Mark Stephenson

Clean Analog Mastering

5 Reviews (2 Verified)
Mark Stephenson on SoundBetter

It used to be that if you wanted an experienced mastering engineer and a master ran through real, analog tape, you would have to pay well over a hundred. Now, in the age of remote studios with lower overheads, you can get that same quality at a fraction of the price! ** New clients get half price right now = simple decision

Clean Analog Mastering:

Combines real analog tape with 16 years of experience

Delivers files optimized for streaming with competitive loudness, punch and clarity

Uses the latest in audio restoration software (izotope RX8), so if you need a little clean up, I got you covered

Understands that if you don't have the bass right, you don't have anything

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

5 Reviews - 1 Repeat Client

Endorse Mark Stephenson
  1. Review by Jeremy S.

    Another song, another conversation, another job very well done. Mark, his ear, and his equipment add a lush character to the songs. It jumps out of the speakers. I can't wait to get the next one ready for him and see where it goes!

  2. Review by Jeremy S.

    I went to Mark with a good sounding, but busy mix. Then, he did some witchcraft; and it jumped out of the speakers. He brought out loads of detail while gluing it all together perfectly. It blew my mind. His equipment and his ear are top notch. I took several listens and found a few things, most of which were my mistakes. We had a few messages back and forth, and he nailed it, even the things I screwed up! Very communicative and professional. I look forward to working further with him!

  3. Review by Lance K.

    FIVE STARS. Mark is a patient and insightful, with great listening skills and honest enthusiasm. He definitely has your desired end result in mind, every step of the way. In my experience, Mark is primarily focused on getting thesong to sound as big and warm as possible. I've relied on Mark's input on projects for almost a decade now, and look forward to more in the future!

  4. Review by Lance K

    Mark is always a pleasure to work with. He's patient and insightful, with great listening skills. He definitely has your desired end result in mind, every step of the way. In my expeirence, Mark is primarily focused on getting the song to sound as big and warm as possible. I've relied on Mark's input on projects for almost a decade now, and I look forward to many more great music talks and tunes i

  5. Review by Eddie Appleby

    Mark was professional, thorough, and responsive. He also gave us a fair rate, and the finished product was fantastic, will be using again.

Interview with Mark Stephenson

  1. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  2. A: Mastering stereo tracks as well as stems, as well as some live recording restoration/mastering.

  3. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  4. A: Butch Vig, Steve Albini, Steve Lillywhite, Brian McTear, Lou Barlow, Ben Gibbard, Andrew Futral, J Mascis, Doug Martsch, Vic Bondi, Tom Petty, I could go on for days about this.

  5. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  6. A: Adam AX7s with room correction software in an already well treated room. Everything I finish translates extremely well. BBE sonic maximizer (hardware unit), Izotope RX7, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Protools 12, Bettermaker tube limiter (hardware), Elysia and SPL mastering software, as well as Acustica and UAD 1176s (software).

  7. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  8. A: Can that artifact and/or performance mistake be fixed in the mix or mastering process?

  9. Q: How would you describe your style?

  10. A: Fluid yet Precise. Transparent and Warm.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: I love the feeling of watching as someone hears their music in a way they never have before. To see the look on an artist's face when they realize that THIS is the sound they had in their head, and I have just technically achieved it, often for the first time. There are few experiences quite like this.

  13. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  14. A: A good bit of rock (indie, post punk, dreampop, shoegaze mainly), roots/folk rock and singer songwriter/folk genres. The common thread is acoustic drums and vocals on the more natural side. No audible autotune or melodyne.

  15. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  16. A: Chris Walla...he's a genius.

  17. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  18. A: I would say my ability to elevate a song to it's next level. Like a point guard in basketball, it's not about me, it's about making everyone else better.

  19. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  20. A: That the skill of being a mixing engineer can be attained in a few short years. The fastest I've ever seen somebody become good enough to ensure industry standard quality across varying platforms is around 7 years, but that person is a verifiable genius and still put in 10,000 hours of work to get there. Be wary of anyone that has been doing it for less time than that if you're looking to get a final product that's "release ready".

