In this episode I describe a simple, straightforward strategy to make your masters sound more like those of your favourite artists – whether you’re a beginner or a pro. I explain how to decide how loud you want to master your music, and how to make sure you achieve that without becoming a victim of the loudness war – and, using this method you’ll be able to asses objectively what you want your music to sound like, and figure out how to get there. [Read more…]
In this show we talk about distortion. Good distortion, bad distortion – and how to tell the difference. Find out what Ian REALLY thinks about distortion, how you can use it effectively in mastering – and when you should. What is soft clipping – and how do you use it ? Plus Ian explains why ALL audio processing is distortion, strictly speaking – and the benefits (and costs) of using it. [Read more…]
How to master for vinyl, including key problems to watch out for, plus: why Ian loves everything about vinyl (except for one thing); is vinyl better than CD; why most vinyl in the 80s was actually digital, not analogue (!); why hiss is your friend; what “HD vinyl” is, and why it might help fix that one thing Ian doesn’t like [Read more…]
Why you might NOT want to master your music – or get it mastered; when mastering ISN’T mastering; plus the problem with re-mastering; a brief tangent on Dave Grohl; can you master on the mix buss? And why deciding not to master is STILL mastering.
This week’s episode features a full-length interview with Matt Colton from Alchemy Mastering, who mastered James Blake’s Dynamic Range Day Award-winning “The Colour In Anything”.
Topics include the processing chain Matt used (and why it possibly doesn’t matter as much as you think it might); the limiter he used (which you may already have) and his favourite default settings for it; the unique story of how he became a mastering engineer – and why vinyl really DOES sometimes sound better than CD [Read more…]
Why “Dynamic Range Day” is a really bad name. And come to think of it, why “dynamic range” probably isn’t what you think it is. And neither are “dynamics”! And why the Loudness War hasn’t changed them. At least, not one kind – or not in the way that you think. Because physics. It’s complicated!
Plus special bonus topics: Autotune and Taylor Swift (!) [Read more…]
Can digital really sound as good as analogue ? Should you use analogue or digital gear when mastering ? Could higher sample rates be hurting your music ? What’s wrong with the phrase “in the box” ? Why is a digital photograph NOT a good analogy for a digital audio file ? Why does Ian think recorded sound is miraculous, and what does that have to do with the answers to all the previous questions ? [Read more…]
Some people may think this week’s topic is dull – but DON’T skip it !
If you follow Ian’s advice in this show it will have the single biggest impact on the quality of the results you can achieve in every area of audio work, not just mastering. It’s affordable, it’s simple and you need to do it. Listen now, then follow the links below!
At it’s heart, mastering is simple – but there are plenty of more sophisticated techniques available, too. In this show we talk about some of these – and why you might not want to use them. Topics include:
- Stereo width & M/S (mid-side) processing
- An impossible EQ challenge
- Stem mastering
- Mix buss processing
- Tape emulation & saturation
- How to make a production master
Loudness is still one of the hottest topics in mastering. In this episode we discuss why louder is better, but Too Loud is worse. And…
- Why you must set the gain FIRST
- How your plugins are fooling you
- Optimising dynamics for online loudness
- How loudness matching can be liberating
- 90% of mastering in nutshell [Read more…]