|Posted: 03 Mar 2007 22:13 Post subject: Re: Worlds First Visual Mastering System
|isn't it funny, my audiophile friends, that this idea never took off?
since 2003, you'd have thought that the advances in technology, not least of which in the
audio business, would have made these "mastering-engineer-in-a-box" commonplace on just
about every pc running audio software, all around the globe! why, then, do we not master
everything ourselves? i'll tell you why... it's because you can't replace the skill of an
experienced, gifted mastering engineer. with ANYTHING!
sure, we might see wavelabs' software brandied about all the time, and sure, i'm a real
big fan of the L2 (both software AND hardware versions). but these items only make it
easier to master our bedroom-recorded tracks, which lets face it, will never see the light
of day, and only your mates will ever listen to them anyway!
saying that mastering engineers will be made redundant by a piece of new software is like
saying that a new synth will make all guitarists redundant. just because the tools are
there to do something in a relative and alternate manner, does NOT mean that the 'old'
ways are either outdated, or worthy of being replaced.
the sonic qualities of digital, by it's very nature, tend to give less warmth and feel
than trditional analogue. while many recordings today utilise digital from recording
stage, right through mixing and post, the final mastering is almost ALWAYS outsourced for
any commercial release. and these professional mastering engineers ALWAYS work in
so the software just isn't the same as the hardware older brothers of the mastering
domain, and just can't impart the same sense of feeling and harmonic distortion that we've
all grown to accept and love in music. and then we come to the fact that mastering
engineers generally have just about the best listening ears you will ever come accross.
let me ask, how many of you can pick a single frequency out of a wall of pink noise as it
is taken out? how many of you would be able to say that "we need about 2dB worth at 5k"?
(nb: for those who aren't aware, the average human ear percepts a 3dB increase in level as
the smallest increase that they can physically hear. most people will not even NOTICE if
you take a fader up by 2dB during a song!). i'd guess next to no-one! and if the
finely-honed skills of a talented and gifted mastering engineer are what's going to give
me half a million album sales over a demo that MIGHT get me a gig sometime, i know which
option i'm taking!
for the record, i'm a freelance FOH engineer, working with bands from all over the shop.
i've worked as a recording engineer, and done my fair share of mixing and post work as
well. but while all the bands i've worked with might mess around with recording demos in
their home studios every once in a while, they've ALWAYS, without fail given over their
tapes for mastering at the completion of album tracking. and i dare say, they always
will...! i know that in all my experience, i'm still not good enough to say that i could
master at the levels of the Rick O'Neils of this world. i wish i were, but most of us
anyone who wants to chat about engineering, and what it can do for your band, would do
well to contact an engineer and chat with them about it. find out what they they do at a
gig - do they "set and forget" and hope for the best, or do they actually listen to your
show, HELPING make your gig a success? why do they use some of the equipment with all the
funny knobs and dials and guages on it? does it actually DO anything? if there's something
you want to know, find out. ask. don't live in the dark. drop me a line if you like, and
if i can't help you, i'll help you find someone who can!
i'll finish by saying that machines simply CAN'T be made that have that touch of whatever
it is that makes a band sound just right. remember that "true perfection has to be
imperfect, i know that that sounds foolish but it's true" - Noel Gallagher, Oasis, "Little
i hope now that my little rant ia over, but i'd love to hear anyone else's opinions on
technology, how we use it to best effect, why planes can stay in the air, and why speed
was such a crap movie! if you have anything to add to any of these threads, drop me a line
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