain to him that all 3 are different in many sense but all 3 are a part of the songs recording.

It's a frustrating business altogether and things seem to be getting worse everyday. ..unfortunately.

Last edited by ANR2011; 3 days ago at 04:46 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 4 days ago
  #6
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0000's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by illynoise View Post
One of the most common questions: Does that include mixing and mastering?

People just do not understand the difference between the two. Mixing is an artform, and mastering is an artform. What can we do as a Hip Hop Rap community to educate?

What I've seen in the last 7 years is mastering not even asked about as a service.

Could be because CD's are less likely to be pressed. How do you guys address this?
Hard to argue with ignorance.
Maybe you can create a short document for prospects / clients.
And what @boombapdame said.
Old 4 days ago
  #7
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@thehost250 I hate how the download age hurt the art and business.
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Gear Nut
I agree 1000% with everyone here. Clearly, we're not the problem but I don't see a fix in the foreseeable future. Even in the internet age there are still those who choose not to research information and processes. I remember when you literally had to buy several books to read and try to grasp the ins and outs of recording and music production. All change isn't all good as they say....
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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@thehost250 first book I read about the biz was Moses Avalon's "Confessions Of A Record Producer" a decade ago.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
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That's what happens when you have no choice other than to work with bottom of the barrel clients. The only excuse someone has for behaving that ignorantly is if they're brand new to the whole making music in a studio concept. Or perhaps it's part of an attitude that's wide spread in some parts. I honestly don't deal with that much here in my city, even when dealing with newbies, but when I do, I don't give it anymore attention than it deserves.

Instead of wasting time arguing with those people, just prepare the appropriate reading/learning material on your website, and direct them toward that. If they refuse the opportunity to read up and gain valuable knowledge, they aren't worth the fuss. No need to complain about it or dwell on how crappy things are, just keep it moving. Plenty of people out there exists that actually care to learn and want to improve in their music making endeavours. Spend your time and energy on people like that any time you have the chance to work with them.
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Gear Nut
@Petty Cash, so true. I don't think anyone here was complaining because we have to work with them. I sure don't and it doesn't sound like the OP does either. Just venting frustration of the lack of effort of some to do research. You may not work with them but you probably on more than one occasion had someone argue about something that research would solve on their end. Some of the things that people approach you about are just way out there is all.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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All of my mixes include what I call “single song mastering.” The reality is that you HAVE to include that. Generally speaking, artists/labels cannot even evaluate the mix without it being up to commercial volume. Not to mention that if limiting is going to affect the mix (hopefully it doesn’t change anything very audibly), then they’d better know it before they approve the mix. All it is is just a limiter on the mix with tops and tails trimmed, because theoretically I already have the “sound” of the record and that’s all it needs. And generally speaking, they will always need that “mastered” version for various promo, focus group testing, DJ testing, etc. before the album gets mastered. So you HAVE to deliver it. Experienced artists and labels know what it is. For everyone else, I politely explain that the mix includes single song mastering (ie. without context to the rest of the album) and advise them to have the whole album mastered when it’s completed.

But realistically, if an artist hires someone to mix their song and they don’t get ANY version up to volume, they are justifiably going to be ticked off. That’s just standard operating procedure. Just make sure they know the difference between the pseudo mastering you do for the one song and the mastering that is done for an album release.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thehost250 View Post
@Petty Cash, so true. I don't think anyone here was complaining because we have to work with them. I sure don't and it doesn't sound like the OP does either. Just venting frustration of the lack of effort of some to do research. You may not work with them but you probably on more than one occasion had someone argue about something that research would solve on their end. Some of the things that people approach you about are just way out there is all.
I meant "complaining" in the sense of allowing any feelings of discouragement over the matter. Ignorance of that caliber will always exist in people, in general, and rather than giving those "ignorant attitudes" any more attention than they deserve, I feel it's better to concentrate that time and energy into educating those who are ready to receive more insight, and you wont be able to spot that quality in a person exhibiting a bad attitude if all you're focused on is how renk their attitude is. You have to be able to see beyond that.

Over the years, I've learnt that there's such a thing as being totally ignorant to another person's ignorance. You can't always resolve issues like these by way of forced fed education. Lead that horse toward water the best you can, then leave them alone to decide for themselves when they're ready to start drinking, if at all. The moment you have someone feeling offended for whatever reason, will be the same moment they shutdown and start saying "NO" like an immature child to everything you're trying to clarify for them. Funny enough, that sort of thing actually happens very often around here on this forum!

How I chose to break it down is as follows: I'm not their parent; I'm not their teacher; I'm a person focused on doing the job I'm being paid to do, so that needs to define my approach for doing business with people. Fees wise, I clarify everything I can think of for them up front, so there is very little room for dispute later on. Any questions, they can hop online and refer to my website or just ask me about it, in which I'll just reiterate what's already written on my website. No BS, no debating, it is what it is. Don't like it, they're always free to work with someone else. In most cases, people end up respecting that firm approach and work commences and gets done without any major issues. Those looking to troll and use their studio session as an opportunity to give someone a hard time get turned off by that approach and go elsewhere, saving me the trouble. When you have no time for foolishness, you have to act like you have no time for foolishness.
Old 4 days ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PettyCash View Post
I meant "complaining" in the sense of allowing any feelings of discouragement over the matter. Ignorance of that caliber will always exist in people, in general, and rather than giving those "ignorant attitudes" any more attention than they deserve, I feel it's better to concentrate that time and energy into educating those who are ready to receive more insight, and you wont be able to spot that quality in a person exhibiting a bad attitude if all you're focused on is how renk their attitude is. You have to be able to see beyond that.

