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Beware of Mixers that say they can Master
By Cyrus Rhodes - 02/17/2010 - 11:45 AM EST

Beware of mixers out there that say they can master music. If you run into one of these guys, do yourself a favor and wave a big fat Bullshit flag in his face. So naive are some of these individuals who consider themselves a professional grade mastering engineer simply because theyve been doing it wrong for decades for hundreds of clients this does not equate to industry standard production experience.  But even if your mixer did know how to master music, which is extremely rare the mixer should not master the music anyway. Here's why - A fresh pair of ears can be the biggest difference between a good-sounding CD and a great one. A real advantage during this critical post production process is the presence of an unbiased sound professional that will have an opportunity to evaluate your recordings, frequencies, and determine how to get the most out of them in the end. You could write a book on what this last sentence entails. After you and your studio engineer, or mixer have spent weeks, months, maybe even years in a recording studio listening to your songs over and over again, a fresh pair of ears can be the best thing that can put it all into perspective for your fanbase.  

The impact this will have on your final production is often times overlooked and grossly underestimated. Generally Its a big no no to have your mixer master your music. The Real Professionals don't do it this way - why should you. Im sure there are rare exceptions out there, but its not the clear consensus. To the skeptics I say true there have been decent CDs done this way, but you will find 90% of them failed to meet there full potential. The mastering engineer is an experienced professional who lets you know what needs to be tweaked to achieve the best, finalized, optimized sound possible for your music. Again you could earna 6 year degree learning what this last sentence is all about. This is exactly why the Mixer should never be the Master.

The bottom line the more professionals you have working on your production the more perspective you will get. Having said that generally its never a good idea to have a Studio Engineer mix the music, or have your mixing engineer master the music, or have your guitar player who owns his own basement studio do everything to save some case. If all the above is from one individual then it is more than likely a greedy attempt to stroke all your cash as your heading out the door, or someone trying to be over ambitious. So do yourself a big favor, have each phase of your production assigned to a different professional. Trust me you will not regret what the final product will sound like. Besides its how the pros do it.

I asked Rick Fisher a top Mastering Engineer on the West Coast in particular why the mixer never be the master? Do you know what he said? "Because he already knows where all the dead bodies are buried." I couldnt have said it better myself.  




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