Titled “This Is a Mix, This Is a Master,” this session was indeed one of the more intriguing and high-value seminars at the recently-concluded 143rd AES convention in New York. The event brought together students from all over the country. And although labeled a student career event - and targeted towards students and upcoming engineers, the information disseminated was extremely informative with industry-wide benefits and applications. In addition, panelists shared information that could have a profound impact on the careers of the attendees going forward.
The panel, consisting of three practicing and renowned mastering engineers, led an enlightening, enthusiastic and engaging interactive learning session. They openly shared tips, techniques and concerns based on their years of experience - “off-the-console” mixes with mastered versions, and discussed qualities desirable in mixes that allow the mastering engineer to do the best job possible.
They were all of the opinion that “Most of the music mixes we hear and try to emulate have been professionally mastered. Too many novices try to recreate this “mastered” sound in their mix. This is undesirable and limits what the mastering engineer can do.”
Too often engineers are not fully cognizant of the next stage in the production chain and as a consequence do not understand what the Mastering Engineer would ideally want from a mix to allow them the most freedom to “Master.”
Advice: As a bit of advice to the mixing engineers, the panelists/mastering engineers stressed and implored them to stick with their mastering engineers for a period of time, so that they can learn from each other and develop a mutually beneficial relationship. This ultimately leads to the mastering engineer being in a better position to deliver a final product that the client is seeking, and will be thrilled with.
Overall, great pointers that producers of large steel orchestra recordings could embrace as best practices to produce a superior product in future.
Ian Corbett, Kansas City Kansas Community College - Kansas City, KS, USA; off-beat-open-hats recording & sound reinforcement