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Detailed Mastering FAQ

Q: Why do we need to pay someone to master our record at all? A: If nothing else; simple objectivity and complete understanding of the mastering process. Fresh ears skilled at squeezing every last drop of sound and space out of your mixes takes a completely different kind of well-trained critical ear, and there’s also […]

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Quick-Start Mastering Guide

This is the “Quick Start” Mastering Guide for anyone coming to the Playground for mastering. A more detailed discussion of the mastering process is in my “Full Mastering FAQ” article on this blog. Q: What format do our mixes need to be in? A: Formats for the masters are simply in as HIGH a resolution […]

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Practical & Effective EQ Use

Equalization is perhaps the most-used processing tool in audio production.With the use of compression (read my Practical & Effective Compression Use article), it’s also perhaps one of the most improperly applied ones in an engineer’s arsenal as well. Since equalizers and equalization seems to be so self-explanatory, understanding it past the mechanical functions of and […]

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Dithering Format FAQ

When to Apply Dithering? There are a number of choices of dithering to pick from, and dithering is actually appearing in far more places than ever before, making it even easier to misuse and abuse this critical stage of sound production, reduction, and reproduction. If uncertain about what you’re doing with dithering, the best thing […]

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Nothing Goes Louder Than Zero

It’s been amazing to watch the average volume on CD’s progress over the years; so much so, that dynamic ranges of music today are, as Bob Katz says; as squashed as they were on the original Edison Cylinder over 100 years ago. With a desire to “make your CD louder than anyone else’s”, no matter […]

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Audio of Dithering Curves

Click on the files below to hear what each of the popular dithering curves sound like. Mind you, they’re sitting below the noise floor; typically at -120db, but since digital has no internal tape hiss or noise, I simply raised the volume by 100db so you can actually hear what dithering is. [IMAGE OF DITHERING […]

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Key Mastering Points

In the end, mastering truly comes down to one simple thing: Does my audio sound better than it did before I entered the mastering studio? With the rare luxury of time and resources over the past few years, I have been spending countless hours comparing every aspect of the mastering process; from revered analog gear […]

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Why the Amek “big” Retired

It’s sometimes a strange world in the studio these days: My entire training as a record producer/engineer involved big consoles, big tape machines, big EQ boxes, big speakers, and just plain big stuff. If I walked into a studio and didn’t see a bunch of big gear lying around the Control Room, I would wonder […]

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Sonic Solutions at Wavefront Mastering

After working with multiple solutions for mastering CD’s at the Wavefront Mastering, we settled on SoundBlade by Sonic Studio; the spinoff company from the world-standard Sonic Solutions. We tested BIAS Peak, SoundForge, Pro Tools and many other solutions, but when it came down to trusting the software to make an end product that would be […]

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Neve & SSL EQ De-Mystified

It’s difficult for many people to accept (See my “How Digital Does Analog Better Than Analog” and my “The Ears Win Again” article) the fact that the “future is now” in relation to capturing and reproducing sound in the digital realm, especially when it comes to digital representations of loved analog pieces of gear such […]

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