Category: Latest News


The Benefits Of Online Mastering Services

Mastering–that crucial last step in getting your songs to a professional level. It’s been described as the last 10-15% of the magic, but oh what a difference that 10-15% can make. There are many mastering engineers out there in the world, each with their own specialty, history, and accomplishments. Who you work with depends on your preferences of course. Whatever those preferences are, you should not be limited by who’s local to your area. This is the age of the Internet after all, and the world just got a lot smaller and more accessible. Nearly everything is online, including your next Mastering Engineer.
So, now that you’ve opened up to the idea of working with someone online, what are the benefits of online mastering?

1. The opportunity to work with your choice of Mastering Engineer (wherever they may be).
You found one online, and this person has the skills, credentials, and specialty you’re looking for. Bonus: this person worked with an artist you look up to! Having this Mastering Engineer involved in your project also makes for a certain sense of legitimacy or “cred.” In this industry, knowing and working with the right people is essential. And if that person happens to be 3,000 miles away, mastering your project online CAN make that relationship happen.

2. Saving ca$h
With your options much more open, you can now compare rates on a much larger scale. If you were limited to what’s local to you, then you’re only comparing a handful. Rates could be high in that situation where they’re the only game in town, and you’re seriously limiting yourself to better options. And, if your local option happens to be one of those big “Mastering Houses” where they do attended sessions, then you’re really going to pay through the nose.

3. Saving time
An Online Mastering service means that you’re doing your part from home (“home” being wherever is convenient for you). Sending files via Dropbox/Google Drive/other cloud storage, responding to emails, phone calls and even video conferencing (FaceTime, Skype, etc.) don’t require you to travel to or book time at the engineer’s office. That’s time you can now use on other important things… like writing more songs!

Whomever you decide to be your Mastering Engineer, it’s wise to consider the following:

○ Their promptness in returning calls and emails. Customer service and communication are key in this business, and any good ME will make sure they are available to discuss the details of your project.
○ Their policy on revisions. Some have free revisions, some don’t, and some charge a partial fee depending on what needs to be done and how long it will take. You don’t want to end up with a project you’re unhappy with, but you also don’t want to break the bank perfecting it, right?
○ The engineer’s personality. This is a working relationship, and since it involves your project (your art, your life), you want to make sure you vibe with the person. You’ll either find someone who just wants to do the job and take your money, or someone who wants to cultivate a great relationship with their clients in hopes of getting a steady stream of recurring work. Hint: Opt for the latter 🙂

There you go! Now, have confidence in your search for an online mastering service in Los Angeles, New York, or even online mastering in Atlanta.


Top Reasons to Hire A Mastering Engineer

Home recording ain’t what it used to be–it’s much, much better these days. Technology, software, and know-how trickling down from the pros to the masses have made home recording projects sound near-ready for commercial use. But that’s just it: it’s near-ready. A near-ready project isn’t ready. It’s almost, but not quite. You’re in the general vicinity, but you’re not at your destination. Even though you have plug-ins designed by well-known producers with presets to get that pumping effect for your dance track, it’s not as easy as dropping that VST into your master bus and calling it a day. No, plug-ins aren’t smart enough to do that. It can’t sense when to engage and when to back-off.

Some composers and producers perform the job of recording engineer quite well. There are enough home recording tips and audio mixing tutorials in the internet to get you laying tracks down on your DAW in no time. If you’re one of those artists, then consider yourself very lucky. You save time AND money doing the job of both. However, DO NOT do your music a disservice by attempting to master it yourself. “Mastering 101” articles are great reads, but it will not turn you into a mastering guru. The role of a sound engineer and a mastering engineer are very different. They require different approaches and a different mindset altogether.

Let’s take a look at just how different the roles of the Mixing Engineer and a Mastering Engineer are: A Mixing Engineer works with the artist and producer (or is also the artist/producer) in blending all the individually recorded tracks and adding effects, often helping with the arrangement as well. This is a highly skilled and creative art. A Mastering Engineer takes that final mix, and ensures it is ready to be released to the world. This is much more of a clinical role and not as creative.
As you can see, one aspect of the project ends, and another begins. While you may have basic recording techniques down, attempting to master your own project is taking on one-to-many roles. It’s not how its done in the industry, and it’s not how you should proceed if you want your music–your art–to be taken seriously. For that to happen, you should employ the skills of a Mastering Engineer.

Let’s drive the point home with these Top Reasons To Hire A Mastering Engineer:

1. Sound great through any device

Mastering Engineers have the ears, equipment, and environment to ensure that your project will sound great through any type of output: monitors, headphones, earbuds, car stereos, or club PA systems. You can rest assured that those with the expensive pair of headphones will have the same pleasurable listening experience with your project as those with the set of earbuds that came standard with their cell phones.

