February 29, 2008

He wrote an Open Letter to the Side-Line that was published today regarding the state of the industry, overall a good depiction of what I feel has generally been widely known for a long time. I do find myself wondering where he has been for the past few years.

One of Alan’s biggest gripes was the over compression and limiting done on commercial tracks in what he described as “Volume wars”

When it came to the mastering stage for our music, I decided to employ the services of a guy called Chris McCormack who came highly recommended. I called Chris quite a few times to discuss the best way for me to produce the final mixes on our album.

I was concerned about the environment of my studio and it not really being acoustically sound. The possible options to me were to provide Chris with Stems or full mixes. Stems are groupings of tracks, typically the drum/percussion track, the vocals, bass parts and the remaining track elements. The idea behind stem mastering is that much more control can be made by the engineer who would typically have much better monitoring environment and equipment.

In the end Chris felt that my mixes were good so therefore I supplied the tracks as finished mixes. What he managed to do in the mastering stage was to create a final sound that translated really well to different systems. When I did a comparison on my own system the results were not that noticeable, however when listening to the album on different systems, ie in the car, iPod etc the difference was staggering.

One of the things we talked about was the loudness of the final tracks, whilst I wanted the album to sound great on iTunes I was conscious of the over limiting that many releases had. DM’s last album “PTA” is seriously over limited to the point that it becomes painful to listen to on headphones and I find my ears getting really tired.

I therefore wanted a more natural sounding (electronic!!!) album, something much more akin to an 80′s master. I think we achieved that.

It’s late now so more on Mr Wilders points tomorrow.