Y, y, y, what a mess.
The concept is SO distorted by now, that reading the thread I was almost convinced
Mastering was a term synonym 2 the Cutting process in the analog world.
When cutting 2 vinyl (plastic record), a special process was needed 2 overcome the mediums limitations.
Bass response, level and s/n ratio, playing time, HF response, phase, were VERY limited when carving a physical groove in2 a plastic lacquer.
The no more limits in digital marketing lie is selling zillions of mastering packages, overlooking the truth.
Reducing bit rate from 24>16 (cd quality) is not a trivial task, not @ all.
In a recent project I mixed, me and a well experienced mastering engineer (in analog cutting as well) were sweating it out 2 get the master on 2 CD with no change in the sound.
It took us a few hours, using top equipment, trying all dither formats. We finally managed it in ANALOG only, recording in2 a top 16-bit converter.
Im not saying its not possible in digital, but its not trivial with standard equipment, not @ all.
SR conversion will b the next problem, since we all move 2 96K. Kids, dont try this @ home
(pls do try, and lis10).
Mixing and mastering monitoring systems are 2 different beasts. In mixing, the monitor is a magnifying glass, making it easy 4 the engineer 2 detect problems in certain fq ranges, and come up with musical and creative solutions.
The NS-10s are a gr8 example. Gr8 4 mixing, lousy 4 mastering, they do produce gr8 mixes in the right hands. Most mixing monitors follow the same philosophy.
Mastering monitors are VERY un4giving. They are useless for mixing since every little mistake will pop up in the process, driving the engineer mad, denying him of solutions that will b well acceptable as the mix progresses, masking the previous tracks.
The engineers role is different 2. The mix engineer is making his own creation, much like the composer, the producer, the artist and so on and so forth. Most mix engineers (myself included), still try 2 fix the snare when they master.
The mastering engineer is fresh, neutral, and impartial. His task is different. Its a different war now. Think QC (quality control): Why is the controlling person different than the manufacturing 1?
The DIY attitude selling so many home studios is misleading:
Now U can compose by urslef, perform by urslef, arrange by urslef, produce by urslef, record by urslef, mix by urslef, and master by urslef.
What they DONT bother 2 mention is that with so many specialized tasks @ hand most chances r Ull end up being also the only 1 listening, by urslef.
The sales weasels have managed 2 throw the most popular A&R question in2 the consumers lap, like a hot potato:
If we dont use the XXX equipment, how many copies will we lose? Sgt. Pepper was recorded on just 4 trax ,yknow.
And The White Album? There was NOTHING on the cover, NOTHING!
While pros handle these questions with confidence, (and even joke about Spinal Tap with the A&R ppl in the process
) the innocent consumer is unknowingly spiralled down, believing he can indeed create the worlds next masterpiece with a $100 mic in2 a $100 pre > $500 virtual studio > $300 mastering suite, by himself.
Im not saying its not at all possible. EVERYTHINGs possible. The question here is THE ODDS.
A good kick in the butt might get U 2 the top of the Everest, however 4 some strange reason most pro climbers wont even try this method.
I guess they just like 2 mess around with all their fancy outfits, ladders, oxygen tanks, hooks, ropes and other stuff, boosting their ego and granting them sponsorship 4 loadsocash.
They never stop and think how SIMPLE it really is! Just buy my Iron-Boot-in-the Butt () system and get there in no time b4 everybody else!
Its only when 1 has witnessed the whole process, start-2-finish, 4 a good number of times, can he EVALUTE the risk involved in compromising a component in the chain, b it man or machine.
U may need mastering or not, thats 4 U 2 decide. Just dont believe U can race ur SKODA in the Camel Trophy .
You won't even finish the 1st day.
Instead, try a RangeRover with a skilled driver @ the wheel.