  21. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  22. A: not yet, i am new to this format

  23. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  24. A: I'm producing/mixing/mastering a instrumental rock album.

  25. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  26. A: That you will be happy with the finished product. I will make sure of it, completely and absolutely.

  27. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  28. A: Both, but at this point, you only need some analog. Tube preamps are important, but running everything through a console is not important unless you have access to a hight end board like an SSL 9000k or something. There are so many digital avenues for giving your sound the warmth and fullness it needs, and companies like Waves, UAD and Slate Digital have been doing this type of modeling for years now. The key to getting a good sound in the digital realm is to really know what you are doing.

  29. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  30. A: I recently mastered an album for a band called Air Knives. The members of this band have all played in some very successful bands, are notoriously picky when it comes to sound and were very happy with the final product. They gave me a 5 star rating on my facebook page, so that was nice.

  31. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  32. A: Always make sure you're finished "demoing out" a song before you attempt to recreate it in pristine, high definition...for keeps. You're typically going to be revising the song one to three times before it's ready to go on an album, so bare that in mind when working with a new song. I know it's tempting to want to get that amazing brand new song you just wrote on to the upcoming album, but trust me on this....DEMO IT OUT!

  33. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  34. A: I attended and graduated Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida in 2001 after a couple years of recording some of my own music. The first studio I worked at is called Mike Conway 24 and 48 track recording, just outside Tampa Bay. I learned as much that first year out of school as I did the whole year in school. I started of mainly tracking hip hop, but slowly got to record local cover bands, and eventually up and coming original bands. After that I went on to work a number of studios on a free-lance basis, as well as my own home studio. I've been mixing and mastering for studios and on a free lance basis for 15 years now.

  35. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  36. A: Mac, Apollo 16 interface, Custom Stratocaster, Genelec 8350 Studio Monitors, Mogami gold guitar cable. Twin Reverb amp and a very big monitor/screen.

  37. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  38. A: Communication is key and sometimes a phone call or video chat conversations may be necessary. Also, it's a good idea to have clear ideas of what you want to accomplish with your project...whether you're looking to market yourself on social media, book a tour, play locally, submit to a publishing company to have music licensed for tv and film etc. And, have a fairly clear idea of what you want your song or group of songs to sound like. Having a few reference examples of what you like (sound-wise) on hand is a good idea.

  39. Q: What's your typical work process?

  40. A: I always start off with thorough analysis of the tracks that come in. The I typically go to getting some levels of all the different tracks and listening to the song a couple times. Once I start to get a feel for the direction to go in, I begin working with the beat, so in most cases the drums. A song with vocals is going to generally be concentrated around the lead vocal, so a lot goes into making sure every word and note are in their optimum places, volume wise.

  41. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  42. A: What are you plans for the final product- vinyl, digital only release, cd, licensing/sync? What songs/records do you think sound great? What artists do you like? again, what do you want to accomplish with your project, what does a major success look like in this scenario?

  43. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  44. A: With me you get you get an engineer that understands that first and foremost, music is magic- the mixing process is mostly about revealing what’s already there. I'm a mixer that understands the dynamics of energy in music, so I know how to get to that magical place with the energy you had envisioned for your song.

simpler times by air knives

I was the mastering engineer in this production

Terms Of Service

first time clients: $40 = 1 Master delivered via folder containing a HD 24bit WAV for streaming, HQ mp3, comes with 2 revisions.

GenresSounds Like
  • Jimmy Eat World
  • Counting Crows
  • Papadosio
Gear Highlights
  • Adam S series 9's
  • Subpac
  • Full Acoustic Treatment
  • Sonic Maximizer (hardware)
  • Bettermaker (hardware) La2a Limiting amp
  • Studer 812 tape machine
  • Izotope Rx 8
More Photos
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