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Level riding in classical music. Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 1 week ago
  #91
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Here are Tony Faulkner's thoughts on compression and limiting for classical (he uses it within SADIE) ....start at 15:00 mins in, and again at 21:10 : >>> YouTube
Old 6 days ago
  #92
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Here are Tony Faulkner's thoughts on compression and limiting for classical (he uses it within SADIE) ....start at 15:00 mins in, and again at 21:10 : >>> YouTube
Thanks for sharing that. Good stuff!

I happened upon the idea of very low compression ratios with very low thresholds a long time ago... although in my case it was more of a crutch to hide my lack of basic compression skills.

The result is a little more forgiving than other methods, so it's helped me out a few times. I use compression and limiting so rarely that I've never gotten good at it.
Old 6 days ago
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
Thanks for sharing that. Good stuff!

I happened upon the idea of very low compression ratios with very low thresholds a long time ago... although in my case it was more of a crutch to hide my lack of basic compression skills.

The result is a little more forgiving than other methods, so it's helped me out a few times. I use compression and limiting so rarely that I've never gotten good at it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
The impression I'm getting so far is that most people here are falling into one of two general camps (and that those two camps don't play particularly well with each other!)

One camp never wants to doctor the recording, and the other targets something pretty close to the LUFS based broadcast standards.

For my part, I'm so rarely in a listening environment that would support the full dynamic range, that it's a no-brainer to try some leveling in post (and just to clarify, I never had any intention of riding levels during recording. I understand the benefits in the analog realm, but with decent digital gear, I see no benefit.)

I'm going to make an attempt at fader automation leveling of my current organ project, targeting something around your -21 to -23 range and see how it goes. I'll certainly also keep a mix that retains the full dynamics for any future use. I'll probably be back with more questions.

For now, if anyone is willing to share tips and tricks on technique, I'm all ears! How fast of adjustments do you make? Is it 1dB/10 seconds, like in the Mike Skeet article, or are you willing to go much faster? If there's an especially large drop from loud to soft, but the soft section only lasts 10-15 seconds, do you just leave it quiet? It's too short to use the slow ramp method on, but in imperfect listening environments, it basically means 10-15 seconds of dead air.

I'd love to hear more about the mechanics of the process. Also, if there are more good articles on the subject, feel free to share those rather than having to type a whole bunch. Thanks in advance!
besides considering the usual things...

[doing level reduction in two steps: setting up a compressor with slower/lower settings and a limiter with faster/steeper settings, fast enough to catch transients but without killing the attack - that's why not all the dynamic processing should be done while mastering but at least some upon mixing, namely on tracks which are notorious for pushing up levels/have heavy peaks]

...here's a hint at how some jünger devices can be configured: their level magic tool is available as a plug-in (their multi-loop compressor unfortunately not), their hardware devices are very expensive though (except for their old d0x and b4x series which can be found relatively cheap).

their gear is clearly designed to be used for broadcasting; nevertheless, i found good use for both live and studio applications (mixing and mastering) to keep levels under control/within a predefined range (almost) without introducing any audible artefacts: imo it's pretty hard to make a mix sound bad feeding in through a jünger (unless the mix is sub-par or you're using it with the most extreme settings)...

how is this related to level riding? well, it's automated level riding!
Attached Thumbnails
Level riding in classical music.-juenger_constant_output_loudness.jpg  

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 5 days ago at 04:18 PM.. Reason: edited/info added
Old 6 days ago
  #94
Lives for gear
BBC Radio used to try and fit music into 22 dB of dynamic,ie the BBC PPM.
The trick was to lower the pot on the pianissimo section and hope the TX limiter didn't knock you off the air
It worked pretty well, however silence would trigger all sorts of auto switch off on remote sites
So due diligence was required
Much better than Optimod though imho
Old 5 days ago
  #95
Lives for gear
Maybe related to this issue, maybe not...anyway here's an interesting piece on the value of mastering that came in my newsfeed today from Recording magazine...see if it rings any bells for you:

In the next two installments, we talk to mastering engineer Jim Wilson, who’s worked with everyone from Bob Mould to Richard Thompson. In this quick interview, we focus on one simple question: what does the mastering engineer bring to the table that you can’t do yourself?
***
If you’re dealing with a new client who’s never worked with a mastering engineer before, who’s set aside a bit of money to bring you onboard, and he’s on the phone asking, “I’m doing this because I’ve heard good things about the mastering process from folks who have done it, but I confess I don’t know what’s going to happen... what should I expect?” How do you answer that?

