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What do Mastering Technicians do?

Discussion in 'Electronic Music Producers Forum' started by SENSEi, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. SENSEi

    SENSEi TRIBE Promoter

    I've always wanted to know.
    What will they do to my mix?

    How different might my mix sound after visiting a mastering technician.

    Do they study to become techs?
    Are they that different from regular studio techs?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    SENSEi <--Pleased to ask the first relevant question in this new forum
  2. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    Depends in what condition your tune is in or how much you've done to it already..

    Essentially they will apply compression & eq to the final cut..

    If you bring your tune with all the channels/tracks as separate files, then there is room for them to do more. It all depends on how much you are willing to trust them with.

    Usually experience in manipulating audio is what these guys have, but even then they can butcher your work because your tune may not need anything, but they may try to make noticable changes anyway and ruin the work as a result. I've seen this happen in a few instances.

    If you're not confidant in mastering with eqing, limiting/dynamic processing/compression and those type of post applications, then go for it.

    If you feel like learning more, there are lots of excellent articles out there on mastering.. just most of them are written for non-electronic genres.

    http://www.prorec.com is a good start for general advice and articles on everything from equipment to mastering.
  3. SENSEi

    SENSEi TRIBE Promoter


    Thanks dude.

    I have a feeling this might turn into the "Ask OTIS" forum.


    Know any good mastering houses in Toronto?
    What's the average cost to have a house/techno track mastered?

  4. beaker

    beaker TRIBE Member

    if you're going to spend the money on mastering an electronic production for a pressing, you might want to consider sending it to the UK or the US. i don't know that there are many mastering houses in toronto with experience in mastering house or techno. there could be some good ones though. but if there's a certain sound your're looking for, this is something to consider.
  5. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

  6. SENSEi

    SENSEi TRIBE Promoter

    So if I wanted to sound like "Daft Punk" I should send it to the same mastering engenieers that they use?

    Doubt I can afford that though.

    Subliminal's tracks always seem pretty tight.
    And the DoubleDown stuff to.

    I wonder if Hataris had "Spaced Invader" mastered, and if so where?

  7. OTIS

    OTIS TRIBE Member

    Who knows.. the cool thing about electronic music is that very often the producers are the engineers.. there is a wide spectrum of producers out there as far as ability goes.

    Daft punk uses compression as if it were an instrument.. so I assumme they do it themselves, or at least sit in on the sessions.
  8. cdp

    cdp TRIBE Member

    Hi Sensei.

    After reading all the replies, I thought I could chip in here with something. I'm hoping the mastering technician you mention is actually a mastering engineer.

    Mastering engineers are responsible for all the final preparations immediatly preceding sending a master to the plant. Although this can include alot of very boring duties, like setting times between songs, or crossfades, or perhaps transfers from 1" analog to the digital domain, the mastering engineer is very a much an artist.

    Things like matching levels between songs and compensating for frequency deficiencies really mess with the sound of your music, and therefore the mastering process becomes part of the creative process.

    Basically, if your mix isn't sounding the way you, or the mastering engineer, thinks it should, his objective will be to use a diverse set of tools to fix it. This could be a rack of custom built analog gear or a sonic solutions station, but it always includes a killer set of converters. Stuff that makes apogee look low-end, from companies like prism, benchmark or gml, for example.

    One of the very interesting things I've found is that many recording/mixing engineers think their experience automatically make them good mastering engineers. But mastering itself is very different from mixing, and trains a different type of listening. Good mastering is a product of many years of specific dedication in the area.

    I'm also on the lookout for a good mastering house here in Toronto! I've been told Metalworks does good work, but they're primarily a recording facility...

    Any other suggestions out there?

  9. Deus

    Deus TRIBE Member

    There are some industry standard mastering engineers, that can cost you up to 700 dollars/hour. I only think mastering is worth that much if your premaster sounds absolutely fantastic. Mastering won't make an OK mix incredible, but it will make a fantastic mix incredible.
  10. T

    T TRIBE Member

    Ofcourse Hatiras had it was mastered.
    the final cut went to Defected.

    then Jmajik played it at 45 and put a break overtop!

    :D :cool:
  11. DeepSix

    DeepSix TRIBE Promoter

    Back to my art vs. science thing, to me, mastering is so much more of an art than a science.

    Cause if it was a science, I could probably do it better ;)

    But there's something good mastering engineers have...a certain je ne sais quoi...that goes beyond science.

    And yeah, like most things...garbage in, garbage out...

    If you're going to use 8 bit samples, don't expect mastering to do tons and tons (though a good engineer can make anything sound better...the degree of "betterness" is directly correlated to the quality of the source material) - garbage in, garbage out.

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