free video link and “mastering”
Last November, we did a trio concert at Montgomery College, Rockville, MD. Janice and me and Lenny along on guitar. The college tv station crew taped it and have put a thirty minute version up at YouTube. It has some of the new material we’ve been working on in the studio, in a kind of “unplugged” version. Here’s the link…
Let me know if the link works… thanks!
Most folks are familiar with basic studio concepts like tracking, editing, samples, mixing, etc. But “mastering” sometimes gets overlooked. You can think of mastering as that last bit of polish that goes into a project. A skilled mastering engineer will use equalizers, compressors and other tools to boost or reduce particular frequencies and otherwise tweak the final mix. While they may not be able to fix an incompetent mix, they can take a good mix to another level.
They also have the task of bringing the dynamic levels of all the tracks on a project to a similar range so that the listener doesn’t have to continually fiddle with the volume setting on their system. All the tracks are of a similar loudness. The overall loudness of a CD can be boosted as well, so that the CD will “pop” when it’s played and will be as loud as other CDs on the market that are in a similar style. I usually will put a master CD of a new project into my CD player with several other discs and hit “shuffle” to make sure about this before we send it off to the manufacturer.
There are other things that happen at the mastering session as well. We can make final decisions and adjustments on the fade outs at the end of tracks. We can decide how much time there will be between the tracks. The final track order is laid out and other necessary techie info is burned onto the master disc, info the manufacturer needs to set things up right.
Some engineers get so good at this that they become known as mastering specialists. Keith, the guy who mastered the new project I’ve been taking you through, does nothing but mastering. Lenny (our guitar player/producer) and I sat in for the mastering session. I mostly sat back and just enjoyed hearing Keith do his thing. Lenny, as producer, had a few questions along the way, but we both quickly realized that the project was in very good and experienced hands.
Next time, I’ll tell you about Leonard Stevens and his duel role as musician and producer on the project. In the meantime, those of you in the Washington, D.C. region might want to check out his powerhouse classic rock band, Big Mouth. You can find them on Facebook.
Hope to see some of you at the Potomac Flute Festival this weekend.