A lot of it is, I may be the only professional working on the project. The artist bought some gear at his store, he’s been working on it for a few years, it sounds pretty good, but I’m the only person who does this for a living who’s going to touch this CD before it goes off. And I do a record every day, and I have for 20 years... there’s a lot to be said for that experience.
We are giving the artist a predictable playback experience, whether it’s on a nice stereo, over headphones, in a car, on outdoor speakers at the bar, your grandpa’s Klipsch system, your friend’s computer setup... it’s going to sound reliably consistent.

Their record may sound amazing. I don’t know, I haven’t heard it yet. I might hear it and say, “You know what? I’m not going to do a damn thing to this record.” But that doesn’t happen very often... even on great projects, I can hear something I can do to improve the sound of the final product. There may be a lot I can do to improve the sound. The point is, a lot of what I’m doing is that form of sound improvement... not things like making it work on vinyl, reducing the low end on the sides or whatever. Now it’s things like, for example, “You’ve overcompressed the vocals and the sibilants are cutting my ears off, I’m crying here every time I hear an S out of the guy’s mouth.” So I do de-essing... a lot of de-essing.

Sometimes people come in and they have no idea they’ve got basic electrical problems. The whole mix has its polarity inverted 180 degrees. I have no idea how it happened—maybe your mixer and interface disagree on whether Pin 2 or Pin 3 is hot, but you’ve got a mismatch. Sometimes it’s because the samples in your loop player are inverse-polarity; they go in wrong and the result is wrong.

“Well, what does that mean?” I explain that in a car, where the speakers are overwound for forward excursion because if they go backwards you hit the door, you won’t get clean playback... every time the kick drum hits, the driver goes splat against the door instead of going forward and delivering the kick, so it sounds wrong. The singer sounds like he’s got his back to you... a lot of things happen, and I hear it all the time.

Cheap converters don’t have good DC removal filters in them, so you get big problems at the extreme low end. There’s a lot of nonmusical electrical noise that you don’t want the speakers to have to reproduce, it takes a ton of power and adds nothing to the music. If there’s problems there, below 10 Hz, we get rid of it and all of a sudden, “Wow, I can turn it up and it’s clean!”

A lot of times, the recording’s done in rooms that are less than perfect. So they use a lot of directional microphones and get a buildup of proximity effect across everything. So everything has this artificial bloom from 160 to 400 Hz, really broad, and I have to see what I can lose there. It’s musical information, but there’s too much—it’s surplus to what the record needs, how can we reduce some of it without feeling like we’ve lost it? It’s still there, but it’s playing back cleanly rather than sounding like a big wooly mess.

Another problem is stereo imaging problems, especially with digital systems. In the old days of analogue tape we had the transformer effect; it “slowed down” and softened high-frequency transients, made the impulses a lot broader... That had the effect of taking those mics on the cymbals, not making them sound like they’re on the far edges of the sound field, but more in the room with the rest of the drums. With digital, you get very precise timing—close mics on the drums, cymbals on the edge of the sound field, suddenly your drum kit is 20 feet deep, the cymbals are in front of the singer. You’re not really seeing a reasonable landscape when you hear the music. I think a lot of people want to hear a stage.

A big problem with digital is that the analytical side of your brain is working overtime when you listen to this stuff; you’re analyzing the production and you’re not hearing the song. A lot of what I do is going through the process of removing the analysis so the music gets through.
Old 5 days ago
  #96
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Maybe related to this issue, maybe not...anyway here's an interesting piece on the value of mastering that came in my newsfeed today from Recording magazine...see if it rings any bells for you:

In the next two installments, we talk to mastering engineer Jim Wilson, who’s worked with everyone from Bob Mould to Richard Thompson. In this quick interview, we focus on one simple question: what does the mastering engineer bring to the table that you can’t do yourself?
***
If you’re dealing with a new client who’s never worked with a mastering engineer before, who’s set aside a bit of money to bring you onboard, and he’s on the phone asking, “I’m doing this because I’ve heard good things about the mastering process from folks who have done it, but I confess I don’t know what’s going to happen... what should I expect?” How do you answer that?

