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Friday, July 30, 2010

Recording Notes, Part VII: Carl's Note on Mastering

Here is the last of our recording notes for the new EP, this time from Carl Saff, mastering engineer. You can find him here:

By the way: Holy crap!! I just checked out his site myself, and I see that he mastered the Boston Spaceships' last EP. I friggin' love that band - Robert Pollard and Chris Slusarenko of Guided by Voices and John Moen of the Decemberists. Hell yeah, go check them out. I feel all cool now.

Ok, enough of that. Says Carl:

"These mixes came in sounding quite solid, and so a keep-it-simple approach to the mastering was quickly adopted after surveying the songs. I focused on keeping the highs from being too "digital" or brash (dipping at 7.5khz here and there), and in solidifying the low end, which was loose in spots (both in terms of focus on the punchier part of the low end @~100hz vs. the subwoofer frequencies, and in terms of phase coherence here and there). On the first two tracks, I used some shelving EQ on the left side to center the highs a bit better... I felt my ear being dragged to the right now and then on those songs.

My analog chain was:

* API 5500 EQ
* Millenia NSEQ-F EQ
* Manley Massive Passive EQ
* API 2500 compressor
* Requisite L2M mk. III tube limiter

In the box, some software EQs complemented my analog chain, and I did final peak limiting via plugin as well.

The band really liked the first pass, but requested more presence for the
upright bass. A subtle push at around 200hz on the mid channel using a mid-side EQ did the trick. They also wanted less "slap" from the upright bass on track five. Some creative notching EQ alleviated that, and voila, the record was done. Mostly painless!"

Thanks Carl! You kick ass.


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