What is mastering?

Manyfold are the questions that the average audio-enthusiast encounters when it comes down to proper mastering. Mastering itself can be considered an art - and the Audiobomber is not above to fill you in on what the the fuss and magic of mastering is all about. Read for yourself (and weep, b3otches!) ...

The 5 steps of successful mastering ...

Step #1 - Fixing the mid punch:
First I playback the original mix through the built-in speakers of my MacBook Pro - to avoid unnessesary D/A-conversion - and re-record the output with a mono-microphone powered by a Studer mic-preamp, followed by a TubeTech SMC 2B-compressor and two Oram EQs (1 for me and 1 for the client). This setup brings a nice, smooth glue to the mids!


Step #2 - Polishing top end & giving »shine«:
After that I break the preprocessed and monosummed signal down to instrument level (woodwind instruments preferred!) and feed the output to the mono-jack of my vintage Marshall Plexi-amp of the late 60's (pimped with Russian EL34-compatible tubes on Manolo Blahnik Hi-Heel ®-sockets). This is basically the full mojo to obtain a Neve-class shine on the high frequencies. Unfortunately I cannot use my two shelfing EQs, as my girlfriend uses them for her magazines (suffer, biatch!).


Step #3 - Tweaking the bass fundament and the stereo image:
At this point the audio track is mono. Thankfully, stereo is just a doubled mono-channel, so all I need to do is to play back the mono-audio-track on my Ampeg 8 x 12" bass-cabinet in my bathroom (for some room simulation that even surpasses IR-techniques), and record the output with a stereo-microphone to bring in that wonderful spatial stereo widening. For special, vintage mastering projects, I ocasionally record the Ampeg cabinet with a mono-mic. This requires two recording stages: one go with the mic aiming at the 4 left speakers and wired up to the Trident S20 mic-preamp. During the second recording the mic - of course! - points at the 4 right speakers and is plugged into the Vertigo VSC-2, followed by a »Foote-Control« P3S ME. Both devices deliver this unique roomreverb and splendid bass fundament.


Step #4 - Inevitably delete or lose all material:
Due to some unfortunate experiments with a garden hose, a high-water pump and a coconut dildo, you blackout your computer and lose all the audio containing all the fine tweaks so far. It cannot be stressed enough how important the following procedure is to recover from such a catastrophy:

  • cry like a baby for at least one hour
  • throw monitor out of the window
  • seek distraction and happiness on some adult websites (1 hour minimum!!!)
  • "restore" everything vaguely from faint memories of settings and setups (huh?)
  • tell client that it takes a lot longer because the material is "very bad" and needs extra treatment
  • charge client extra (Important!!! Be a pro!)


Step #5 - Puttin' it all together:
At this point, the mastering procedure is almost finished and the final »Master« can be recorded to the SD-card of my reliable IBM vintage dictaphone. Now, all that is left to do is to send the files back to the client. For this - and to avoid any unwanted A/D-conversion - I directly put the SD-card into my cell phone and voicemail the masterfiles which almost everytime wows my clients!


And now for realz ...

The question "What is mastering?" has been answered properly a million times already. Therefore, consider the above a joke and find real info about mastering on the following site ...




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