Whenever I reach this part of a project, I like to create a “to-do” list to make sure I stay on top of things. On this list will be changes, tweaks and scheduling notes for any further recording sessions. Right now here is what that list looks like for the new album:
Exciting ね? This point always seems to creep up on me, and its usually the first opportunity to step back and absorb everything I’ve been working on the past 6-8 months. Being the first full-length album released for Japan since TRANS//LATION (1) it’s a worthy follow-up – I’ve never been more proud of a project and later down this road I’ll tell you exactly why. (~.^)
Right now, I’m here to tell you about mastering, which is what I’m currently chipping away at.
For those of you who aren’t technically minded, mastering is the process where you take your tracks – with full arrangement and mixing – and add the final engineering techniques to make them all sound cohesive and members of the same family. EQ tweaks to add brightness to dull tracks, punch-though mid frequencies when needed and boost low-end bass signals for tracks that are too airy. Then compression, limiting and clipping are the final touches to give the songs the same loudness and energy required.
Mastering can be a long and arduous process which normally involves listening to the album over and over again, making tiny changes along the way. For some projects, mastering engineers have been brought in for this job, with mixed results. And being the utter control freak that I am (^^) I figured a long time ago, the only way to get mastering results that I would be 100% satisfied with would be to do it myself.
Armed with my trusty Xbox 360 in the studio, that is what I am working on right now (bouncing between remixes, photoshoots and video projects for occasional relief). I try and make it as painless a process as possible by working on the mastering of individual tracks during the production and arrangement phase – a method that I know some producers and engineers would be horrified to hear – but it’s much less of an issue when the full production and arrangement of a project is the responsibility of one sole individual.
The gap you’ll have noticed in the “to-do” list earlier is the final collaboration track for the album, which is down to simple scheduling issues. Once that’s been taken care of, that’s it. Album finished!! ^^
Then the road to promotion and release begins. (n______________________________n)
Any fellow audio geeks who have questions about mastering… or anything!! …just drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them all. ^^