Over the years, I've learnt that there's such a thing as being totally ignorant to another person's ignorance. You can't always resolve issues like these by way of forced fed education. Lead that horse toward water the best you can, then leave them alone to decide for themselves when they're ready to start drinking, if at all. The moment you have someone feeling offended for whatever reason, will be the same moment they shutdown and start saying "NO" like an immature child to everything you're trying to clarify for them. Funny enough, that sort of thing actually happens very often around here on this forum!

How I chose to break it down is as follows: I'm not their parent; I'm not their teacher; I'm a person focused on doing the job I'm being paid to do, so that needs to define my approach for doing business with people. Fees wise, I clarify everything I can think of for them up front, so there is very little room for dispute later on. Any questions, they can hop online and refer to my website or just ask me about it, in which I'll just reiterate what's already written on my website. No BS, no debating, it is what it is. Don't like it, they're always free to work with someone else. In most cases, people end up respecting that firm approach and work commences and gets done without any major issues. Those looking to troll and use their studio session as an opportunity to give someone a hard time get turned off by that approach and go elsewhere, saving me the trouble. When you have no time for foolishness, you have to act like you have no time for foolishness.
I can't agree more with you on not wasting your time with the ignorant ones. It just sucks when there is a massive abundance of them daily now a days oppose to even a decade or even 5 years ago. The majority of ignorance just seems to be rising more from a few too the 'Power of 10' as of late IMO.

But like you mentioned, it's best not to waste energy on debating with ones who care not to learn and broaden their minds in music.
Old 4 days ago
  #15
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Thread Starter
I have created so much content on our studio website, it's a waste of time.

I just think that it's funny. I just say studio time includes mixing. Mastering is something that you do when your project is complete or you're releasing it.

For every instance of lack of knowledge, there is an opportunity.
Old 4 days ago
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
Just make sure they know the difference between the pseudo mastering you do for the one song and the mastering that is done for an album release.
If you can get them up to speed on what "pseudo" mastering is, then of course. Otherwise, same issue as OP stated initially.
Old 4 days ago
  #17
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The people going to this thread may not understand what the two things are:

Let's make a definition:

Mixing: Combining of audio tracks into a listening format. Most commonly stereo, also includes 4way(quad), 5.1 way(surround), 7.1way(theater?), 8way(Imax?) systems.

Mastering: Editing of listening format tracks into a program like an LP or sound for vid.

And here is where most mix it up. Using EQ and compression and effects on the mix is not mastering, that's the tail end of the mixing process. However most consider that the first step of the mastering process. This is why the term mastering is used to describe the process of EQ and compression over a mix.
Old 4 days ago
  #18
Mixing and mastering mixing and mastering mixing and mastering mixing and mastering mixing and mastering mixing and mastering
Old 3 days ago
  #19
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Storyville's Avatar
My experience: a lot of people don't parse the differences correctly, even those who believe they do.

I always include a reference master with my mixes, which is viable as a master for digital release or as a file generate reproduction from. I don't advertise "mixing and mastering" because that attracts the wrong attention. But it's not exactly incorrect either.
Old 3 days ago
  #20
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0000's Avatar
 

Just call it Maxtering from now on, problem solved.
Old 3 days ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0000 View Post
Just call it Maxtering from now on, problem solved.
why not mixtering? It's actually good idea, why this obsession with treating mastering of even one song as some kind of black magic and necessity? Good mix elevated to the proper level should be enough, mastering shouldn't change too much anyway, if it is then the mix is just bad.
Old 3 days ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
why not mixtering? It's actually good idea, why this obsession with treating mastering of even one song as some kind of black magic and necessity? Good mix elevated to the proper level should be enough, mastering shouldn't change too much anyway, if it is then the mix is just bad.
Yeah Mixtering, even better.
Old 3 days ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batlanyard View Post
If you can get them up to speed on what "pseudo" mastering is, then of course. Otherwise, same issue as OP stated initially.
I don't understand why that would be difficult. It takes virtually zero effort for me to explain it and they always understand it. When I deliver the mixes, there are two folders. One says "24 bit final mixes" which are the actual mixdowns. The other sayd "client reference mixes" and that has the mixes with a limiter on, tops and tails trimmed, and dithered to 16 bits. If they don't understand what mastering is, I just tell them what the "client reference mixes are " (basically, mastered version in that they are up to volume) and they are there for promo and internal use until the album gets mastered. Some clients are on ridiculously tiny budgets that don't allow them to get a decent mastering engineer, in which case they can release the ones I gave them. It's not a big deal for a single because there's no context really. But I always advise them to get a mastering engineer. They always understand. So if people are having a hard time explaining the difference between a reference you give them as a single-song master and actual mastering by a mastering engineer, then I think those folks need to work on their communication skills.

