Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Beyond Mixing? - Bruce and the mastering process?

Collapse
X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Beyond Mixing? - Bruce and the mastering process?

    Bruce,

    Thanks again for the thoughts on mixing. Can you share some tidbits on mastering? Specifically how it changes/affects your product and whether or not you have to "adjust" for it in how you approach your tracking and mixing.

    Granted for vinyl and other formats there were huge physical considerations, so we probably have to approach this both with that in mind and ask for your thoughs on the purely digital delivery mechanism.


    thanks
    Steve Greenberg
    Scottsdale, AZ

  • #2
    Originally posted by steveg
    Bruce,

    Thanks again for the thoughts on mixing. Can you share some tidbits on mastering? Specifically how it changes/affects your product and whether or not you have to "adjust" for it in how you approach your tracking and mixing.

    Granted for vinyl and other formats there were huge physical considerations, so we probably have to approach this both with that in mind and ask for your thoughs on the purely digital delivery mechanism.


    thanks


    steveg....

    Great question!

    I NEVER make any adjustments in my mixes to accomodate the mastering process. My mastering wallah is my old pal Bernie Grundman. He is the very best that the industry has to offer.

    I always thought that it was good to have an additional excellent set of ears on my mixes... Bernie Grundman has the best ears in the business...

    I don't consider the mastering phase of my projects as a point in the project to 'save' it, or to 'fix' anything. If I have trouble with something in the mastering room, I am back in the studio re-mixing to satisfy my problem.

    Beyond Mixing? Very depressing thought! The music doesn't NEED ME anymore. I have never liked that point of the process.

    Bruce Swedien
    Music First!

    Comment


    • #3
      Senor Swedien, do you mix with heavy compression on the Master Buss (only to take it off before actually finishing the mix) so you can approximate what the mix will come out like during the mastering process?

      Curiously, I think this is the first question I have ever asked you in this entire time we have been interacting!!!
      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by UstadKhanAli
        Senor Swedien, do you mix with heavy compression on the Master Buss (only to take it off before actually finishing the mix) so you can approximate what the mix will come out like during the mastering process?

        Curiously, I think this is the first question I have ever asked you in this entire time we have been interacting!!!


        Ken.....

        WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????

        Bruce
        Music First!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bruce Swedien
          I NEVER make any adjustments in my mixes to accomodate the mastering process. My mastering wallah is my old pal Bernie Grundman. He is the very best that the industry has to offer.

          I don't consider the mastering phase of my projects as a point in the project to 'save' it, or to 'fix' anything. If I have trouble with something in the mastering room, I am back in the studio re-mixing to satisfy my problem.
          Back in the good old days (in which I'm still stuck) "Mastering" was the stage between recording/mixing and pressing. If there were any changes made in the process they were those necessary to keep the cutter from jumping out of the groove.

          We'd sometimes give instructions to the mastering engineer to adjust levels between songs to avoid another analog pass, and occasionally to pull a stereo image in toward the center. But they didn't have to do edits, re-arrange songs (unless there was a last minute change) or do fades, because that was all part of the recording, mixing, and assembly process at the studio. And we mixed the music to sound like we wanted it to sound. Occasionally overall reverb was added in mastering because that's where the good reverb unit or chamber was. But the mastering engineer wasn't part of the creative process, he was part of the technical process, and a good mastering engineer could cut without buggering up the audio too much.

          The kinds of things that a mastering engineer did because they needed to be done were pulling the bass toward the center and some judicious limiting. The idea of compressing as much as possible to make the record as loud as possible was a later development. This was left in the hands of the mastering engineer because he was in the best position to make the compromise between level and length of the side.

          The concept of the mastering engineer improving the mix was mostly a result of more product coming in that wasn't recorded and mixed by skilled engineers or without accurate monitoring. The quality of the product delivered for mastering just wasn't as good as it should be, so it became common to fix things up best as they could be at the last step, now before making the digital master for CD replication rather than cutting an acetate disk.

          We CAN go back to making great sounding mixes that don't need fixing-up during mastering, but it requirees more skill and experience than the majority of recordists have today, and also more accurate monitoring than most can afford.

          I would expect that for an engineer with Bruce's experience, there's very little difference between what comes off his console and what comes off the final delivered product. Others may need more help.
          --
          "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
          Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MikeRivers
            Back in the good old days (in which I'm still stuck) "Mastering" was the stage between recording/mixing and pressing. If there were any changes made in the process they were those necessary to keep the cutter from jumping out of the groove.

            We'd sometimes give instructions to the mastering engineer to adjust levels between songs to avoid another analog pass, and occasionally to pull a stereo image in toward the center. But they didn't have to do edits, re-arrange songs (unless there was a last minute change) or do fades, because that was all part of the recording, mixing, and assembly process at the studio. And we mixed the music to sound like we wanted it to sound. Occasionally overall reverb was added in mastering because that's where the good reverb unit or chamber was. But the mastering engineer wasn't part of the creative process, he was part of the technical process, and a good mastering engineer could cut without buggering up the audio too much.

            The kinds of things that a mastering engineer did because they needed to be done were pulling the bass toward the center and some judicious limiting. The idea of compressing as much as possible to make the record as loud as possible was a later development. This was left in the hands of the mastering engineer because he was in the best position to make the compromise between level and length of the side.

            The concept of the mastering engineer improving the mix was mostly a result of more product coming in that wasn't recorded and mixed by skilled engineers or without accurate monitoring. The quality of the product delivered for mastering just wasn't as good as it should be, so it became common to fix things up best as they could be at the last step, now before making the digital master for CD replication rather than cutting an acetate disk.

            We CAN go back to making great sounding mixes that don't need fixing-up during mastering, but it requirees more skill and experience than the majority of recordists have today, and also more accurate monitoring than most can afford.

