It used to be that if you wanted a mastering engineer with 10,000+ hours of experience AND have your master ran through real analog mastering 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 an affordable price. Let's get your music sounding better than ever!
Hi, I'm Mark Stephenson and I run a mastering business called Clean Analog Mastering. I also produce and mix music myself, so when I work, I focus on REALLY listening until I understand what you're going for. I'm well equipped to deliver any sound and vibe, but not before understanding what that sound/vibe actually is.
The main question most people have is "can you get my song ready for distribution, sort my translation issues and have it sounding as good or better than other songs in my genre?"
Maybe this will answer your question:
Phase 1: detailed analysis, create strategy
Phase 2: translation issues addressed (eq and tightening)
Phase 3: sweetening (tape machine, tube compressor etc)
Phase 4: final balance, stereo enhancement and phase correction if necessary
Phase 5: error checks, cleanup, translation re-check
Phase 6: revisions requested by client are addressed and completed until satisfaction is secured.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
11 Reviews - 2 Repeat ClientsEndorse Mark Stephenson
Worked again with Mark because I was so happy with the last master he provided for my debut single. This time around things were just as great! Was very open to feedback and you know he really wants what's best for the track. Nothing can beat that analog sheen. Would most definitely recommend!
Mark's master of my single was crisp, punchy, and translated well on all speakers. That analog juice really does wonders. Was super responsive to feedback and overall I had a great experience. Highly recommend!!!
Mark did a great job on the track. He is very patient and works on the track until you are completely satisfied. 5/5 stars.
Mark's efforts to master my song were outstanding, everything came to life and now the song rocks! Working with him was a pleasure!
Mark was great. He worked with me to get the sound I was after and nailed it!
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!
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!
Mark Stephenson has taught me so much over the years, his attention to detail and love for music really shows in his final product. His work ethic is unparalleled and unlike many other mixing and mastering guys that just throw the same chains on every song and milk the clock, you really get your money’s worth with this guy. Highly recommended!!! 😄
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!
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
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
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Phase 1: analysis Phase 2: translation (eq and tightening) Phase 3: sweetening Phase 4: final balance, stereo enhancement Phase 5: error checks, cleanup, translation re-check Phase 6: revisions requested by client completed until satisfaction is secured
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Adam S series 9's with room correction software in an already well treated room. Everything I finish translates extremely well. BBE sonic maximizer (hardware unit), Izotope RX8, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Protools 12, Bettermaker limiter (hardware), Elysia and SPL mastering software, as well as Acustica and UAD 1176s (software).
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Mastering stereo tracks as well as stems, as well as some live recording restoration/mastering.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Butch Vig, Steve Albini, Steve Lillywhite, Brian McTear, Lou Barlow, Ben Gibbard, J Mascis, Doug Martsch, Vic Bondi, Tom Petty, I could go on for days about this.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can that artifact and/or performance mistake be fixed in the mix or mastering process?
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Fluid yet Precise. Transparent and Warm.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
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.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
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.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Chris Walla...he's a genius.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
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.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
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".
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: not yet, i am new to this format
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm producing/mixing/mastering a instrumental rock album.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That you will be happy with the finished product. I will make sure of it, completely and absolutely.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
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.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
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.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
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!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
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.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Mac, Apollo 16 interface, Custom Stratocaster, Genelec 8350 Studio Monitors, Mogami gold guitar cable. Twin Reverb amp and a very big monitor/screen.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
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.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
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?
Q: What do you bring to a song?
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.