The basic workflow is as follows:
- Checking wishes and sound references with the customer
- Setting up general hybrid setup and listening to it with final loudness in mind (rough limiting test).
The louder you want it, the more it is important to have a well balanced frequency domain where no frequency range „tickles“ the limiter too much and creates audible pumping effects.
- Digital setup (pre): surgery and micro balancing with (steep) digital Eqs, Mid-Side-Equalization and Dynamic EQs.
With these Eqs it is possible to reduce „limiter tickling“ frequencies as well as shape the transients behaviour of the mix without affecting the overall balance
- Analog setup: making sound and supporting the mojo of the music with analog Eq (help the overall focus on speakers and headphones), tube saturation (liveliness and thickness), and subtle compression (tightness)
- Digital setup (post): parallel and multiband compression, subtle and broad EQing, imaging, limiting, dithering/noise-shaping decisions, realtime pre-listening of the compressed formats (streaming codecs, mp3, aac, etc)
Certainly, not all machines and effects are working at every mastering session, only if they make the music „better“.
Thus, during mastering I constantly compare (A-B listen with equal volume!) the master with the original mix if it is really improving the music.
My work is finished when it sounds good and it feels right on ALL of my loudspeaker and headphones.
Then I will send it to you and the process of feedback and revision start.
(Pre)Mastering is the last step (soundwise) before releasing the music and I know from my own experience that the process of mastering might be full of expectations as well as fears, because producing music is fun but also an exhausting procedure at times.
So I give my best to have a technical ear on your music as well as the musical ear to polish it with your musical vision and to get your feelings right.