            I would expect that for an engineer with Bruce's experience, there's very little difference between what comes off his console and what comes off the final delivered product. Others may need more help.


            Mike.....

            Excellent!

            Bruce
            Music First!

            Comment


            • #7
              Geez, I think if I had to master a Bruce Swedien mix in a professional mastering room, I too would be considered "da bomb". I`m not trying to take anything away from a Grundman but I have seriously wondered how much a mastering engineer truly does earn their keep.

              Afterall if there is something they are having trouble with, they look over at the producer or engineer and say something like, "You need to re-mix this." (I`ve been there so I know.) I wish my job was like that!

              Yes, a mastering engineer can ruin a record but how honestly hard is it to get a Bruce Swedien, a Tom Lord Alge, Clearmountain, etc mix to sound even better?

              Just thinking out loud.

              Be Lucky,
              EB

              btw- I brought this topic up at a mastering thread on Gearslutz and pretty much pissed off all the MEs. Why do you think?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bruce Swedien
                Ken.....

                WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????

                Bruce


                I'm just absorbing all the stuff that you and the other engineers talk about on the forum!!!

                I'm guessing you don't strap any aggressive sort of compressor across your Master Buss to try and emulate what you think the mastering engineer will do, and probably part of that (besides the fact that you're messing up your mix) is that you have a good rapport with Bernie Grundman, who does your mastering.

                ~~~~~~~

                So far, I think my favorite question that someone has asked you was the question about your philosophical approach towards mixing.
                Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by UstadKhanAli
                  I'm just absorbing all the stuff that you and the other engineers talk about on the forum!!!

                  I'm guessing you don't strap any aggressive sort of compressor across your Master Buss to try and emulate what you think the mastering engineer will do, and probably part of that (besides the fact that you're messing up your mix) is that you have a good rapport with Bernie Grundman, who does your mastering.

                  ~~~~~~~

                  So far, I think my favorite question that someone has asked you was the question about your philosophical approach towards mixing.


                  Ken.....

                  You must know my philosophy by now....

                  Compressor's are for kids!!!!! I WOULD NEVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER strap a compressor across the master mix buss!!! (Or more than likely anywhere else either!!!)

                  Bruce
                  Music First!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bruce Swedien
                    You must know my philosophy by now....

                    Compressor's are for kids!!!!!





                    Rick

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bruce Swedien
                      Ken.....

                      You must know my philosophy by now....

                      Compressor's are for kids!!!!! I WOULD NEVER, EVER, NEVER, EVER strap a compressor across the master mix buss!!! (Or more than likely anywhere else either!!!)

                      Bruce


                      No, I wouldn't think so. I don't do this either.

                      I don't either, but I had a bad experience with a client's CD. The mixes sounded really great. But when the audio was mastered for CD, it was mastered quite aggressively, with the waveforms turned into 2x4s. And this altered the character and balances of the mixes quite a bit. So as a result of that, I check my mixes with aggressive compression on the Master Buss, obviously taking off before actually mixing.

                      I use no compressors when tracking, and use light compression on some tracks while mixing, although with something like vocals, I tend to prefer to "ride the fader" instead of using compression. However, I do use some light compression while mixing. I guess this makes me a kid!!
                      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm with Ken, I've never asked Bruce a question because before I can do, others have already asked what I wanted to ask and so I just sit back and read, learn and admire.

                        But quoting Bruce "compression are for kids," why is compression so heavily relied on today? I want to issue an arrest warrant for the guy who started compressing the song so that they sound like electric saw in action.

                        Truely I always wanted to asked why are people using compression for levels in digital recording when you have fader automation? I personally don't do commercial recordings but if I did I would use compression for "flavoring" and leave the dynamics alone. Will I be heading in the right direction?

                        I once read an interview with an engineer that recorded Barbara Streisand and he was asked, how do you record artist like Barbara Streisand? she is so dynamic. Voice levels varies.

                        And he said he studies her songs by heart and just ride the levels, never uses compression, "it will ruin the beauty of her voice."

                        So why is compression so craved today?

                        Sorry to changed the main subject.

                        Audioicon
                        If you stand for nothing your life becomes meaningless. The world and everything you have today exist because people before you stood up, worked hard and died to provide us all the opportunity. Get involved!

                        Audio Icon

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Bruce,

                          Can you expand on the fact that you don't use compressors?

                          This implies that you only manually ride the fader during tracking , am I understanding this correctly?

                          thanks
                          Steve Greenberg
                          Scottsdale, AZ

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I use compression to tighten up things a bit (as mentioned above, I go light on the compression) typically. If I can make it sound better, such as I can when I use it on bass, I'll go ahead and use it. I'll also use compression to utterly crush a room mic for drums to get a Bonham drum sound.

                            With vocals, I tend to prefer "riding the fader" (automation). When I recorded with a mixing board before, I would literally ride the fader while recording the vocals, something I miss now that I don't have a mixer.

                            If it's my own music, I can be much more specific about what I want the mastering engineer to do.

                            If I'm recording someone else and they are taking it to a mastering engineer that I don't know, then unfortunately, I have no control over the mastering process, and will take additional precautions, such as listening with aggressive compression on so I have some clue as to what it will likely sound like when some hack gets done with my gorgeously recorded audio and compensate accordingly if necessary.
                            Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by steveg
                              Bruce,

                              Can you expand on the fact that you don't use compressors?

                              This implies that you only manually ride the fader during tracking , am I understanding this correctly?

                              thanks


                              Ah, you beat me to it!!! That was going to be my second question to Senor Swedien!!!

                              I too am curious about this, especially since I am so fond of automating the vocal levels and gain-riding (riding the faders while recording).
                              Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X