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Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek

Lesson 74 from: Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Eyal Levi

Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek

Lesson 74 from: Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Eyal Levi

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Lesson Info

74. Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek


Class Trailer

Intro to Bootcamp


Purpose of Pre-Production


Technical Side of Preproduction


Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map


Pre-Production: Importing Stems


Pre-Production: Click Track


Creating Tracking Templates


Intro and the Tone Pie


Drums - Lay of the Land


Bearing Edges


Wood Types


Depths and Sizes




Sticks and Beaters


Drum Heads


Drum Tuning


Drum Mic Placement Intro


Basic Drum Mic Setup


Cymbal Mic Setup


Touch Up Tuning


Microphone Choice and Placement


Drum Tracking Intro


Getting Tones and Final Placement


Primary Tracking


Punching In and Comping Takes


Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking


Amplifiers - Lay of the Land


Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out


Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement


Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain


Finalizing Amplifier Tone


Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin


Intro to Rhythm Tracking


Setting Up Guitars


Working with a Guitarist


Final Guitar Tone and Recap


Guitar Tracking with John


Guitar Tracking with Ollie


Final Tracking


Tracking Quads


Intro to Bass Tone


Bass Tone Setup


Bass Tone Mic Placement


Bass Tracking


Intro to Clean and Lead Tones


Clean Guitar Tones


Lead Tones


Vocal Setup for Tracking


Vocal Mic Selection and Setup


Vocal Mic Shootout


Lead Vocal Tracking


Writing Harmonies


Harmony Vocal Tracking


Vocal Warm Ups


Scream Vocal Tracking


Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction


Vocal Tuning and Editing


Routing and Bussing


Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels


Setting Up Parallel Compression


Setting Up Drum Triggers


Gain Staging and Trim


Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ


Drum Mixing - Snare


Drum Mixing - Kick


Drum Mixing - Toms


Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms


Drum Mixing Recap


Mixing Bass Guitar


Mixing Rhythm Guitars


Basic Vocal Mix


Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars


Mixing - Automation


Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek


Lesson Info

Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek

Alright, so, a lot of you probably know that I'm not a mastering engineer, and have never been interested in being a mastering engineer. I've always had other great people to do that for me. But I also know that a lot of you like to master your own stuff, and that's kind of the new thing. Or new thing for the past 10 years. So I would think any up and coming mixers and producers should just learn how to master, because there's kind of no excuse anymore for not having a little bit of that knowledge, because, at the very least, you need to send bands loud mixes, these days. So with that said, I'm gonna bring on a guest. It's the very awesome Joel Wanasek. You might know him from Drumforge, and my podcast, the Joey Sturgis Forum Podcast, and, also, now the mix, we've worked together on tons of stuff. He's an amazing mix engineer, producer, all the above, and business partner, and blah blah blah, all that shit. So, welcome, Joel. How you doing, Eyal? I'm doing alright, man, thanks for ...

