Alexander Magazine TM Current Issue

Vol 2 - Issue 7 - November 6, 2001

The Mastering Issue

Click these these category links to access all past and present Alexander articles:

| HOME & LIVE RECORDING | RECORDING | MIXING | PRODUCTION | MASTERING | DISTANCE STUDY | CATEGORY GUIDE |

FROM THE EDITOR

I'm probably best known as a mastering engineer - that's where I started in this industry.  My old trademark is "30 Million Sellers Can't Be Wrong"  - yup, I've actually mastered more than that many top hit records. 

Many newcomers don't know the importance of good mastering.  To this day, even I am amazed at how much louder and better a mix sounds with good mastering.  To hear this, check out how much better 2 bars of the into of a song can sound by clicking here.  This mastering job was done by Recording Institute of Detroit Students in class.  Then read some articles I have posted in this issue that give the secrets.

A MASTERING PRIMER

Having a certain program or piece of equipment doesn't mean you will do a good job mastering.  Knowing the media you are trying to master for and knowing the approach to the job is the basis of successful mastering.

In this Mastering Primer I give the basics that you need to use to get that excellent outcome, for any media.  Avoid the biggest mistake that newcomers make.  Click here for the primer.

A MASTERING EXAMPLE

Today there are many programs and devices that can make the mix sound loud.  It, however, takes knowledge and skill to make it sound both good and loud.  

In this Mastering Example I go over what was done to make our example mix sound 5 times louder and a whole lot better.   I give the steps, the programs and the settings used to achieve this.  Go here for the step by step procedure.

MASTERING AUDIO DEMOS

Muruga and the Global Village Ceremonial Band  released a world beat version of God Bless America that is awesome.  Our Computer  Music Technologies students mastered the mix with excellent results,  Our demo lets you hear how 5 levels of signal processing during mastering makes a startling improvement in sound.

The Muruga GVCB release is for the benefit of the NY 911 disaster relief fund.  We therefore will be making a donation  when you first download the mp3 CD quality demos.  You will have to register for the download and will receive access information on how to download the audio demos to your hard drive within 48 hours by e-mail.  Alexander subscribers go here to register for download.

ANALOG LEVELING

The old fashioned VU Meter as a valuable tool for knowing exactly how the mix will sound compared to other mixes.  If I observe a VU meter while playing a mix, I can pretty much determine what needs to be done in mastering to make it come on strong.

This tutorial article explains a system that I developed to analyze a mix with a VU meter which I then used in the mastering of over 30 hit records.  Go here to see the tutorial article.

30 MILLION SELLER INTERNET MASTERING

Well it's back to mastering for me. That's where I started in the industry some 38 years ago.  Recently I had to really get back into it to teach it - I discovered a couple of things.  One re-discovery was the thrill of enhancing audio - I love to make a difference in a mix.  Another discovery was that mastering is much like riding a bike - once you can do it well, you can do it well in the future.

So I'm starting this service, called "30 Million Seller Internet Mastering" where Alexander subscribers  can get me and my protégés mastering your mixes at an unbelievably nominal fee.  Go here for details.

Learning Mastering On The Job at Motown

In that afternoon I learned that I really didn't know enough to do the job and apparently the guy that trained me didn't have a clue either (of course it would have helped to be able to ask him).   I found out just how much trouble I was in when my boss told me (later in the week) that the president of the company had requested that the Disc Recording Engineer be fired because he was incompetent.  I wanted to yell: "Hey guys - do you realize that all I know is what this guy showed me????"

Part of REQ's "Our Motown Recording Heritage," the article details my first experiences at mastering. Go here for the article.

EQUALIZATION IN MASTERING

Equalization used in mastering is quite a different animal compared to equalization used during the recording, overdubbing and mixdown process.  You will quickly find that small changes make a big difference in the sound. 

The recording and mixing engineer blends the instruments' sounds with a recording console.  The mastering engineer has a console also, it is called the 10 band graphic equalizer.   Find out how to use the mastering engineer's console here.

Other Subjects:

QUIKSTUDY CERTIFICATIONS

Alexander Magazine is now delivering a series of Recording Institute's final examinations and placement tests via the web.   We are currently certifying Internet students as complete on the theory study for several courses and programs.  Go here for article.

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