I DO have to ask though: who here is giving clients mixes WITHOUT a reference mix or single song master or pseudo-master???... whatever you want to call it, it's all the same thing. Because if you AREN'T giving your clients one of those with every song, you probably SHOULD.
Old 3 days ago
  #24
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Thread Starter
I've mastered close to 100 CD projects. Mastering a song vs a CD Project are two totally different things IMHO.

Like I said originally, there is an art to it. It's not about getting it loud or eq or compression or flowing together. It's ALL OF THAT and then some. It's about making a project sound as one, sounding like a trip through the soundscape of an album. The technical stuff goes even deeper than that. It's more than I can explain to an typical artist, because they don't understand it. Even a top level artists don't understand what it involves, they just know that "it sounds better". Maybe the more technically inclined artists and producers understand what's going on, but the aspect and art going through the process has been dumbed down to bundling the service into mixing for the unknowing.

Mastering is going the way of $10 dollar beat leasing. i.e. landr mastering...which is sad.

When I do get the chance to master a project for someone, they do see the advantages of it. I almost always have repeat customers.
Old 2 days ago
  #25
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Old 2 days ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@PettyCash what's your site?
Divulging that sort of info would instantly break my anonymity.
Old 2 days ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PettyCash View Post
Divulging that sort of info would instantly break my anonymity.
What, are you famous? Are you scared of the paparazzi? Or just in a witness protection program?
Old 2 days ago
  #28
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This misconception is not totally a misconception. I know a few studios that a jointly owned by a mixing engineer and a mastering engineer so they can truly provide you tracking, mixing, and mastering in a package. Then I know a few other studios where they offer a package, but it isn't all done in the same studio. Then I know way to many studios where I wouldn't be happy with the results, but I know clients who are, where one person will track, mix, master, photo shoot and do a video. The studio owners are offering these packages and many people who are using the services are happy. In some cases it's legit, in others, you are kind of getting hobby level across the board, but again, if the client is happy, they are happy.

I think it's on the mixing engineers and mastering engineers to explain where they are different. I even keep files for my clients of various engineers who are both good, and bad, just to show someone I am working with the difference in quality (and price) so they can make a decision, and I don't mix more than a rough myself. I don't offer tracking services publicly, but if someone wants a beat, and is local, I could legitimately track a song that could be then mixed, and then mastered with better results than many of the studios in their budget. Really, the bigger point is that if someone wants a beat from me, I want them to have confidence in the next steps so they are not on their own.

Simply put, give your clients the correct information. Some seriously do not give a **** about sound and will always go the cheapest route. Others will never compromise at all and will pay top dollar for everything, professional or not. Most will play the middle, best bang for the buck. Obviously a mixing engineer is not likely to refer another mixing engineer but if they got you, they know what's up. I don't like to make songs that sound bad so I do my best to educate, it's on the person to decide what route to take.

Getting rid of the full service, half quality studio is not going to happen. Look at how many people on this board absolutely refuse to ever go to a studio, consider it a waste of money because they could improve their setup, but are not even in the ball park of what they want. These half quality studios are a huge jump for someone who isn't even in the realm of quality. In fact, how many people want to make beats, track vocals, mix, and master their own work so they can have "full control", yet won't even consider room treatment because that digs into another equipment purchase, often a LDC which will need room treatment. Those people are so hard to get into a studio, and the people I have convinced to shell out the cash, if even just to understand what life is like when working with experts, they have a serious change of heart about quality vs. ownership.

I actually keep unmixed, only leveled sessions (when I can get them) of bigger name rappers in good studios, just to show that their vocals through good equipment in a good environment sound better than most amateur mixes, that someone spent hours on.

I guess this is a semi rant, but it's amazing how off people are on what the quality should be before mixing, so it's hard to get those people any idea of what a property mixed and mastered track they did should sound like. They know how other people sound, don't get me wrong, they just want to dream about when they have the skills of a amazing team in place in their bedroom studio and are committed to fight for bad quality for years.
Old 2 days ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
What, are you famous? Are you scared of the paparazzi? Or just in a witness protection program?
Actually I don't blame @PettyCash regarding the anonymity on a forum. Whether he is famous or not it's a conscious reason why most may or may not want to disclose who they are regarding Music Production/Engineering etc. I personally think it's more of a humble reason to communicate on a forum for the purpose of learning, teaching or acknowledging different views points from others on Professional, Intermediate or amateur levels of Engineering & Production in Hip hop. I've been on other forums where many are who have evil intentions, narcassistic, biopolar or just plain schizophrenic pyromaniacs..etc.. Yes..even in the world of Music Production believe it or not.... But that is a whole other topic!
Old 2 days ago
  #30
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Thread Starter
It's an insult to ME's for an recording engineer with a plugin to say that they mastered it.

I think this is way more prevalent with newbies, but where is the hell are they getting the term "mixed and mastered" from? It must be coming from somewhere....
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