coming on. Absolutely. So much thank you for having me. Yeah, my pleasure. Glad to have you here. We're gonna have Joel talk about mastering, so I'm gonna just start railing off topics, because we don't have a huge amount of time, and let's just talk about it. One thing that I think is probably on a lot of people's minds is, I guess, can they achieve a good master all in the Box? Most people are in the Box. Versus, sending it to some huge studio, with tons of $10,000 EQs and stuff? Are there any special tricks for getting things good, in the Box, that you know of, for mastering? Well, that's a pretty wide topic. I'm gonna preface this, and first off, say that you can absolutely get a really good ITB master, and by ITB, I mean in the Box, for those of you not familiar with the acronym. It's a skill, mastering, where you can do it either way. You can do it in the box, really good, or outside of the box. And I think that going to a good mastering engineer, and I'm gonna kinda break up this answer to a few parts, here, if you don't mind. That's fine. Going to a good mastering engineer, obviously, is the best choice possible, in my opinion. Now, some guys, like myself, or our friend Joey Sturgis, we like to master our own stuff, but we also both do a lot of external mastering work, and master hundreds of songs a year. So it's definitely a skill you need to learn. But, preferably, when you're starting out, you wanna get that outside feedback, and even when you're a professional mixer or producer, or anything, if you can afford a good mastering guide, it's gonna give you outstanding insight on your mix, and just the kind of feedback that you really need, that's gonna help you progress, and give you that extra polish. It's always helped me out, to have someone with pretty pristine ears tell me that there's a build-up that I couldn't hear, because of my room, or just wasn't noticing, or helping with anything. A good mastering engineer's feedback is unbelievable, actually. Yeah, absolutely, and I would say in terms of getting a better master, in the Box, versus, say, out of the Box, that's an interesting topic. Because there's a lot of things that analog gear does, that it's very difficult, in my opinion, to achieve or to emulate in the computer. They kinda do different things, and have different strengths and weaknesses. But that being said, there are a lot of really stellar plug-ins, that do a really fantastic job, that you can get great results. So for me, I would say, in order of importance, you need a great mastering limiter. Now, mastering limiters have come light years, what do you think, from like 15 years ago? I mean, remember... Yeah. L2? (laughter) Oh, yeah. I think some people still use that, but there's tons of, there's lots of greater stuff out there, now, better stuff. I mean, not everybody likes to hear their snare transients, but... (laughter) No, L2 was a classic, but the problem with old school limiter technology like that, like I said, is it really mangles a lot of the transient. And as masters became louder, and louder, and louder, what ended up happening, is that it destroyed our drum mixes, more, and more, and more, mixing side of the equation. So, mastering limiter technology had to really evolve, and advance, to get to the point where it could compete with a clipping, so a lot of mastering engineers used to clip their drums by smashing the front end of their analog-to-digital converters, and usually they had really expensive $5,000 units, like Mytek, Lavry, Prism, Thorough, et cetera. These really high end converters that are very unobtainable, for a lot of the mass market. And by kind of topping off all the transients, and everything above the clip point, you could get it closer, and closer, and closer, and then bring it up, and reduce the headroom, and get a lot more perceived volume, in the same space. So mastering limiters now, like FG-X, and Ozone, et cetera, there's many companies that make good ones. They've really gotten a lot better now. And you can get, actually, in my opinion, a lot louder than you could with just clipping along, but sometimes it's like a combination, either or, so I would get a good clipper, I would get a really great mastering limiter. Aside from that, maybe a good EQ, and compressor plug-in. A great mastering EQ, in my opinion, that's got a lot of bang to the buck, would be the Clariphonic by Kush Audio. That piece is really stellar. The plug-in's great. Yeah. The hardware unit is unbelievable, but that's one company whose plug-ins are actually really, really good, too. Yeah, Greg really knows his stuff, the guy who owns Kush Audio. He's a very, very, very smart, talented designer. And I think that he designs like a musician, is what makes him fantastic, because a lot of people, they design for other designers. It works technically, on paper, but there's not a lot of musicality, and it's not intuitive. And Greg always designs his gear to be musical, and to be able to be used as a tool that is creative, because, again, we're doing a creative process, here. Mixing, mastering, producing, et cetera, it's all creative. The only thing in recording that's really technical, is editing, winding cables, things like that. So his