2. Blend well with the rest of the DJ set

Producers are engulfed and consumed by their own project, but that passion for their work also makes them incapable of coming up with a “balance” in terms of their project’s sonic characteristics. Mastering Engineers are free from the binds of artistic chains and can therefore focus on the science of sound. They can ensure that DJs will be able to mix your project with other tracks they are playing and be on the same plane in terms of quality, loudness, and balanced tones. Your project will not get passed on in a set because of blending issues.

3. Avoid the mark of the “demo”

As we said in the beggining: Home recording has gotten much better. But a home recording is still a home recording. Don’t let your project get the “demo” stigmata. Demos are works in progress, and your role as a producer is to produce professional masterpieces, right? There’s a lot of competition these days, and you don’t want “poor sound quality” to be the reason your project gets dismissed by someone important.

Not to end this article with a cliche, but you won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Mastering Engineers are here to help you make a great impression.


Are DJ’s the new Rock Stars?

Forbes Reveals the 2015 ‘World’s Highest Paid DJs’ List

Every year, the number crunchers at Forbes publish a list of DJs most definitely not available for weddings, birthdays and bat mitzvahs. The site has just published its ‘Electronic Cash Kings 2015’ list, ranking dance music’s top-earning DJs for the past 12 months. Can the results be trusted? Maybe. Are they intriguing anyway? No doubt.

Unsurprisingly, reigning hitmaker Calvin Harris is back in the lead with an annual haul of $66 million, once again leaving David Guetta languishing in the number two spot. From there, it’s a millionaire’s club of festival headliners. Of all the top-ranking names, Joel Zimmerman – aka Deadmau5 – has likely played the least shows, although Forbes suggests he commands upwards of $500,000 for festival bookings.

Here’s how Forbes explains the methodology behind the rankings: “Our earnings estimates include income from live shows, endorsements, merchandise sales, recorded music sales and external business ventures. Sources include Nielsen, Songkick, Pollstar, RIAA, promoters, managers, lawyers and some of the artists themselves.”

According to Forbes, there were a number of ‘near misses’ – DJs who didn’t make the top ten but probably won’t be calling on loans from friends and family this year. Leading that group of almost-cash kings: Alesso, Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, Nervo, DJ Snake, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell and Krewella. Get into the Forbes rankings below, and prepare to feel very poor.

Forbes – Electronic Cash Kings 2015

1. Calvin Harris ($66 million)
2. David Guetta ($37 million)
3. Tiësto ($36 million)
4. Skrillex ($24 million) tied with Steve Aoki ($24 million)
5. Avicii ($19 million)
6. Kaskade ($18 million)
7. Martin Garrix ($17 million) tied with Zedd ($17 million)
8. Afrojack ($16 million)
9. Deadmau5 ($15 million) tied with Diplo ($15 million)


All About The Bass

In this article I’ll pass along some tips that I’ve garnered over the years with respect to mixing in home studios. One of the most common challenges in mixing is getting the bass right. We’ve all experienced the frustration of finishing a song, then going to have a listen in the car and discovering that things don’t sound right. The problem could be overly boomy bass, the kick drum and bass line fighting each other, or a myriad of other problems in the low end. To understand why the bass can be so problematic, let’s first consider problems within your mixing environment, i.e. your room. All rooms have areas where the bass is either absent or exaggerated– these are called peaks and nulls.

Here’s a helpful way of illustrating this phenomena: in your DAW open up a signal generator and play a 50 hz tone. Now move about the room. You will most likely find that there are places in the your listening environment where the bass practically disappears, and other places where the bass build up is so intense you feel like your head is going to explode. This happens because of the acoustics relating to the size of the room, height of the ceiling, positioning of speakers, etc. In a perfect world the bass should be even throughout the room.

So what can we do to minimize these peaks and nulls? Well, there are a number of best practices. Ideally your room should be rectangular and the speakers should be positioned facing the long way with tweeters at eye level. It’s also wise to keep some distance between the speakers and the walls, as placing the speakers too close to walls will tend to amplify bass. More rules of thumb: Your listening area should be approximately 1/3 of the way between the front and back wall. Also, your speakers should form an equidistant triangle with your head.

In addition to proper placement of speakers, another helpful tool is the use of bass traps. Strategically placed bass traps will help to even out the peaks and nulls. You can find articles online on how to build your own bass traps with materials readily available at hardware stores. If you don’t want to build your own, I’ve had excellent results using products made by Real Traps and GIK Acoustics Both of these companies also provide excellent support. In general I recommend using the thicker model bass traps, as they do a better job with lower frequencies.

Following these best practices for speaker placement and bass trapping can make a world of difference in how your room sounds!