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Old 20th July 2018
Gear Addict
chazmar's Avatar

This all got a little confusing but I'm going to answer "What should I do on an outboard mastering solution with 5K?"

Well, beware the "room treatment" and "monitoring" hype - If logic serves me correctly, if you can hear a finely produced master with full spectrum high quality headphones, well ..wouldn't it stand to reason that you can "produce" what you are hearing ...through full spectrum high quality headphones? The main problem you're going to run into is cork-sniffing regarding rooms and monitors. You don't not need to invest "a lot" on money into these things as I've been using Paradigm Studio 100 tower monitors that I bought $900 used for the set. Some might cork-sniff that you need to spend $15,000 for a set of monitors, but mine are fantastic and function fantastically at a fraction of the price. One luxury from doing this for a long time is that you know what you need AND you learn to know WHAT YOU DON'T NEED and what IS cork-sniffing.

Now to answer you're question: 5K ain't going to get you much. I've got a 8U rack full of the necessary processing gear for mastering and it's still 15K. Cork-sniffing would have you blowing all that on an eq OR a compressor, but it's not necessary by any means. Used gear is the key though - you can get each necessary component for under 2K that would certainly be sufficient for mastering. However, you're still looking at 8 to 10K for modest but fully capable setup.

You're going to need a little (double) the money for the outboard solution. Add another grand for some room treatment that IS necessary to a degree, but nowhere near cork-sniff land.