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-   -   Thoughts on hiring online mastering services? Pros/Cons? (https://www.propellerheads.se/forum/showthread.php?t=171695)

cjb123 2012-11-26 21:13

Thoughts on hiring online mastering services? Pros/Cons?
 
Hey all

http://petemaher.com/services/4556628330

I came across this recently. A mastering engineer with some pretty impressive credentials is offering online mastering services. I'm not sure if its worthwhile but definitely interested. In a recent interview he sounds like he has worked for big artists and has the skills. He says its more than just pushing buttons on the latest mastering software (which of course it is). Could an artist expect a decent amount of attention for his/her masters?

Any thoughts, good or bad, on this is appreciated reason heads!

Thanks!

PsyTale 2012-11-26 21:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjb123 (Post 1185676)
Hey all

http://petemaher.com/services/4556628330

I came across this recently. A mastering engineer with some pretty impressive credentials is offering online mastering services. I'm not sure if its worthwhile but definitely interested. In a recent interview he sounds like he has worked for big artists and has the skills. He says its more than just pushing buttons on the latest mastering software (which of course it is). Could an artist expect a decent amount of attention for his/her masters?

Any thoughts, good or bad, on this is appreciated reason heads!

Thanks!

Looked at the site, im not really sure what to say. There are many offering mastering services. I like doing it myself :)

jwh1 2012-11-26 21:45

Did you find out how much his fees are ?

cjb123 2012-11-27 00:56

jwh1 - I got a very rough quote of $47 Canadian (I live in Canada). So that's probably 30 GBP. Don't quote me on that though!

PsyTale - The idea is that this guy should, on principle, be able to provide better skills and gear than most artists here and elsewhere can (me included). That's why I'm curious on people's experience with similar online services. Sure I can run my stuff through Ozone and go for it but I'm assuming he could do a better job at the critical mastering stage. Or am I just hoping for a bit too much from an online flat-rate, one-off type mastering service?

Btw I plan on asking his process, just thought I'd see what others might say.

Thanks ya!

PsyTale 2012-11-27 01:25

Quote:

Originally Posted by cjb123 (Post 1185851)
jwh1 - I got a very rough quote of $47 Canadian (I live in Canada). So that's probably 30 GBP. Don't quote me on that though!

PsyTale - The idea is that this guy should, on principle, be able to provide better skills and gear than most artists here and elsewhere can (me included). That's why I'm curious on people's experience with similar online services. Sure I can run my stuff through Ozone and go for it but I'm assuming he could do a better job at the critical mastering stage. Or am I just hoping for a bit too much from an online flat-rate, one-off type mastering service?

Btw I plan on asking his process, just thought I'd see what others might say.

Thanks ya!

Maybe i should try it with one of my tracks sometime.. Just to see what i like better :)

koma7 2012-11-27 05:12

Before you go and get a track mastered or pay anybody to do so, you need to ask yourself why.

Is this track going to be released or used commercially? If it is just a personal track that you are uploading to soundcloud of wherever else, that you do not intend to profit from, I would not recommend you get it mastered, if you intend for your track to be heard on many different systems in many different settings and environments then by all means go ahead. Otherwise sadly there really is no point, and it would be better to either just mix it yourself, or send it to a mixing engineer instead, opposed to a mastering engineer.

Not to discourage you, just though it's something you should think about and consider, before spending $47 which could go on a nice new rack extension. ;)

mbain 2012-11-27 05:42

If your music has a wide dynamic range, ask the guy what is his position on the loudness war. If he says "the more compression, the better", run far far away.

joeyluck 2012-11-27 05:45

I've seen this offer from RAK Studios...

http://www.indabamusic.com/mastering_sessions

JensenTNI 2012-11-27 09:02

Proper mastering is essential if you want to release on vinyl for example. If you only go for a digital release, it’s not really an issue. For vinyl, the stereo spectrum is important, so the mastering engineer will have to make sure to correctly center the low frequency content and widen the high-end.

Also, usually the engineer will add some additional high frequency content to your recording because when pressed onto vinyl, a good bit of high end is lost. For a vinyl cut, there also needs to be a healthy dynamic in the mastered file, so usually they won't push the mix to hard. Therefore vinyl masters tend to be lower in average volume than masters meant for digital releases.

Sometimes the mastering engineer will add some reverb to glue things together where needed, so in that sense the "feel" of your song can change considerable. Arguably for the better.

You can also be sure that a decent mastering engineer will add a balanced amount of low-end to your music, meaning that through some subtle EQing and multiband compression, he will achieve a solid bottom end without making it too overpowering. This way the bass sounds good on any system, whether at home or in a club.

In essence as has been said before, mastering is money well spend if you want to go for a commercial release as it will make it stand out from the competition. But for a hobby musician, it could lead to disappointment because of the alteration of your sound. On the other hand, from an educational perspective it might be a good idea to actually send in one or two tunes and use them then as reference for your own mastering attempts. This can be really helpful! :)

cjb123 2012-11-27 19:38

Interesting replies - thanks all. Yeah I guess that's what I would generally expect. And I agree generally.

BTW, the set of songs I am working on is pretty much intended as a 'demo' initially but also ultimately of releasable quality (though not really intended for vinyl). I'm ultimately aiming higher than just to be 'appropriate' for soundcloud. I'm looking for quality enough to send to some in the biz that I have an 'in' with etc (at the basic end) but also to be able to release professionally (at the higher end).

I guess I was talking about whether I realistically could/should expect a good mastering job from an online service of this kind and cost. Specifically in the more tricky areas (or tricky for me anyway) of compression/limiting, eq and any kind of post considerations like dither. I realize Reason has it's mastering suite and we have other tools for this and for exporting etc. While I do enjoy learning/experimenting with them I'd would like to think that when push comes to shove a professional can achieve better results than I can. I guess it's subjective and depends on experience etc - was just looking for opinions on that front.

Will check out that link you posted joeyluck.

Thanks!


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