Jun 8, 2012
I’ve been mastering professionally for over 16 years, now, but I’m still learning all the time – and right now is no exception.
The reaction has been great – for example Rick sent me a message last week:
“I gotta say that the mastering course is ten-fold more than I expected, especially the Q & A. Rest assured that all your efforts to teach are going to really raise the recording standards as many people are realizing the value of your methods.”
Which is great to hear ! I was confident when I put the course together that people would find it really useful, but it’s still great to hear people say it : )
Teaching works both ways, though. They say that the best way to learn about your own subject is to try and teach it to someone, and what’s fascinating is that I’m learning from the course is that it’s not what I do that matters, it’s not even how, often – it’s why.
Reading the feedback and answering people’s questions in the Q&A podcasts, I’ve had to really dig deep and explain the reasons why I do things in a certain way, in a certain order – and why often I don’t do them. As I said to Björgvin from Audio Issues in an interview I did with him last night, it makes me realise again that when I’m mastering, people are sometimes paying me to do as little as possible !
But the little that I do can be crucially important – which means the choices of What and How need to be bang on the money.
And to get that right, I need to know why I’m making them.
Stage one ? Getting the levels right.
Choosing the right target level that you want to master to.
Choosing the right metering to measure that level.
And choosing the right volume level to listen at.
And only when those three elements are perfectly balanced, can you even begin to make the right judgements about everything else – EQ, compression, limiting, stereo processing, maybe even saturation or distortion…
But in the end, it’s understanding the goal that’s crucial.
Not the What, not the How, but the Why.
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