plug-ins are great. So getting a great EQ, there's a lot of different ones, but even stock EQ, you can do serious damage. One of my go-to EQs on ITB Master, sometimes is stock EQ. And I think that the basic stock EQ, or any general ITB EQ, is really good at subtractive things, where some of the analog ones are a little bit better at additive processes, so... The analog qualities, and, like I said, we can talk about some of this, in a bit, if you want to, the difference between hardware and software, and their strengths and weaknesses. The analogs seem to really shine on the EQs when you boost, in the hardware realm, and for the most part, when you're in the digital realm, you can cut, and do a subtractive amount of equalization. How would you get around that, for people who can't afford hardware? I would just try to cut more than boost. I mean, theoretically, your mix shouldn't need too much of a... If you've mixed your stuff correctly, you shouldn't have to really tilt the scales, too much. A good way to do that without doing a lot of damage, is to use a gentle shelving EQ. And I think one of the best slopes, which is a very gradual curve, is called a Baxandall EQ. And it's basically, on a grid, it's a very gentle slope. It doesn't look like you're going up a hill. It's a very gentle gradient. And by using a very soft and friendly musical mastering shelf like that, you can usually add treble without getting into too much trouble, or bass, for example, or subtract it. So that's a really good place to do tilt EQs, for example, are based off that type of EQ curve, and you can kind of do things on one knob, and there's a couple companies that make really cool tilt EQs, and things like that. So I would say that having a good shelf like that, doing a lot of shelving, is a great place to start. And then a lot of narrow notching, and things like that. You can't be, I would say, you can't be afraid to use EQ when you're mastering. And I know a lot of mastering engineers just got really upset by me saying that, because there's a very purist aspect to mastering. Sometimes, I feel like when you're mastering, if it doesn't come back sounding at least as good, if not a little bit better, or not substantially better, you haven't done your job, but that's my own personal philosophy, and opinion. I agree. Sometimes, you just need to get heavy-handed with EQ on your mastering, do a lot of notching, because there's resonance, build-up, that the mixer missed, from either a lack of experience, or maybe their room treatment is off, or just lack of knowledge. And really, it's incredibly important to not be afraid to throw out the rule book a little bit, and say, I shouldn't be doing a 6 dB cut at 3.8K, but it sounds great, because there's really an overshoot in 3.8, and it's really harsh, and I can hear it on my really expensive speakers, but this guy can't on his earbuds. So it's your job as a mastering guy to fix those things, and guide those people into the right direction. How do you recommend that people get better at hearing that kind of stuff, besides not mixing on earbuds. That's a very difficult question to answer, because I feel like a lot of people want shortcut answers. Yeah. They all want the, oh yeah, just get this plug-in, or just do this, or just do that, and the actual answer is ugly and brutally simple, and it's work hard, and master and mix a lot of material. And your ears are going to evolve. And I think this is a good point for people who are mixing, and on this event here, that are trying to learn how to mix, too. Your hearing is going to evolve over a period of many, many, many years. And you're going to hear different parts of the spectrum, you're going to become more perceptive. For example, you're going to hear a lot of two to three K, then maybe a lot of 100 to 400, in all of your mixes. And eventually, over time, your ears get better. So you have to have that learning curve with EQ, and the only way to really memorize that EQ curve, and kind of figure out what the tolerances for each market are, for example, if you're mixing for Christian radio, it's very different than if you're mixing for active rock. I should say mastering and mixing, both. But there's different types of EQ, and different types of focuses, and things like that. Can you explain a few of those differences? Yeah, sure, I'm gonna approach this a little bit from a mixing point of view, too, because it's even more heavy-handed from a mixing point of view, than it is mastering, but if you're mixing for Christian rock radio, now I've had a lot of songs in the top 10, on the billboard, and stuff, for that, that I've mixed over the years. And Christian rock is a little bit of a darker mix, they like vocals super loud. It's kind of like, if you can hear the band, the song isn't that good. Because it's Christian music, and it's really just about spreading whatever message they're trying to spread in their song, so they really wanna focus on the message, and it's not so much about the music, whereas if you're mixing active rock, it's a little bit more punchy, and brighter, and more separated, and not, you know, it sounds more aggressive, and it's heavier, and the vocals are loud, but they're not like