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Author Topic: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums  (Read 4525 times)

Thomas W. Bethel

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Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« on: December 14, 2011, 08:30:35 am »

It would seem from reading the popular forums on the net that people are starting to be upset in general with mastering engineers. They make comments like "why do I need mastering?" or "I can do a better job mastering than a mastering engineer" or "I sent my stuff out to a pro mastering engineer and it came back sounding really really bad, all smashed and distorted". What is going on? Their seems to be a growing opinion among a lot of musicians that mastering is no longer needed and that mastering engineers ruin music by over processing it. I know no one here does that but...I can't help but wonder why all this angst against someone who is basically trying to help the artist realize their dreams? Is this opinion/feeling due to the fact that there are so many more "fly by night" mastering places or that more and more mastering is done "over the web" with the artist not in attendance. Or is it just people being people and bitching about most anything?

Just wondering???
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
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Gold

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 10:46:57 am »

Just not wondering.
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Paul Gold
Salt Mastering

Cass Anawaty

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 11:22:42 am »

This is what my post several years ago was about:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/mv/msg/22612/0/0/4853/

I think you said I was making a "mountain out of a molehill", or something to that effect, lol.
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Cass Anawaty, Mastering Engineer
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PBM

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 11:32:08 am »

Just not wondering.

ditto - it may be on the forums but it's not in vast stretches of the music world. The key to happiness might be to read less forums Tom.

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Philosophers Barn Mastering
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MatteskyK

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 01:29:24 pm »

I believe the overabundance of trolls on certain forums can make it seem as though mastering engineers are under attack, but I doubt this is the case.  In the musician circles I run in, we all find mastering a necessary step in releasing an album as a finished piece.  In general it seems that the majority of complaints come from the following:

1.  Those with an axe to grind, or seeking online entertainment.  This would be your standard troll, alongside a person who has little humility.  In terms of forums, blogs, and writings of the editorial persuasion, the internet seems to put out twice the amount of negativity as it does positivity. 

2.  Those seeking quantity over quality.  Generally the "bargain hunters" who have not planned a proper budget and pick the lowest price, as opposed to the Mastering Engineer who puts out the best work.

3.  The ill-informed.  This could be someone who has little to no experience in the recording world.  A person who has scratched the surface of recording, but does not care to educate themselves.  Seeking easy answers, they've regurgitated the opinions of the people from situation #1.  On the positive side, these people will either A. Lose interest or B. Grow as an individual within this industry and shed their biased glasses in exchange for a better understanding of record production. 
 
4.  Finally, I would be delusional to think that there is not a sub-group of individuals who have earnestly been let down and take this disappointment or resentment to the forums.  In any case, I would hope these individuals will use a different engineer next time and gain a better experience. 

feel free to add on.     
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Kevin Mattesky

Greg Reierson

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 02:21:55 pm »

Aw, c'mon... They're amusing. It's fun to watch their logic implode without them even noticing. Besides, they weren't ever going to be mastering clients anyway. Let 'em wear themselves out.


GR
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Greg Reierson
Rare Form Mastering

Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 02:43:39 pm »

This is what my post several years ago was about:

http://recforums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/mv/msg/22612/0/0/4853/

I think you said I was making a "mountain out of a molehill", or something to that effect, lol.

The original article is no longer available so I am not sure if I read it or not. I probably did as I tend to read articles when someone points me to a web article.

Sorry if I rained on your parade.

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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
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Apostolos Siopis

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 02:55:22 pm »

It would seem from reading the popular forums on the net that people are starting to be upset in general with mastering engineers.

I think I 've read a few of the threads you are reffering to .
The funny thing is that, in the real world , the consensus is the exact opposite...
I mean, every time I discuss this subject with a producer/musician/mixing engineer (who respects themselves and their work) we conclude that outsourcing mastering to a dedicated engineer with the right tools for the job (ears, room, speakers, hardware and software etc.), is an absolute necessity.

When I found out that some of the audio "gurus" in Greek music forums are actually supermarket employees or taxi drivers or doctors or anything but serious music producers, engineers, etc. I realised that their opinion is probably driven by their bitterness for their lack of cojones.