A lot of it is, I may be the only professional working on the project. The artist bought some gear at his store, he’s been working on it for a few years, it sounds pretty good, but I’m the only person who does this for a living who’s going to touch this CD before it goes off. And I do a record every day, and I have for 20 years... there’s a lot to be said for that experience.
We are giving the artist a predictable playback experience, whether it’s on a nice stereo, over headphones, in a car, on outdoor speakers at the bar, your grandpa’s Klipsch system, your friend’s computer setup... it’s going to sound reliably consistent.

Their record may sound amazing. I don’t know, I haven’t heard it yet. I might hear it and say, “You know what? I’m not going to do a damn thing to this record.” But that doesn’t happen very often... even on great projects, I can hear something I can do to improve the sound of the final product. There may be a lot I can do to improve the sound. The point is, a lot of what I’m doing is that form of sound improvement... not things like making it work on vinyl, reducing the low end on the sides or whatever. Now it’s things like, for example, “You’ve overcompressed the vocals and the sibilants are cutting my ears off, I’m crying here every time I hear an S out of the guy’s mouth.” So I do de-essing... a lot of de-essing.

Sometimes people come in and they have no idea they’ve got basic electrical problems. The whole mix has its polarity inverted 180 degrees. I have no idea how it happened—maybe your mixer and interface disagree on whether Pin 2 or Pin 3 is hot, but you’ve got a mismatch. Sometimes it’s because the samples in your loop player are inverse-polarity; they go in wrong and the result is wrong.

“Well, what does that mean?” I explain that in a car, where the speakers are overwound for forward excursion because if they go backwards you hit the door, you won’t get clean playback... every time the kick drum hits, the driver goes splat against the door instead of going forward and delivering the kick, so it sounds wrong. The singer sounds like he’s got his back to you... a lot of things happen, and I hear it all the time.

Cheap converters don’t have good DC removal filters in them, so you get big problems at the extreme low end. There’s a lot of nonmusical electrical noise that you don’t want the speakers to have to reproduce, it takes a ton of power and adds nothing to the music. If there’s problems there, below 10 Hz, we get rid of it and all of a sudden, “Wow, I can turn it up and it’s clean!”

A lot of times, the recording’s done in rooms that are less than perfect. So they use a lot of directional microphones and get a buildup of proximity effect across everything. So everything has this artificial bloom from 160 to 400 Hz, really broad, and I have to see what I can lose there. It’s musical information, but there’s too much—it’s surplus to what the record needs, how can we reduce some of it without feeling like we’ve lost it? It’s still there, but it’s playing back cleanly rather than sounding like a big wooly mess.

Another problem is stereo imaging problems, especially with digital systems. In the old days of analogue tape we had the transformer effect; it “slowed down” and softened high-frequency transients, made the impulses a lot broader... That had the effect of taking those mics on the cymbals, not making them sound like they’re on the far edges of the sound field, but more in the room with the rest of the drums. With digital, you get very precise timing—close mics on the drums, cymbals on the edge of the sound field, suddenly your drum kit is 20 feet deep, the cymbals are in front of the singer. You’re not really seeing a reasonable landscape when you hear the music. I think a lot of people want to hear a stage.

A big problem with digital is that the analytical side of your brain is working overtime when you listen to this stuff; you’re analyzing the production and you’re not hearing the song. A lot of what I do is going through the process of removing the analysis so the music gets through.
My bull**** meter pegged at least three times reading this, but there is some good value.

Edit: What made me say "huh?" here. 1 - the notion that a car speaker moves more in one direction than the other. The physical limits are fixed, and there's no way for the speaker to "hit the door" based on the phase. The basket of the speaker is either in contact with the door or it isn't. 2. The buildup of proximity effect should be heard in the mix, it doesn't magically appear afterwards. 3. I don't see how the "overthinking about production" is limited to digital. It occurs in analog too.