pop music loud, where it's like, vocals, band. So that just being a consideration. So from a mastering point of view, if you get a mix and you're like, oh, this is really dark, and it's going to active rock, you need to brighten it up. Or is if you get a really bright mix, and it's going to Christian radio, you know, intuitively, from experience, and lots of work, that you have to go a little bit darker on the mix. So again, you have to just do the work, and like anything, if you do it every single day, and you work on it, even if you have clients or not, and you really go at it with passion, you're gonna improve on it every single time, and you're gonna get better, and better, and better, and better. So I wanna say that there really is no shortcut, or trick to getting better at this stuff, and hearing, other than just really, really listening. For example, the stuff we do right now, the mix, I don't really want to self-plug, but I think it's good, because people can hear some of the things through different people's mixing perspective. So when you watch someone like me, or you, or Joey EQ, you can say, oh, how come... mixer axe is always cutting this out of their stuff, and all of a sudden, they become more perceptive to that frequency, and didn't even realize it, and it can help speed up advances in hearing. But again, you have to learn how much is too much, how much is enough, et cetera. You know, it's a learning curve, it's definitely a process. And it's also important to know different genres, and what's specifically appropriate to those genres. And, yeah, and different markets, because different genres and different markets have to have different sounds. It depends who you're mixing for, for example, I can send a master to one ANR guy, and send it to another ANR guy, and one ANR guy might love it, because that's what he likes, and another ANR guy might absolutely think it's the worst sounding thing, it sounds like a demo to them, whereas, to the other guy, it sounds like the best sounding thing out on the market, and it's really competitive. It just goes to show you that there's a lot of perspective in this, and you have to really know the clients, and who you're mastering for, in what market, as well as the genre, the niche, and it's complicated, and it takes a lot of practice. But again, it's doable, and manageable, you just have to break it off into small pieces, and do it every day. I can't harp on that enough. Okay, so let's talk about some of the gear. What's in your rack right now, as far as mastering compressors go? Nothing. I'm kidding. I've got Shadow Hills mastering comp, that's my bread and butter piece. I have the class A version, for analog nerds who know what that actually means. One of fifty in the world, it sounds really, really, sweet, I would say, the way to explain it would be like, if you took your mix, and you wrapped it in a little bit of silk, it kinda just makes everything sound expensive, and feel really good, and classy, and high end. And what's cool about it, is it has three transformer options, and it's got the steel, iron, and nickel. And each one kinda emphasizes the different range. The steel is a little bit of a bottom, it's a very desaturated kind of sound, it sounds very big and open. The iron, it sounds very compact, and gelled, and kind of fat around the sides. The nickel is very open, and a little bit of a top boost, and not quite as gritty and distorted. So what's cool about gear, and let me tie this in, I'll say that one thing that I feel like is really awesome for people that mix ITB, is to have your stuff mastered by somebody who has analog gear, because analog adds that extra bit of depth, space, top to bottom, front to back, left to right, realism into the mix, and it just makes everything a little bit more dynamic, a little bit more open. It makes it sound a little bit musical, and a little bit more pleasing, because there's these qualities, that transformers, tubes, op amps, and all this fancy equipment has, that really adds that to the mix. So I love that compressor because it's subtle, but it's one of those things where you run something through it, you sit back, and you smile, and you're going, 9.9 out of 10 times, it sounds better, 10 out of 10 times, it sounds better. It always sounds better, at least to my ears. But again, that's why I purchased that piece, because I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. Do you set it on a perma-setting, and just control the input level, or are you messing with it constantly? If I'm mixing, yes, but if I'm mastering, usually, it's variable. It just depends, I'll give you an example. The guy that has a studio across the hall from me, in my facility, he doesn't mix with a dual bus compressor, it's just not how he works, so I always throw his mixes, when I'm mastering his stuff for him, into an SSL G comp, bus compressor, and it actually would mix. Because he just doesn't compress his mixes, that's just not how he works, so his mixes need it. Now, somebody who mixes, and mixes into a compressor, isn't going to need, so much, compression, so I generally will use boxes like that for the tone, and the depth of field, and just the vibe, and the mojo of them, but