Aesop's fable about the fox and the grapes, is perfect for this situation (although written a few thousand years ago):
Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine. Although she leaped with all her strength, she couldn't manage to reach the grapes. As she went away, the fox remarked, 'Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.'
People who speak disparagingly of things that they cannot attain would do well to apply this instructive little story to their own lives.
taken from :http://mythfolklore.net/aesopica/oxford/255.htm

I would advice you to choose not to read (or read, be amused by and ignore) the trolls.

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Apostolos Siopis - www.odeon-mastering.com

Apostolos Siopis

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 03:09:11 pm »

4.  Finally, I would be delusional to think that their is not a sub-group of individuals who have earnestly been let down and take this disappointment or resentment to the forums.  In any case, I would hope these individuals will use a different engineer next time and gain a better experience. 

+1
This is also a very good point ...
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Apostolos Siopis - www.odeon-mastering.com

Mastertone

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 03:24:05 pm »

Gearslutz is gearslutz...

I find it hard to believe this is the case as i see a large increase in new and returning customers.
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Jonas Ekstrom
Mastertone Mastering
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Cass Anawaty

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 03:56:39 pm »

The original article is no longer available so I am not sure if I read it or not. I probably did as I tend to read articles when someone points me to a web article.

Sorry if I rained on your parade.
I haven't been the same since.
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Cass Anawaty, Mastering Engineer
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Hermetech Mastering

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 04:56:16 pm »

Yeah I wouldn't worry about GS. It CAN be a good resource if you use the search function, but on a day to day basis seems to have been taken over by spotty inexperienced teenage boys with too much testosterone. Couple that with the fact that you are not really held accountable for your actions on the internet, and all hell breaks loose. What happened to honour, chivalry and mutual respect? ;)

DOMC

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2011, 04:01:39 am »

I made something sound really really bad, all smashed and distorted last week.  maybe it was me.... sorry about that
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 11:29:44 am »

Let it roll off, like water off a duck's back.

and water seeks it's own level.

It's just a couple of trolls that specialize in arguments.

All good producers are hep to the value of real mastering.

I did post rebuttal to the troll's stance, in case someone who doesn't know any better runs across the thread.

'nuff said

Cheers, JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2011, 11:33:46 am »

I haven't been the same since.

You are a rascal and a scoundrel sir ;-)

(just kidding)

Best, JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
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Infrasonic Sound

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2011, 11:16:33 pm »

Just not wondering.

Agreed. I haven't heard anyone outside of Internet Land discuss this...at lease not enough to care. While I'm not caring, can I include post about the "Loudness Wars" as well?

Pete Lyman
Infrasonic Mastering

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Paradox Uncreated

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2012, 03:19:31 pm »

I think that a lot of "online mastering engineers" are not fit for the task. I did a post looking for mastering on gearslutz, and about 10 "engineers" contacted me, providing a sample master, of a sample I provided. NONE of them were good. I also contacted some local online services, where one returned a sample master, which was useless.
My thoughts go to one guy who has a lot of gear and plugins. He also think he does "mastering" sometimes, but you know, he thinks the plugins will do the magic, or putting it randomly through some analog gear will add magic or something. Atleast he doesn`t quite get the right sound.

And that was kinda the one guy all these "me"s were. Swimmy analog stuff, even I told them "only digital". Not that good sounding EQ, and not all loudness EQ, which really is what mastering these days is all about. And none of them pushed the dynamics to current levels.

Before this I thought mastering engineers mostly took the audio to the level and frequencyresponse of modern popmasters. But it turned out, I could do this much better on my own. They had no expertise, over my own. And even if they sat in corrected specially designed rooms, with exorbiantly expensive speakers, that did them no good.

