Mastering Isn’t For You

John Howard

mastering_image2

Having been mastering music by controlling volume by way of equalization, compression and limiting (in that specific order), for many years, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that making gain decisions about gain levels, dynamic range and frequency response isn’t for you.

Now, before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I began mastering years ago.  It’s been well over 10 years.  Mastering was as they say somewhat of a “dark secret” to me until…until I decided to stop believing everything I read on the subject of mastering and applied more common-sense and basic obvious facts about music, the frequency spectrum, and other simple principles about music and instruments in general.  I never felt that louder was better as an Audio Mastering Specialist.  The “Loudness War” levels, have resulted in many a fan and audiophile alike listening to distorted and overly processed music for over a decade.  Which of course, has in a major way, de-sensitized their hearing ability, so much so, that they believe this overly processed music, actually sounds good.  WRONG!!!

Nevertheless, as much as that is the simple truth, mastering isn’t for you if you are still trying to finalize your own musical or other audio productions because you “think” you “know” what you are doing, instead of actually “knowing” what you are doing.  Anybody can send their track through any maximizing plug-in or application and get the same “Loudness Wars” masters of the past decade or so.

To actually conclude that you “know” what you are doing, does one have to actually go to a school to make such a claim?  Well, if that’s what you believe that it will take for you to make such a claim then of course, go to school.  Will working for a major music studio as an intern allow you to make such a claim?  Perhaps.  None of the above applies to myself, yet I can 100% assert and guarantee that I “know” what I am doing.  It is a great privilege to be able to make such a claim, and to be able to produce the results that back that claim 100%.

Conclusion: If you are in fact, the person that mastered your music, then naturally, you have no one to blame if in fact, your music does not “shine” in a light that says “professionally mastered” through and through. As in sound quality. Nor if you’re not as successful in sales where ever you decided to try to sale your music.  Remember!, if your music does not sound as if it has been professional mastered then of course, your sales will suffer.

Mastering isn’t for you if:

You really don’t “know” what you are doing.  Find someone that does, and make sure that whoever he or she is, really “knows” what they are doing.  Otherwise, leave your masters/music to be somewhat adjusted by an Apple “Sound Check” device, since the Mastering Engineer/or you could not get “it right” the first time around in his or her studio.  Pretty sad when that happens.

And finally, don’t expect a “Big Commercial Sound,” if you didn’t even start with a “Big Commercial Mix.”  Be realistic about your expectations as to a final sound of your masters.

All The Best To You,

John Howard

Audio Mastering Specialist

Professional Audio Mastering

PAM

PAM Responds To Devyn Rose’s Question on Her Mastering

By Audio Mastering Specialist John Howard

In December 2013, just before the HOLIDAYS, Johosat Mr. B, aka John Howard of Professional Audio Mastering, received a notification on the Soundcloud’s account toolbar “Latest Activities” icon that Devyn Rose had apparently viewed the Soundcloud PAM’s page.  Mr. B, decided to listen to Ms. Rose’s holiday track and commented on her track:

PAM Comment Rose

A few days later, after I had listened to Ms. Rose’s track a few more times.  I decided to do a remaster of the already processed track that Ms. Rose offered on her Soundcloud page.  After doing so, I sent Ms. Rose a private link to hear my re mastered version of her mastered track.  Ms. Rose responded and asked for my thoughts on her “master.”

Devyn Thank you

Here are some thoughts on Devyn Rose’s ‘Home For The Holidays’ “Master” :

  • Ms. Rose you basically have a track that has been overly processed.  Sounds like the equalization could have been used more effectively in the upper-midrange area of this track.  Keep in mind that our ears are very sensitive to the upper mid-range area.
  • You also mentioned that you “don’t master,” and of course that should be left to someone that actual does understand all the steps and knows how to apply all the rules of mastering with experience and knowledge. As my fundamental  principle of mastering is , and this is a quote, “either you know how or you believe you know how to master an audio recording for sonic translation.”  Believing that you know how is not gonna achieve the truest professional sound nor results.
  • Plenty of “Mastering Engineers” believe or think they no what they are doing.  However, Ms. Rose the truth is, you have to absolutely “know” what you are doing from start to end, with no guess-work, about what needs to be done and do just that with certainty.  You have to do what the Audio Track or Recording says to do.  To be able to hear and or see what the track is telling you to do takes knowledge, the right tools and common-sense.
  • Equalization is not “Rocket Science” on the flip-side, it’s a skill that can be learned or obtained with using proper tools of the trade to help you find the needed boosts or reductions in frequencies.  There are many sites out there that repeat this kind of information.  You are probably already aware of that.
  • Again, a track that’s overly processed is never gonna sound as good as a track with proper equalization and less heavy “limiting.”  That’s kinda what I heard with your “master.”  Hope this helps you along your way if you decide to take on mastering on a professional level.

Stay tuned and watch for updates and links to more information on the wonderful world of mixing, audio mastering and post-production. 

All the best to you,

AMS John Howard

Professional Audio Mastering Site Launching Special

Professional Audio Mastering Launches Offering Free Track Master

 By Audio Mastering Specialist John Howard

Beginning 11-20-2013, through December 31, 2013, PAM will master one of your songs, without charge, for the first 100 Audiophiles and the like, (that means all of you Producers and Bedroom Producers), seeking finalization/mastering of an audio track.  The only stipulation is that the track must not run longer than 3.5 minutes (three and a half minutes).  To help you make a sound decision, take a listen to some of the tracks mastered by PAM.  If you are a music producer seeking to have your mixes professionally mastered and enhanced with total dynamics intact, your choice to use PAM services will take your music production to the next level.

All the best to you,

Mr. B – Aka John Howard

PROFESSIONAL AUDIO MASTERING – PAM

Audio Mastering Specialist

Welcome To Professional Audio Mastering

New Online Audio Mastering Site/Blog Launched

 By Audio Mastering Specialist John Howard

On November 20, 2013, John Howard (“Mr. B”), of Professional Audio Mastering (“PAM”), launched an Online Mastering Service for the music producing community, seeking finalization of their audio productions.  Also know as mastering.  Today marks the beginning of a long-awaited online mastering service provider, which actually delivers the quality audio mastering that audio productions deserve.  More to the point, what YOUR AUDIO PRODUCTIONS DESERVE.  Professional Audio Mastering – also known as PAM is dedicated to becoming the first online mastering service that provides 100% anti- “Loudness War” mastering with traditional styled mastering and final levels, based upon what some now call “audiophile mastering,” for each and every track mastered.  PAM will also feature an additional music service for mixes and mixing beginning next year, for those interested in having their mixes professionally leveled and mixed in accordance with established mixing techniques.  These mixes are then “master ready.”  That’s not to say that a mix that does not conform to established mixing techniques can not be mastered.  (If you don’t understand what I mean try searching for “polishing a turd or polishing turd” and you will find several stories related to that or those statements).  With that, when you are ready to give your audio productions that professional “Radio-Ready” sound, give PAM a try and the results will be total quality sound enhancement to your latest or past mix(es).  If hearing is believing, then hear the difference PAM makes here.

All the best to you,

Mr. B – Aka John Howard

PROFESSIONAL AUDIO MASTERING – PAM

Audio Mastering Specialist