What strikes me as true in this bit is that for lots of mastering projects it's the first time that a "pro" may be working on the production, in what should be a really good listening environment. That will reveal issues that may have escaped notice if the mixing happened in a poor environment. And regardless of analog or digital, by the time you are working on your "final" mix you are very familiar with the music, your ears may be tired, and you may be focusing on trees rather than the forest.

I started in this business when the point of "mastering" was to take a final mixed product that was as good as the team could make it, and alter that product in order to fit into the confines of lower-fidelity consumer media like vinyl, 8 track, or cassette. There were very specific limits that had to be respected and the Bob Ludwigs of the era were brilliant at making sure your product came through with as little damage as possible

When digital first came along, for a while the "mastering" part became two things: A second trusted pair of ears that might gently sculpt the overall sound, and someone who could assemble all the audio and metadata into something a CD manufacturer could use.

When the Loudness Wars began "mastering" was all about making your product as loud as possible with as little damage as possible - fitting into market-imposed (rather than physics-imposed) limits.

Today, I think that for really good productions, mastering in the creative sense shouldn't be necessary. The folks creating the final mix should be in a good listening space, should know what they're doing, and the final mix should be what the listeners ultimately get (Even if it's Plush taking a digital dub from his Stellavox!). I mean, that is the whole point of having the digital distribution and playback chain, after all. For lots of productions that are done in semi-pro settings, creative mastering can still add value.

If I ruled the world, you'd have the "final" mix from the mixing stage, and that would be the default listening experience. Mastering engineers could then add value by producing versions with limited dynamic range and eq changes suitable for broadcast (the "radio" version) or other formats.

I'm curious how much dynamic range limiting is taking place in the mix stage nowadays, particularly in pop. Are they really mixing this stuff with maybe 5-7 dB of range? Or is it being squashed in the mastering stage?

Sorry for the rant - but dynamic range is one of my pet peeves. When I remember how amazing the digital recordings of the early days (Brothers in Arms, Body and Soul) sounded, with ranges of 20 dB or more, you'd put on a CD and you'd feel like you were in the mixing room. Hell, on a couple records I worked on, you'd put on the CD IN the mixing room and it was like a homecoming. Now I can't stand to listen to a pop album all the way through - my ears are tired by the fourth song.

Last edited by TMetzinger; 5 days ago at 03:38 PM..
Old 3 days ago
  #97
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Yannick's Avatar
 

So you get to the fourth song ?
Most often I have to switch off before the first chorus ...

Or I am being taken to the ER in a big laughing cramp because of the overdone obligatory autotune fx.