In my opinion, if you can`t make it sound like popular artists, then forget about it.
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Hermetech Mastering

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2012, 05:39:52 pm »

ok, so you you can do it all better by yourself, right? no need for analogue hardware? maybe time to leave this forum then? we are a generally extremely friendly and helpful bunch who help each other out on a daily basis, but i guess you don't need that, right?

the biggest bone of contention i have with your post is on the loudness issue. you seem to be of the opinion that loudness is the only thing that matters, and, i quote, "In my opinion, if you can`t make it sound like popular artists, then forget about it." well, most of my clients come to me precisely because they understand that i hold sound quality above loudness, and will make their recordings sound better, not just louder. are you really saying that if you don't slam something like "star X", you might as well not be in the business? what a sad and boring place that would be...

from your other post, i agree that KVR can be a weird place though!

Twerk

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2012, 06:36:40 pm »

In my opinion, if you can`t make it sound like popular artists, then forget about it.

I'm not trying to argue with you but this statement above makes me cringe a bit. There are a lot of popular artists that have chosen to push their sound into unlistenable territory (to me). I personally don't want to be in a world where dynamics and aesthetic are chosen by consensus on what's popular in the charts. Of course there are plenty of popular acts with great masters, but despite this, just because something is popular doesn't mean it sounds good from a technical standpoint. There are many, many cases that prove otherwise. But the bottom line is that popularity is driven by sales, and sales is not driven by technical quality. I urge you to prove otherwise.

The kids don't care. But I do.

As for your original point, I wouldn't disagree that there are a lot of engineers that don't do quality work, just like every other business that exists. That's where doing some homework pays off. When I get my own music mastered, I don't take 10 random samples from engineers I know nothing about on a public forum. I figure out who's mastering my favorite artists, and I check their releases to see if they jive with my expectations. IMO, you were setting yourself up for failure from the start.
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Paradox Uncreated

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2012, 10:36:29 pm »

Babaluma: Yes I can :) And absolutely no need for analog hardware. The very thought makes me creep out. I hope this forum is not only about analog hardware and those who claim to help others by it, lol. But it can be interesting to hear the opinion of others, but I feel no need to agree with it. But people do things their way. And loud to me is in no conflict with "good". I can take it to the loudness I want, and it will still sound good. And that is very loud.

And yes, you read my other post too, good. KvR definately is not the place most respecting of democracy and freedom of religion. They are very odd. Agreeing on that alone, is a big plus though.

Twerk: Unlistenable territory? As DSP gets better, people keep pushing the volume, and what was unlistenable 5 years ago, is standard today. Ofcourse DSP is improved, so it sounds overall better. My general attitude is, uneccesary peaks, are uneccesary. If they can be limited, one should do that as much as possible. Generally with good DSP, one can go quite loud, and still sound very good. Now ofcourse I have been using my own DSP for many years. But I have also tested stuff like L3. Which is ok, but probably needs to iterate, since I feel I need to use EQ after it. And only for peaks. Driven it sounds harsh. A limiter tuned for loudness sounds more natural there though, than just general DSP.

About mastering engineers, there really are no local guys here, who are mastering any of my favorite artists. I could send it off to well known companies like Bernie Grundman or whatever. But you know, it just gets too obscure. Getting it mastered halfway on the other side of the world.

Anyway I learned myself mostly what it is about. And that is quite nice, to wield that mastering axe on ones own. A bit of power, to get exactly the sound one wants, on ones own music.

You should try my limiter, in my other post. Try it as the final loudness step in its standard setting!

Peace!
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Twerk

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2012, 11:54:11 pm »

Unlistenable as in obvious distortion, and fatiguing lack of dynamic range. It's probably just a sign that I'm getting old. ;)

I'd definitely like to check out your limiter when I get a chance. I use OSX in the studio, but I do have Windows installed for testing out Windows only stuff. I'll get back to you on my impressions.
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Paradox Uncreated

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2012, 07:28:03 am »

Maybe you just haven`t had the right limiter. The edgyness of some DSP, makes one reluctant to use it.
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John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering

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Re: Mastering Engineers seemingly under attack in online forums
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2012, 11:20:39 am »

"The right" limited aside -- "hardly any" dynamic range doesn't sound as good as "a decent amount of" dynamic range. 

I'm not saying some limiters aren't better than others -- Just as some "clipping" is better than others -- But they're simply controlling the damage. 
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John Scrip - MASSIVE Mastering
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