The Mastering Show

The Mastering Show Podcast

with Ian Shepherd and Jon Tidey

The Mastering Show #92 - These are not the LUFS you are looking for

February 20th, 2024 BY Jon Tidey1 Comment 

You can't go a day without someone telling you how loud your music should be, these days.

"Everything has to be -8 LUFS"

"EDM has to be -6 LUFS or louder"

"-11 is the perfect balance"

"Just master everything to -14"

...but they can't all be right !

In fact, none of them are, and even more importantly, they may not even be talking about the same thing. And the differences are really important. So in this episode I try explain really clearly and concisely:

  • The 3 different types of LUFS
  • The difference between them
  • Why it’s crucial to know which type you’re talking about
  • Why mastering to integrated targets makes no sense
  • When -14 LUFS isn’t loud enough – and why ?
  • Why it’s not about ‘how loud’, it’s about how you make it loud
  • Why integrated LUFS values are the result, not the goal of mastering 


TMS #67 - Minus 14 LUFS, or not ?

TMS #52 – DON’T aim for LUFS targets online

TMS #44 - Loudness Units 101

The Loudness Penalty website

The Mastering Show #91 - Mixing and mastering music for the movies with Alan Meyerson

December 19th, 2023 BY Jon Tidey1 Comment 

It’s virtually impossible that you haven’t heard music of some kind mixed by Alan Meyerson by this point - he’s one of the most prolific and successful film score mixers in the business.

And luckily for us, he’s also super-generous and open about the information he shares, including his perspectives on mixing and ‘mastering’ music for the movies. So in this episode we dig deep into all the details, including topics like:

  • Is there really such a thing as ‘mastering’ for film ?
  • What needs to be delivered, and what is the process ?
  • How loud does it need to be - are there any standards ?
  • When does Alan deliver mixes in Atmos, and why ?
  • How he uses the centre channel and surround channels
  • Why you might want to use saturation or pitch-shifting (!) in a movie score mix


Film score mixing with Alan Meyerson

Mixing with synths in Pirates of the Caribbean 

Alan’s videos on Mix With The Masters

TMS #81 - Dolby Atmos Mastering

Wholegrain Quartet DynPEQ

The Mastering Show #90 - Inter-sample peaks and True Peak limiting - the devilish details

October 13th, 2023 BY Jon TideyNo Comments 

Everyone is talking about inter-sample peaks and True Peak limiters - or in fact it’s more accurate to say they’re arguing about whether ISPs are audible or not, and whether True Peak limiters sound bad !

In this episode I’m joined by Alexey Lukin, iZotope’s “godfather of RX”, to talk in detail about exactly what ISPs are and why they’re so confusing - including:

  • How are inter-sample peaks measured, and why do you see different results with different meters ?
  • What are DSP overshoot peaks, and how are they different ?
  • What does over-sampling have to do with all this, and why is it important ?
  • Do True Peak limiters really sound bad, and how should we test them ?
  • Why will they NOT prevent lossy decoder clipping, sometimes ? And
  • What the hell are we supposed to do about all this ?!? 


iZotope RX

SRC Comparisons

Ian’s videos about ISPs & True Peak limiting:

Inter-sample peaks (ISPs) - are they REALLY inaudible ?

True Peak Limiters - do they REALLY sound worse?

TMS #64 - Aliasing - is it digital audio’s Achilles Heel ?

True Peak limiting filters

The Mastering Show #89 - Fundamentals for Podcasters with Matt Boudreau

August 5th, 2023 BY Jon TideyNo Comments 

If you’re not already listening to Matt Boudreau’s fantastic podcast Working Class Audio, you need to start now !

Matt is a highly respected mixing and mastering engineer who has recently moved into working in Dolby Atmos, where he’s already picked up some seriously impressive credits - oh, and also produces one of the top Audio podcasts around.

Which is why if I try to think of anyone better to learn the fundamentals of good audio for podcasting and journalism from… well, I can’t. And the great news is that Matt has put together a new “PodClass” course to help people with just that.

In this episode we talk about the course and what inspired it, but also plenty of other great stuff, including

  • Making the move from pro musician to audio engineer
  • Getting started in Atmos - workflow, dynamics and more
  • Work-Life balance - is it better to be a lark, or a night-owl ?
  • The secret advantages of running your own podcast...
  • …and the crucial importance of great audio (And what it has to do with COVID lockdowns !)

Enjoy - and if you want to try Matt’s course, make sure to use the discount code TMS to get a 30% discount and help support The Mastering Show at the same time !


The Working Class Audio Podcast

TMS #82 - Dynamics in Dolby Atmos

Justin Grey’s epic Atmos mastering YouTube video

Matt’s new PodClass course Sonic Fundamentals for Podcasters and Journalists (Use coupon code TMS to save !)

When - The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink (Spoiler - it doesn’t matter whether you’re a lark or an owl, but it is helpful to know which one you are...)

The Mastering Show #88 - Do DJs REALLY want loud masters ?

February 14th, 2023 BY Jon Tidey1 Comment 

DJs get a lot of flak, especially about loudness. There’s a deep-seated belief that “loud” masters are still a requirement for club music, and that DJs are somehow to blame. 