if I'm going with the compression, it's generally a really, really soft, and gentle setting, like a 1.2 to one, or unless I'm using it as some kind of hard limiter, for some reason, because there's all kinds of overs, and weird peaks, I would say it's very material dependent. I look at each song, and say, okay, what are the problems with this song, how can I make it sound better, and how can I fix some of those problems, and which tools do I need to use? But you're not afraid to go to town with the settings. Oh, no, I'll go in and compress, you know, 10 dB of gain reduction, if I have to, if that's what the mix needs. I don't care what the meters read, or what the numbers are, or what it says, all I care about is does it sound awesome, does it sound better, and when they, the client, hear it, are they gonna be really, really excited about it, and be like, dude, this is amazing, I can't wait to hear the rest of the songs. That's all that matters to me. So, that's what's important at the end of the day. So what else do you have in that rack, that you use for mastering? I have two EQs, three, technically, I have a Manley Massive Passive EQ, the Clariphonic, from Kush Audio, and I have an API 5500 Dual EQ, which is like a rack version of the 500 series, but it has a... There's a range button, that takes the... Sorry, excuse me. I'm just gonna drink some water. There's a range button that allows you to, because it comes in 3 dB steps, right, so you can go to a half dB, or a single dB step in the EQ, and make it not so extreme. So each one of those EQs has a different color, and a different tone to it, and a different feel. Like the API's really punchy, the Clariphonic is really silky smooth, and open, and the Manley's tube, so it's very, it sounds like a tube EQ, that's the only way I can explain it in words, it's just very, very, very nice. And each one of these EQs, sometimes I'll stack 'em, or try out different ones, but I'll audition them, and find out which one's best for the song, or depending on what kind of thing. For example, I boost the Clariphonic on certain types of instruments, and masters, or I like the Manley on other ones, or the API on other ones, it just depends on, again, what the song is, what the genre is, what the target market is, and how much I feel like I need to modify the tonal characteristics of the mix, or add something, again, which is something which I feel like in digital, a lot of digital mixes benefit from now. Because getting to run through a $5,000 tube EQ adds that extra, you can't emulate that in a computer quite yet, and it does a good job, but there's something missing, and it's hard to explain in quantifiable terms. But when you hear it, you're like, yeah, that's it. So, how do you approach it differently when you have to salvage a really horrible mix, in order to be able to master it, versus when someone sends you something that's great? My favorite thing ever. Remember when we talked about being heavy-handed? I would say that it just requires for more extreme measures. So if you get a really, really amazing mix, a lot of times, you really don't need to add a lot to it. Again it's just, if it was done digitally, maybe adding a little bit of analog, or maybe they want it to be really digital sounding, so staying straight in the Box, but maybe it needs some max space harmonic synthesis, or maybe it needs, maybe it doesn't need anything, maybe it just needs to be louder, it needs one or two small EQ corrections, and just somebody else's ears on it. So, the salvaging stuff is really difficult because you have a lot of problems that you need to solve. Maybe the mix is really muddy, it's super flubby on the bottom end, and the top end is really harsh, and I get a lot of songs to master with that. The best of all worlds. Yeah, everything sounds like crap, and it shouldn't, it comes to me, but there's no way to re-mix it. And the nightmare disaster scenario, it happens more so now than I feel like it used to. Especially as I've gotten better and better at this, and I've gotten higher grade clients. It attracts a lot of lower grade ones, too, because they want some credibility on their record, and they hear this guy's good, so try 'em out. So sometimes you get stuff that's less than ideal, and it generally, it's very challenging, because, okay, so let's talk about that situation. So, first things first, if you were gonna get specific, the bass is really flubby, maybe you need to go and filter, and do a high pass on the bottom end, or maybe there's too much sub rumble, or something like that, or a low shelf, or maybe there's a particular build-up, at a particular frequency, so you can attack it with a multi band compressor, or you can attack it with a little bit of narrow notch equalization. You know, if the mid-range is really tubby, again, you can go in with heavy EQ, multi band, compression, et cetera. Same thing with the top end, if it's harsh, you gotta find those frequencies, you gotta notch 'em out. Maybe it needs a shelf, maybe it needs to be tilted out. There's a lot of different ways. The problem is, in mastering, everything affects everything. So if you can avoid having to re-mix, great, but sometimes you get a master, a song