But I am on the same page here, mastering should not be necesseray, not in the way it has become standard.
Old 3 days ago
  #98
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Today, I think that for really good productions, mastering in the creative sense shouldn't be necessary. The folks creating the final mix should be in a good listening space, should know what they're doing, and the final mix should be what the listeners ultimately get (Even if it's Plush taking a digital dub from his Stellavox!). I mean, that is the whole point of having the digital distribution and playback chain, after all. For lots of productions that are done in semi-pro settings, creative mastering can still add value.
One or two quick comments.
I can't disagree with this more...
The single most important job of a mastering engineer is taking a group of disparate recordings, recorded and mixed at different times and make them feel to the listener as part of a cohesive group rather than a bunch of "singles". I've mastered about 3000 records over the years and can count on one hand the number of times I didn't need to make adjustments to individual tracks to make the individual elements fit into the big picture. There is nothing worse than a record that is a compilation of a bunch of singles, each which sound fine on their own, but make no sense as part of a group. Good mastering takes all these individual elements and makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Even on classical projects, mastering is a big part of the process. More often than not, a master is made up of material that was recorded at different times and with different forces. Often there are years in between the recording and mixing of a record, and when it gets coupled to be released. In these cases mastering is required to make the pieces work together on a single record. Perfect example is a record I did last year for Reference Recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony of Beethoven: Symphony No 3 “Eroica”; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1. These pieces were recorded 6 years apart and mixed 2 years apart. Listening to the record as it was being put together, there were some tonal differences created by the different recorders, converters, and microphone placement and choices. In mastering we dealt with perspective and frequency balance differences, level differences, and did a fair bit of volume sculpting to make the two different pieces of music inhabit the same space. It is this attention to detail that makes the difference between an "acceptable" master and a good master.
Finally, I credit my time as a full time mastering engineer (working on everything but classical music) as being the single most important experience in my development as a classical recording engineer. Mastering poorly engineered hip hop is the same as balancing orchestras. In both cases you can not make changes to one element without having an effect on another. It requires you to listen to the raw material, have the ability to know what the finished product should sound like and have the skill set to realize the vision...
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
Old 3 days ago
  #99
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
One or two quick comments.
I can't disagree with this more...
The single most important job of a mastering engineer is taking a group of disparate recordings, recorded and mixed at different times and make them feel to the listener as part of a cohesive group rather than a bunch of "singles". I've mastered about 3000 records over the years and can count on one hand the number of times I didn't need to make adjustments to individual tracks to make the individual elements fit into the big picture. There is nothing worse than a record that is a compilation of a bunch of singles, each which sound fine on their own, but make no sense as part of a group. Good mastering takes all these individual elements and makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Even on classical projects, mastering is a big part of the process. More often than not, a master is made up of material that was recorded at different times and with different forces. Often there are years in between the recording and mixing of a record, and when it gets coupled to be released. In these cases mastering is required to make the pieces work together on a single record. Perfect example is a record I did last year for Reference Recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony of Beethoven: Symphony No 3 “Eroica”; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1. These pieces were recorded 6 years apart and mixed 2 years apart. Listening to the record as it was being put together, there were some tonal differences created by the different recorders, converters, and microphone placement and choices. In mastering we dealt with perspective and frequency balance differences, level differences, and did a fair bit of volume sculpting to make the two different pieces of music inhabit the same space. It is this attention to detail that makes the difference between an "acceptable" master and a good master.
Finally, I credit my time as a full time mastering engineer (working on everything but classical music) as being the single most important experience in my development as a classical recording engineer. Mastering poorly engineered hip hop is the same as balancing orchestras. In both cases you can not make changes to one element without having an effect on another. It requires you to listen to the raw material, have the ability to know what the finished product should sound like and have the skill set to realize the vision...
As always, YMMV.
All the best,
-mark
I appreciate your comments, and fully agree that the "album" aspect of mastering was something I'd overlooked in my post. Even then, however, I'd argue that the producer and artist should have a vision of the overall album, and should either achieve that vision during the mixing stage, by mixing all the songs, then making relative level adjustments by "remixing" either the multitracks or the 2 track masters, OR they should be present with the mastering engineer for that process.

That's not practical when you're assembling a greatest hits package, or when you're taking drastically different performances in classical music as you described for the Pittsburgh Symphony. In those cases, I think the Mastering engineer still has a significant and valuable role.

Thanks for the thoughtful counterargument!
Best wishes,
Tim
Old 3 days ago
  #100
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Yannick's Avatar
 

95% of the records i am involved in are recorded in 3-4 consecutive days. If they are spaced, we make detailed notes, so we can replicate the setup.

What you are talking about could be called compilation discs, and of course some remixing or mastering will have to be done.

I would be inclined to call it remixing, prior to mastering.

I agree with Tmetzinger, the concept of mastering has become to wide and widespread. I even know of people mixing albums in a certain defective way, because the vocals and drums will sit nicely in the mix AFTER the mastering IF you work with this certain mastering engineer...

In my book, that is shifting responsability to another person.

I agree that a lot of recordings do really benefit the hearing/correcting by a seasoned mastering pro. But maybe the percentage is much too high.
Old 2 days ago
  #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yannick View Post
95% of the records i am involved in are recorded in 3-4 consecutive days. If they are spaced, we make detailed notes, so we can replicate the setup.

What you are talking about could be called compilation discs, and of course some remixing or mastering will have to be done.

I would be inclined to call it remixing, prior to mastering.

I agree with Tmetzinger, the concept of mastering has become to wide and widespread. I even know of people mixing albums in a certain defective way, because the vocals and drums will sit nicely in the mix AFTER the mastering IF you work with this certain mastering engineer...

In my book, that is shifting responsability to another person.