But is this fair ? The reality is much more complicated and interesting than the popular cliche that DJs will only play loud masters, and in this episode Ian dives deep into the issue with Joe Caithness, who works as both a DJ and a mastering engineer. Topics include:

  • The reality of DJ-ing
  • The problem with peaks
  • Loudness ? Or consistency ?
  • The power of Pioneer
  • The shocking missed opportunity of loudness metadata
  • The ‘sound’ of loudness

And much more !


Joe’s site (@joecaithnessmastering)

His label

Dan Worrall’s video DJs Want Loud Masters (Cos DJs Are Idiots)

Pioneer Rekordbox DJ Software

kyo "How Can I Live” (Joe’s dynamic and successful example)

TMS #83 - Mastering for clubs & DJs with Luca Pretolesi

The Mastering Show #87 - Fix mastering problems - in the recording !

December 17th, 2022 BY Jon Tidey4 Comments 

It’s amazing what mastering can achieve - but it’s also amazing how many things can influence the results we get right from the recording stage.

In this episode Ian talks to Mike Senior about how to fix mastering problems at the recording stage, without using a time machine ! Topics include how to avoid:

  • Muddy mids
  • Harsh guitars
  • Sibilance
  • Resonant snares
  • Boomy or hollow vocals
  • Exposed vocals
  • Stereo image issues

And many more !


Mike has put together a fantastic page of resources for this episode, including an excellent video about stereo mic technique - click here make sure you check it out !

The Mastering Show #86 - Mastering Plugins - technical versus creative

November 16th, 2022 BY Jon TideyNo Comments 

As mastering plugins become more sophisticated and more technical, there’s an interesting trend towards making the interfaces… less so. 

As well as traditional technical terms and numbered scales, controls labelled with less technical terms like “warmth”, “bite” and “colour” are becoming more common. And some interfaces are just… bizarre ! 

Is that good ? Or not ? In this episode Jon and I like at some more unconventional plugin user interface designs, and discuss:

  • Why technical interfaces can be a problem
  • When a more creative approach can be a good thing...
  • …and when it’s not
  • Some of our favourite ‘unconventional' plugin designs
  • But are they better than just closing our eyes ?!
  • Should plugins emulate the design of the hardware
  • And does it make them sound better ?!?


AudioIssues EQ


Fabfilter Pro-Q 3

Sausage Fattener

The Oven


Magic Dice



Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

The Mastering Show #85 - Mixerman versus Mastering

July 6th, 2022 BY Jon Tidey1 Comment 

You’ve probably heard of Eric Sarafin, aka Mixerman, but have you heard what he has to say about mastering ?

As always it’s entertaining, potentially controversial but also thought-provoking, so it seemed like a good idea to get him on the show and ask him to explain himself ! We talk about:

  • Why he thinks if you don’t make money from your music, you shouldn’t pay for mastering
  • Whether an online mastering service is actually a better option for a musician starting out (gasp)
  • Eric's favourite limiter, how he uses it and why
  • How loud he makes his mixes
  • Recent potentially game-changing developments...
  • And why they might make mastering engineers obsolete !


Mixerman's website

Fabfilter Pro-L2

Dutch & Dutch 8C

Zen and the Art Of Mixing - Audiobook

The Mastering Show #84 - Apple switch to LUFS and enable Sound Check by default

June 7th, 2022 BY Jon TideyNo Comments 

This is huge - Apple have finally started using LUFS for their loudness normalisation, which means all the major streaming services now use the same method to measure loudness ! 

And perhaps more importantly, they’ve enable Sound Check by default on new devices. As always there are plenty of devilish details to be aware of though, so in this episode we talk in depth about this change, including:

  • Why it’s so important
  • How much music online is REALLY normalised anyway ?
  • Why the answer is surprising to many musicians and engineers
  • Why Apple finally made this change
  • A few quirks and gotchas
  • Why it’s good news
  • What to do about it (and what NOT to do!)


MeterPlugs Blog - Apple Switches to LUFS, Enables Sound Check by Default

TMS #47 - Loudness Normalization - are TIDAL doing it best ?

Streaming Loudness in 2022 is 95 Percent Normalized

TMS #78 - Streaming Loudness - AES TD1008 Recommendations - not for you !

TMS #67 - Minus 14 LUFS - or NOT ?

Dolby Atmos - Mastering with Dynamics

TMS #54 - When loudness normalization goes wrong

The Mastering Show #83 - Mastering for clubs & DJs with Luca Pretolesi

May 9th, 2022 BY Jon TideyNo Comments 

In this episode we tackle one of the biggest challenges in modern mastering - the demand for super-loud masters in the dance & EDM genres. 
Our guest is Luca Pretolesi, and we talk to him in-depth about his approach to mastering for clubs & DJs. Luca’s masters are loud and we're always emphasising the value of balanced dynamics in mastering on this show, so you might think it would be an uncomfortable conversation... or you might be surprised.
Some of the topics we cover include:

  • Why do DJs demand loud masters for club playback ?
  • Luca’s strategy to deliver this without sacrificing dynamics for streaming
  • Hint - it’s NOT all about limiting and compression
  • How loud Luca's masters are (which may not be quite as loud as you think)
  • The club genres that DON’T demand extreme loudness
  • Where things might go in future


Luca Pretolesi - Studio DMI
TMS #31 - What IS loudness ?
TMS #75 - Stem Mastering - or is it ?
TMS #70 - Loudness versus Art
Dan Worrall’s take: DJs Want Loud Masters (Cos DJs Are Idiots)

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