Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty of debating all this guff just as much as anyone – but when we do, we often we miss several very large elephants in the mastering room with us. And this came out really clearly in a new interview I just did with Matt Butler from The Modern Producer website.
I really enjoyed the interview – it was relaxed, informal and covered a wide range of topics, including getting deeply nerdy at some points.
But while I was listening back, trying to find some juicy teasers to tempt you to listen to it with, I realised there was a clear trend in the things Matt and I were talking about.
Some of the things we discussed:
- Why you probably don’t need a purpose-built studio
- Why I don’t agonise about sample-rate conversion
- Why the type of dither you use probably doesn’t matter
- Why I don’t care what your mp3 encodes sound like
- Why you shouldn’t low-cut everything
- Why it probably doesn’t matter what mastering plugins you use
Any of these topics sound familiar ?!?
Overall, the message was clear:
90% of all online discussions about mastering are completely pointless
But wait – isn’t mastering all about agonising over subtle differences, about understanding the subtleties of tiny technical details and getting the music to sound the best it can possibly be ?
But the key is knowing exactly which subtleties and tiny differences really matter.
And until you do, worrying about all the other stuff is completely pointless.
Towards the end of the interview we start to talk about what those subtleties really are, and how you can start to hear those tiny differences for yourself.
But mastering is complicated.
And the risk is that if we spend too much time talking about it online, we can’t hear the wood for the trees. Or the elephants. Or something.
To listen to the full 1-hour interview on The Modern Producer for free, click here – you’ll also found out how I became a mastering engineer by accident (but was born to be one) and the importance of humping in my personal journey.