I agree that a lot of recordings do really benefit the hearing/correcting by a seasoned mastering pro. But maybe the percentage is much too high.
Mastering can be anything from carefully sculpting a completed mix using either hardware or DAW based compressors, limiters, summing boxes (for stems), eq, spatial tools eg image wideners....or just shipping it off to be LANDR'd ?

Before LANDR there was a global eq and spectral energy 'homogenizer' called HarBal which claimed to be able to minimize the disparities between various mixes and sources (as Mark mentioned above), and seemed to be able to create a unified whole album out of such disparate sources. Did it ever work as claimed...is it still around...did it ever gain any traction or credibility as a working tool ?

My biggest problem is the 'chain of command' in the hierarchy and workflow of the typical album/CD...at least under the 'old regime' record industry...are things different now ? In other words, an album would be recorded and mixed by band, producer, engineer. Mix would likely be approved by the same parties plus record company. Then the mix would be sent off to mastering and CD/record replication.

Notice the embeddedness of the mastering-CD/record replication process...almost an inseparable pair of agents...and more importantly, no necessary feedback loop back to the band/producer/mixer/engineer after mastering (and before it goes to replication)

Thus a huge amount of trust is imbued in the mastering person/house to get it right (ie to retain the integrity of the final mix and ensure the best chance that it survives the replication process)...yet there seems to be no necessary feedback loop from mastering back to band/producer/mix and balance engineers to review, approve or reject the final master.

A lot of damage can be inflicted between final mix and final master: excessive limiting, severe dynamics compression, induced distortion and 'volume maximizing' , excessive sibilance, bass-enhancing etc etc. As much as mastering is claimed to minimize and correct the mistakes of poor mixing, there seems to be no necessary & complementary checks and balances (by the "original creative team") on the final output from the mastering house, prior to replication.

Surely the mastering process should also be held to account prior to replication...yet this seems not to be the case. In the LP days, "test pressings" were a way of wresting back some accountability before general release...but I doubt this happens much nowadays (despite the consummate ease and speed of high density file transfers across space and distance at lightning speed) ?

Something is wrong with this picture....and more to the point it's the reason I've made a mission of learning and using the various incarnations of Wavelab on my final mixes....to try and minimize the need for any subsequent mastering, and thus wrangle back control of my mixed output.

Do I seem less than impressed and respectful of the exalted position of (and assumption that they are the uncontested repairers and final arbiters and gatekeepers of recorded quality) mastering ? Too damn right....

Last edited by studer58; 2 days ago at 03:05 PM..
Old 2 days ago
  #102
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tourtelot's Avatar
This is an interesting thread and goes to my feelings about my, now retired from, career.

I spent many years in the motion picture business and retired feeling like all the craft had been thrown away due to the advent of technology that allowed anyone with an iPhone to "make a movie." No need for careful pre-production, careful work by all the departments chasing an exquisite experience, something magic for big-screen viewers to watch, think about, hum tunes from, reflect, and maybe revisit.

Now, it's pretty much "if it moves, shoot it." And it all makes me sad. Which only goes to show that I am an old curmudgeon, longing for the "better days" never to be seen again. Doesn't seem to bother my kids; their viewing experience is fine with them. Doesn't seem to bother Netflix, or Hulu or Google or Apple who continue to make billions of dollars from their efforts.

It is just the way it's done today. Nobody paints cathedral ceilings anymore either.

And that's okay, I guess.

D.
Old 1 day ago
  #103
Lives for gear
Doug, enduring and well-made films are still being made in all quarters of the world, using fresh perspectives and approaches which incorporate the current and emerging technologies most effectively. Just don't look for them to originate from the dried-out, cliched well that is Hollywood. Big budgets don't equal great art....but it can be a big driver for complacency and repetition (how many more Mary Poppins and A Star is Born does the world need ?)
Old 1 day ago
  #104
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Plush's Avatar
I've had plenty of mastering guys tell me, no, I don't want to do anything to it because I can't improve on it.
Old 1 day ago
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I've had plenty of mastering guys tell me, no, I don't want to do anything to it because I can't improve on it.
I'd be very happy to hear such a statement from a ME, but 2 things can often get in the way of that:ego and the desire to make money by 'intervening'

I'd be happier to pay them for not intervening....for their professional decision that they can't improve on it
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