How many audio engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
At least five. One to actually screw it in. Four to tell him how they would have done it better.
That’s what it feels like sometimes in the audio industry. I had a huge surge in traffic due to a Reddit post the other day regarding my Lazy Engineer’s Guide to Mastering. The guide was in no way intended to be a professional mastering guide, but rather a quick and easy way to make your mixes sound more polished and loud if you wanted to impress your friends or upload your songs to Myspace.
Take Criticism Lightly
Like with everything on the internet that Reddit post included lots of comments about how I was wrong and didn’t know anything about professional mastering. Well, yes, I know. It states explicitly in the guide that it’s always better to have a professional mastering engineer with quality equipment and experience to REALLY master your stuff. I’m much better at mixing than mastering. That’s my niche inside the niche.
Teach What You Know – Learn What You Don’t
I’ve said it before, I don’t know everything, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put your passion out there and have fun with it. There are so many different techniques and methods to making great sounding audio and music that it almost becomes irrelevant to state any hard-facts or rules. Someone is bound to come by with an amazing record and tell you how he broke all the rules to get the sound he wanted.
Still, my passion is audio. I’m passionate about teaching what I know and learning about new things. That’s why when I don’t know all that much about the topic(mastering, electronic music) I’m happy to hear from others that know better and can prove me wrong.
That’s why that comment box is there.
Do What Sounds Good to You
I want to pass on the information from others that know better than me. There was a long “alternative” mastering guide as a comment on the Reddit posting that I found extremely interesting. Too bad the author didn’t realize that I probably would have paid him to write the exact same thing for the site.
You don’t know everything, and I don’t either. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all fiddle and tweak to our heart’s content until we like the sound of what we’re doing.
Because in the end, we all screw our light bulbs in differently.