Why Mastering Isn't Just About Making Your Fancy Studio Mixes Sound Better
You shouldn’t really call me a mastering engineer.
I prefer the term “2-track salvage engineer.”
You see, I do a lot of “making simple recordings sound better.”
Take this recording session as an example:
I was asked to come down to a studio in town to do microphone demos for some Coles mics.
So I called my singer, grabbed my acoustic and we went down there and played some songs for the engineer.
It was all shot on video and I got both the video and audio files to play with.
The video was superb but I knew I could make the audio sound a little bit better.
So I sat down and played around with it.
After adding some EQ, compression, space and depth the audio was sounding really great.
So I exported it and uploaded the finished video to our band’s Youtube page.
You can listen to the finished “master *cough* salvage job *cough*” here.
And for comparison you can hear the unmastered 2-track here.
So mastering isn’t just how you can make all your songs fit together as a whole on a record. That’s obviously a big part of it. But it’s also about making something sound much better when you’re faced with serious limitations.
When you only have a 2-track recording of a few different instruments playing together it’s not like you can EQ and compress each and every instrument like a mixing engineer. You’re forced to EQ them as a whole.
You can’t add different spaces to different instruments to separate them. Your only option is to find a nice reverb that fits them all and gives them the illusion of a little more space and depth.
Same Principles, Different Situations
It’s the same principles as for mastering anything else. You just approach it a little differently.
These principles are what I learned from the Home Mastering Masterclass by Ian Shepherd and I’m lucky to be able to do tiny tweaks to the random recordings my band does to make them sound better.
In fact, because today is the last chance to get the Home Mastering Masterclass at 33% off I want to throw in something extra special.
Anyone who buys through my link( the tutorial video on what I did to enhance the live 2-track recording you can hear above.
I’ll show you:
- How I used EQ to take the resonances of the guitar and voice down while adding some presence
- How a simple multiband compression preset can go a long way to sweeten stuff up.
- Adding a little warmth, stereo imaging and reverb to add some depth and space to the dry recording.
- How I ignored noise and distortion for the greater good of the band
Simply send me your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org after you buy it through my link and I’ll send you the video first thing Monday morning.
I’m excited about showing you my salvage job so you can use it to sweeten up songs you thought couldn’t sound good.
Here’s the link again: