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Author Topic: Ken Scott on Mastering  (Read 5556 times)

Waltz Mastering

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Ken Scott on Mastering
« on: December 14, 2010, 02:55:47 pm »

In a thread on GS with guest Ken Scott (one of my favorite engineers),  I had asked him about his engineering work with Jeff Beck.  I had also asked him whether he attends the mastering sessions for the albums he works on. Below is Ken's answer.  Makes sense.  Comments?
Ken Scott;6108760

Hi, I have answered a lot of your questions on another thread about Jeff. If you need more let me know and I'll try and come up with a little extra for you.
The one thing I can talk about, mastering. I very rarely go to mastering sessions. I consider it absolutely pointless for anyone other than the mastering engineer to be there. Every room sounds different. The way one gets to know the room is to work in it on a constant basis and by taking things out and listening. What is the point of someone who doesn't know the room going in and saying add highs or cut mids. I prefer to have the engineer send me a completely flat version and one of what he thinks needs adjusting which I then listen to in a known environment and pass all comments from there.
Also, I come from a time when mastering engineers were there to do as little as possible to the product he or she was given. The producer, the engineer and maybe even the artist know how they want it to sound and that is what should be given to the mastering engineer, with only minor adjustments needed. It obviously irks me that that isn't the way it is today. Incidentally, the training at Abbey Road was such that you weren't allowed to record something from scratch, ie engineer, until you had fully learned the final step in the whole process, ie mastering, and so I have physically mastered a whole lot of music in my time.
I guess you managed to touch a raw nerve. Oh well.

Cheers

jdg

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2010, 03:26:33 pm »

i feel the exact same way.

i like the idea of sending a "flat" cut too
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Greg Youngman

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2010, 04:14:24 pm »

I also agree.  Especially with the line:  "Also, I come from a time when mastering engineers were there to do as little as possible to the product he or she was given."

The problem I have these days is that unless it needs a bit of EQ or level tweaking here or there it should sent back and remixed.
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gertvanhoof

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2010, 04:21:08 pm »

Makes a lot of sense indeed. But times have changed as well, to the extent that mastering engineers are supposed to make up for the fact that "knowing how you want it to sound" is becoming something of a lost art.

Best regards,
Gert
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MoreSpaceEcho

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2010, 06:12:17 pm »

gertvanhoof wrote on Tue, 14 December 2010 21:21

 the fact that "knowing how you want it to sound" is becoming something of a lost art.


i don't know, the vast majority of records i get are done in home/project studios, and i think most of them sound great. they usually just require the standard stuff, i don't find myself doing serious heavy lifting all that often.

just saying.
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no1uno

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2010, 06:24:08 pm »

post deleted, redundant

Greg Youngman

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2010, 08:30:12 pm »

no1uno wrote on Tue, 14 December 2010 15:24

post deleted, redundant


Oh, come on... we want to hear it!
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Adam Dempsey

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2010, 08:32:44 pm »

Waltz Mastering wrote on Wed, 15 December 2010 06:55


Ken Scott:


Also, I come from a time when mastering engineers were there to do as little as possible to the product he or she was given. The producer, the engineer and maybe even the artist know how they want it to sound and that is what should be given to the mastering engineer, with only minor adjustments needed. It obviously irks me that that isn't the way it is today.


While the times they keep on changin' I wouldn't say that time has past at all. Some may call it an "ideal", but it irks me (I know I'm far from alone here) that the perception of mastering, even from some seasoned engineers, is to throw processing at it.
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masterhse

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2010, 08:54:18 pm »

Ken did some great work with Mahavishnu Orchestra as well.

Every stage of audio production is dependent on the previous. How much work the recording engineer has to do is dependent on the talent and pre-production, the mix engineer on how well it was recorded, and the mastering engineer on how well it was mixed.

One of the reasons I find Indie releases interesting to work on is because many of them are puzzles to be solved. The higher end stuff that I've had the opportunity to work with is usually pretty straightforward and more a matter of preserving what's there.
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gertvanhoof

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 01:28:18 am »

Adam Dempsey:

While the times they keep on changin' I wouldn't say that time has past at all. Some may call it an "ideal", but it irks me (I know I'm far from alone here) that the perception of mastering, even from some seasoned engineers, is to throw processing at it.

masterhse:

One of the reasons I find Indie releases interesting to work on is because many of them are puzzles to be solved. The higher end stuff that I've had the opportunity to work with is usually pretty straightforward and more a matter of preserving what's there.

That sums it up for me.

Best regards,
Gert
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Patrik T

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2010, 03:37:31 am »

masterhse wrote on Wed, 15 December 2010 02:54

One of the reasons I find Indie releases interesting to work on is because many of them are puzzles to be solved.


I don't fancy the idea that the most fragile mixes are the ones who might receive the most beating in mastering.


Best Regards
Patrik
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dietrich

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 08:49:00 am »

I do not think 20 yrs ago artists or producers would ever say 'well we can fix it in mastering'.....

many of us have steady work because of the current times and trends.
I get to do both methods. Often very good masters sent to me for lacquer cuts where my job is just to make it translate for the medium. and I also receive stem mixes to mix down+ master at the end

D

Laarsø

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2010, 10:48:39 am »

dietrich wrote on Wed, 15 December 2010 07:49

I do not think 20 yrs ago artists or producers would ever say 'well we can fix it in mastering'.....

many of us have steady work because of the current times and trends.
I get to do both methods. Often very good masters sent to me for lacquer cuts where my job is just to make it translate for the medium. and I also receive stem mixes to mix down+ master at the end

D




Didn't Zappa joke to fix in shrink wrap?   (Perhaps was just to fix problem of obscene lyrics that are hidden within?)  

Still, I think it is well known that the reason Doug Sax and others prospered outside of the label industry was that they knew how to make mixes sound better (where indicated) -  not just doing flat or near flat transfers.  

Bob Katz routinely does up to full letter-grade improvements.  (;


As for stem-work, you have some competition:

http://www.fixyourmix.com/get-started/

Very Happy


Gr
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Waltz Mastering

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2010, 02:58:32 pm »

In this months issue of Mix Mag, Brian Gardner also mentioned how more is being expected from ME's now a days than ever before.

I guess it's par for the course.

He started off the interview by stating that he wasn't going to discuss any of his "trade secrets".  I found that a little strange.


I do like Ken's mantra about about flat or near flat being the goal.  Of coarse the training that engineers received in the days of yor and especially at AR isn't the same as what passes for structured experience these days.

Jerry Tubb

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Re: Ken Scott on Mastering
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2010, 03:15:14 pm »

Waltz Mastering wrote on Wed, 15 December 2010 13:58

I do like Ken's mantra about about flat or near flat being the goal.


That's ideal of course.

Often times with home ITB mixing being so common,

Find I'm going on a deep sea rescue mission...

Cheers, JT
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