to mix, and it's so bad that you know that there's no way the person sending it to you can possibly do a better mix. You can give them mix notes all day, it just doesn't matter, they just don't understand mixing, and they're not going to, so you as the mastering engineer, it's your job to just make it sound better. And just cut your losses, and move forward. Yeah, I mean, for example, if the low end is really weak, and the kick doesn't have any punch, because the kid isn't monitoring in a good environment, and he doesn't have good low end, I'll go and throw in a max bass, or maybe a plug-in like Slate revival, or something, or a transient designer, and give it some bottom end thump, and turn up the low end, and at least try to get some in the mix, a little bit. And again, I'm not afraid to be heavy-handed. If the top is really dull, just go in with an EQ like Clariphonic, and just open it up, and just add a ton of top end, and get it really sparkly, and pretty, and kill anything that's harsh. I think the overriding theme, though, is you just can't be afraid to be heavy-handed with it. You just have to go in and master the song, and try to get it to sound better, try every single tool in your box, and try to solve all the problems, while keeping in mind that everything you're doing affects everything else. You clear out a little 2K, and all of a sudden, boom, your vocals inaudible, but your guitars aren't harsh. So where's the balance point between being able to hear your vocals, and not having guitars that make you wanna rip your skull out of your head. Have you ever gone in a mix to master, where the mixer was way too heavy-handed on his mix bus? In terms of compression, or EQ? Either. Or like, clipping, or limiting, even. All of the above. Yeah, all the time, especially when I do electronic music. The standard right now with EDM, it's really funny, and every time I do, I have a couple of Christian pop artists I work with, and they'll send me stuff, and all their producer guys will self-master, and be like, it's gonna go to a real mastering guy, and then they always put these really mean notes in there, like, you let your mastering engineer. It's already compressed, it's already EQ, it's already maximized for EDM, like I don't understand the EDM market, or else they wouldn't be hiring me in the first place. But he doesn't know who he's going to, and he's trying to protect his work, and so when you get it in, there's no head room, and there's no... Everything's already maxed out. Again, I try to go in and say, how can I make this sound better? The first thing I'm gonna do is pop it down in volume, and if it's done all digital, I'm gonna throw in some of the analog stuff, and run it through it, see if it sounds any better. If it doesn't, it'll stay digital, and I'll go in, and add some EQ, or whatever, and then limit it back up to where it needs to be, and there's lots of things. Sometimes saturation plug-ins, or virtual tape racks, or... All sorts of different tools. Again, revival by Slate, if you want something that's quick, easy, and free. You know, there's a lot of these things out there, these tools that can really help situations like that, where everything is maxed, you've got nothing to play with, but you still need to master it, and the client expects you to turn in something that sounds better, even though the mixer quasi-mastered it, left you nothing to play with, because he doesn't want it messed with at all. Yeah, a common situation. Yeah, you just gotta show 'em, and prove 'em wrong, and they'll be like, oh, yeah, this is sick. And you know, just do your job. At what point do you decide to go super light-handed? Only when the mix is really amazing, and doesn't need a lot. Again, you just have to judge it, and listen to it, and be like, alright, it sounds great, what would make it sound better? Does it need to sound more organic? Or does it need to sound more tight, and digital, or... It just depends on the genre, and if you're mixing like a gent band, for example, since this is a metal Creative Live class, a lot of those kids are not gonna want a little bit of, too warm, analog, transformer sounds. And they're not gonna want that, but they just want really in your face, hyper limited, hyper clipped, just brutal, rip your face off. So, again, it's just about going in, maybe there's a little bit of EQ build-up that were missed, or some things. How can I get more clarity in the mix? And I just go fishing with an EQ, and try a few plug-ins, and I usually don't go crazy with it. Just a little bit, and I always try to make my master sound better than what I got. So at least they can compare them, and hear an obvious, notable difference, of at least five percent, but nothing where they're gonna sit back and go, oh, wow, this guy absolutely destroyed it, what did he do to my mix? Unfortunately, that happens a lot when you send mixes off. That's definitely happened to me quite a few times. Can you run us through just a sample, light-handed chain? Let's say you got a really sick gent mix in, just think of, just off the top of your head, what would be the version of not being heavy-handed on that? It depends on the low end, but I might go for something like