No JACK OF ALL TRADES here - Only (and ONLY!) AUDIO MASTERING ... no one will spend as much time and attention on your tracks than me. sounds cocky but it's true. TRY US!
Professional Audio Mastering located in New York, US.
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Interview with Mastervargas
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: On a single from an artist who found me here on SoundBetter :).
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: both, because both have their strengths (and weaknesses) - tools are tools, one has to use what's necessary and appropriate.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: we'll tweak it until you're 100% satisfied.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Most of the time I get to work with skilled and talented people and I'm basically paid to listen to music. what's not to like?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: mastering is a very misunderstood process. there are many misconceptions but I have to pick one it would be: mastering doesn't equal processing. it involves processing but only if necessary - and it is often the case - but the main goal is to deliver a finished product ready to be released. I often hear clients say ... send me the processed "master" and I'll cross-fade it with and intro or similar situations ... a master is a master - it's not to be touched. and when it comes to an album, I sometimes see mastering engineers listed on a per track basis. that doesn't make sense - even if the project includes already mastered tracks by some other engineer, the person who delivers that particular master is the mastering engineer of the whole projects exactly because mastering doesn't equal processing. hope it makes sense.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: know what you want. don't listen to others, don't try to copy no one. ask of me exactly what you need no matter how crazy it sounds - it's your music, it should sound just like you intend it.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: my ears, a computer - sounds trivial but what would we be doing without DAWs??, a good set of speakers and amp, and I'd build a big room on that island cause the monitoring and the room is key IMO! the rest are just tools ...you have to hear what you're doing first and foremost.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Since 1998-1999. I was in several bands as a drummer. I mixed a bit, produced our own stuff then I got into mastering. first ITB then step by step I got into analog gear, owned quite a few, kept what impressed me and helps me in my work.I try to avoid hype and use my own ears and judgement.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Everyone is welcome - I provide a service here so be it a demo or a project from a seasoned artist, I will treat each project with the same care and attention to detail. Wouldn't know any other way ...
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I'm not in production but rather mastering so as far as my craft goes, here it is: do no harm, less is more - they are obviously not my tips but I really believe in them. and use your ears, don't let the eyes fool you!
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: mastering engineers should be able to tackle any genre IMO - I worked on pop, rock, metal, dance, EDM, Jazz, you name it ... bit less on hip-hop maybe but that doesn't mean I can't do it.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I'm a perfectionist - no, really, I'm nuts :). I'm a good communicator - I really talk and write a lot - just look at this interview :) ... and I'm always on time - people can really depend on me. if you have a tight deadline I'm your guy - I have almost 20 years of experience, I know how to handle a project and get the job done in a timely matter.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: a listen critically to the track(s) several times to check if there's maybe something really off with the mix - in fact that's the first thing many clients ask of me "please listen to the mix and tell me if there's something wrong with my mix"- then I try to imagine I'm just a listener and get the feel of the track - what strikes me first, what could benefit the mojo of the track, what would get me off my seat. then I run the track through my chain and start gain staging. some of the analog stuff is already affecting the sound even with little or no processing. then I try to correct some things that are sorta getting in the way so to speak. once everything is "cleaned up" and sounds right I can decide if there's some extra "fairy dust" I can add and then deal with the overall loudness - if the client wants it hot I will go step by step and maybe deliver 2-3 versions - first a more conservative version, the second is one I would call it "enough" and the third a bit over the top so the client can evaluate if he want to trade quality vs loudness. Of course many time there's a lot more going on like editing, processing parts differently and so on but as a "template" what I described above it's what's happening most of the time.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run a hybrid analog/digital setup. I use the Crane Song HEDD 192 for its converters and occasionally for the processing. I have a Tube electro-optical comp, the Pendumul OCL-2 and an Avalon 747 twin path, a Manley Massive Passive tube EQ for mojo - which is great even it it's in the off position (not kidding, just the transformer sound when the EQ is Off is woth it) and a Maselec MEA-2 for more accurate EQ-ing. Bower and Wilkins nautilus Speakers and Classe amplification, Benchmark DAC and headphone preamp with Sennheiser HD-650 for pristine monitoring. they I go digital and use very few of the best plugs around - people usually think "cheap" when it comes to plugins but like in everything ... many are indeed cheap and just pedestrian but 10-20% are great and are doing things impossible in analog - think brickwall limiting or very specific De-essing.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Bob Ludwig, Ted Jensen, Dave Collins, Andrew Scheps, Andy Wallace, Ken Wallace/ Ian London
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: audio mastering for CD, digital download and vinyl