Mastering Gear At Sigil Of Brass

Prior to the digital revolution, mastering had a very defined set of functions. You brought your finished mixes on tape to a mastering engineer, who would often bounce them to another tape through various signal processors designed to sweeten the sound. The tunes would then be assembled in the desired order, and acetate test pressings would be made to evaluate the final product prior to mass-producing albums. Mastering was rightly regarded as an arcane, mystifying art. Few musicians had access to the high-end, expensive tools needed to do mastering, nor did they have the experience of someone who had listened to thousands of recordings, and knew how to make them ready for the real world.

Today, the tools for quality mastering are finally within the financial and technical reach of anyone who’s serious about recording. But 95 percent of mastering is not in the tools — it’s in the ears. Unless you have the ears of a mastering engineer, you can’t expect any plug-in to provide them for you. Besides, much of the point of using a mastering engineer is to bring in an objective set of ears to make any needed changes prior to release.

So does this mean only experts should attempt to do mastering? No. Firstly, not all mastering situations require a professional’s touch. Maybe you have a live recording that you want to give to friends or sell at gigs. Sure, you can just duplicate the mixes, but a mastered ‘veneer’ will give your listeners a better experience. Or perhaps you’ve recorded several tunes and want to test how they flow together as an album. Talk to a mastering engineer at [email protected]. When you do, you’ll be able to talk about what you want in more educated terms, because you’re more familiar with the process, and you’ll have listened to your work with mastering in mind.

Good Gear / Crap Gear

When I master you music for you – whether it is a DJ Mix or Stems or a track. I play it back on a wide range of equipment to ensure that the mix will render well on your fan’s equipment. This ranges form Apple Earphones, to Sennheiser HD-25s. A Sonnox speaker to a Ford Transit stereo.

I want the best for your audio.

DAWs

Desktop Audio Workstations

For Computer-Based Work

Logic Pro X, Mixbus 32C, Sonic Studio Sound Bar HD, HOFA.

The Room

Cork-Lined Loveliness

For A Better Understanding Of The Audio

I rent a room at Creao Studio, Harrogate. The room is a cork-lined, 25m2 room that has a very warm yet neutral tone. There is little to get in the way of me sorting your mix out.

Studio Monitors

Fostex NF-Series

Near-Field Monitors

A natural sound, uncoloured and accurately defined, even at high sound pressure levels, allowing you to accurately pinpoint and analyse all aspects of your creative output whilst minimise listening fatigue.

So what makes the NF-1 series so different? For a start, Fostex started with a blank sheet of paper when designing the three crucial components of the NF-1/NF-1A and new NF-01A; the LF woofer unit, the HF tweeter unit and the enclosure.

Hi-Fi Speakers

Shop-Bought Speakers

We have several Hi-Fi’s in the studio to test the master on – this will ensure when people listen back on their home devices that the mix sounds great. Most people will not be listening on a reference rig, so it is important to cater for all forms of playback – we even listen to your master in a car to check it is okay.

Headphones

Reference Quality Headphones

Audiophile Headphones

The audiophile HD 650 is the ultimate in open, dynamic headphone design. Developed from the award-winning HD 600, the HD 650s feature improved materials for even better sound reproduction. They captivate the listener with their expressiveness and emotion while maintaining absolute precision and lifelike reproduction.

Everyday Headphones

Consumer Headphones

Not everyone has Audiophile Quality Headphones and the inclination to get them. So, when I master a track, I check the track on a series of cunsumer grade headphone like Apple buds and Beats by Dre. This ensures your mix will sound great on all devices.

Parametric EQ's

For Total Control Of Your Mix

Parametric EQ’s

With the DAW Software that we use, we have complete control over the EQ’ing of your mix – we use a variety of premium Software Parametric EQ plugins to get the sound just right. To add to this, we use Harrison Mixbis 32C. Mixbus 32C has the same engine as the legendary Harrison consoles of the 1970’s.

Plugins

To Add To You Mix

Collected Over Time

I have a heap of mastering plugins by – TC Electronic, Brainworx, Elysia & Izotope … to name but a few. These help polish the final mix into something that we are both proud of.

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