some harmonic synthesis, if it's needed. Definitely just EQ, something like a Clariphonic, and a little bit of stock EQ for some matching, and then a limiter. I'm not gonna compress it, probably, because the guy is probably already varying every needle, everywhere possible, limiting and clipping everything to the absolute maximum point, so it's not gonna need any dynamics control, but usually just a little bit of frequency touch-up, and some shelf, in your... You know, a dB here, here, notch out a little bit there, but mostly just EQ. Okay. So what are you, besides just listening, listening and doing, is there anything else that you recommend people pay attention to, or read, or enrich themselves with, if they wanna become sick mastering engineers? Well, I'm hesitant to say forums and Facebook groups, and things like that, because you never know who you're getting information from, and it's great that there's so many people so enthusiastic about audio, but... Excuse me. It's still really dry, in here, from Winter, so excuse my hoarseness. It's okay. I recommend forums with a grain of salt, because forums are great places for ideas, but you never know if the person giving you an idea is a world class engineer, mixer, mastering person, whatever, or if they're a kid who's five times worse than you are, but he's telling you, oh, you've got to try a parallel compression on this, and you don't necessarily need parallel compression, maybe the solution is even simpler, but that kid doesn't know any better, because he doesn't have any experience, and so you have to be very careful when you're online, trying to find credible sources from people with credits, that also know how to teach, that aren't necessarily people who, they may be working on awesome stuff, but just because somebody's a savant at mixing and mastering, or whatever, doesn't mean they're good at educating people about how to do so. So try to find people that are credible, that have good sources, and try to find groups with people that have a lot of bulk. People that are active and friendly enough to want to participate. I would say there's some really good books on mastering, and things like that, for example, Bob Katz has a great book, Mastering Audio, which I feel is kind of the Bible of mastering, like you have to read it if you want to learn how to be a mastering engineer. It's really one-on-one stuff, practice stuff. If you want to get into the really, I call it boring, mastering stuff, like what file format, how should I deliver my stuff to iTunes, blah, blah, blah, what's the difference between 96K versus 48, you know, the stuff that people get in fist fights, that really isn't that important, except to those very small niche of people. So there's some good books, that's a great book that'll prep you on a lot of that stuff, and help you have a good understanding, and a good breadth of knowledge. Aside from that, I would go out and look at courses, like I'm sure Creative Live, you guys have some great mastering courses. Jesse Cannon did one. Yeah, Jesse Cannon, absolutely fantastic. You can listen to our podcast, we've had some really amazing guys on, like Mor Applebaum, Al Douchez, and Bob Katz, and Jesse Cannon's been on, so there's a lot of good sources of information out there, where you can just listen to professional mastering people who have years of experience in the trenches, who have great lists, where you can actually listen to their records. So you can always, okay, that's a good play. When you're gonna take advice from somebody, go listen to their work, listen to their mixes and stuff. And if you think it's great, that's somebody you probably want to listen to. From a mixing standpoint, Chris Lord-Alge, for example, was handing out mixing advice, someone like me would want to listen, because he's fantastic at what he does, and obviously his opinion's gonna be worth something. Same thing, mastering, you know, Bernie Grundman, or Ted Jensen says something on a forum, you better listen, because even if it works, or it doesn't work for you, it's worth at least sitting down and listening to that knowledge, and testing it out, figuring out what it is, and why they're recommending it, and what problems it solves. So just look for credible people that are handing out advice, and like anything, it's all trial and error, you have to get your own work flow in sound, but again, it's just about getting out there, and really doing it, and being passionate, wanting to be great at it. That's, I feel like, the most important thing. And putting in your 20,000 hours. Yeah, or 30 or 40. Yeah, exactly. Alright, man, well, cool. I'm gonna end this here, I gotta get back to Creative Live stuff, but thank you so much for coming on. And I know that I'm gonna be talking to you very soon. Thank you so much, Eyal, I appreciate it, and good luck with everything. Alright man, same to you.

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Ratings and Reviews


I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Amazing knowledge is being presented here. If you want to start out recording, this should be your first step, it'll save you lots of time and get you awesome results. Highly recommended class.

Student Work