Justin Colletti

Mastering Engineer

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3 Reviews (3 Verified)
Justin Colletti on SoundBetter

I'm a mastering engineer who has spent more than a decade helping his clients make the best-sounding releases they can. I want to make your release sound as good as you meant for it to sound... only better! Your music should sound like it deserves to sit on the shelf right next to your favorite records. Together we can make that happen.

I want to understand your vision, connect with your tracks and get your release right the first time!

Every master starts off with me getting in tune with the client's tastes, preferences and vision, often by listening to 3 or more of their favorite-sounding records. This helps give me a general sense for your tastes in loudness, brightness, low end, depth, width, clarity, richness and so on.

From there, I start by *listening and evaluating* before I move a single knob. Too many people start by fiddling and applying standardized processing instead of by listening and figuring out what really needs to be done.

I start by determining what the track needs in order to realize the artist's, mixer's and producer's vision for it. That's the most important part. Once we have that established, getting there is the easy part. (Or at least it is once you've been doing this long enough! :)

From there, I do whatever it takes to realize that goal, whether that means barely touching a thing, or turning all the knobs around backwards until they break.

I do this using all the obvious tools: Equalization, compression, saturation, limiting, and when needed, stereo field enhancement, dynamic EQ, multiband compression, mid-side processing and so on. There are no secret tools in mastering. Just a special mindset, a special focus, and a special way of listening and approaching sounds.

Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.

3 Reviews - 1 Repeat Client

Endorse Justin Colletti
  1. Review by Geoff W.
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    This was the second time I’ve had Justin master some tracks and once again he did an amazing job. Highly recommended!

  2. Review by Geoff W.
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    Justin did a great job and is a very talented Mastering engineer. He spent the time to address an issue in the mix and I am very happy with the results. Highly recommended.

  3. Review by Lucas S.
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    Justin provided a wonderful final Master on the track i sent him.
    A top class professional and his experience is certainly reflected in his work. Very pleased with the end result. Great communication and value, i highly recommend Justin if you're considering taking your tracks to the next level.

Interview with Justin Colletti

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

  2. A: When I was mixing, I worked with mastering engineers in a variety of price ranges. I rarely had results I loved with ones that cost in the $50/song and under range, and when I did have good results it took a lot of back and forth. I came into mastering wanting to do better work than that, and so quickly started charging more than that. If you can't afford to work with someone who is closer to the $100/song mark like I am, then take your time with the mastering process! Don't be afraid to go back and forth with your mastering engineer until you have the results you want! There are a few records I mixed where to this day where I still regret that we didn't do more revisions with the cheaper mastering engineer that the client hired. In music—as in life—be nice, be professional, but also don't stop until you get what you really want and deserve in music and in life!

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

  4. A: Hm. Probably a box of matches, a pointy stick, a roll of gaffer's tape, great speakers, and a source of power. I figure you could survive pretty much anything that way.

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

  6. A: I've been messing around with audio since I repossessed my dad's neglected 4-track cassette recorder when I was 13 years old. I never looked back. I've been at it for 25 years now, and making a living at it for at least 15 years, arguably longer than that.

  7. Q: How would you describe your style?

  8. A: My style is to realize your style. That said, I have my own biases. I tend to like things to sound full and rich and warm... but without losing any clarity or articulation. I like music to sound immersive and impactful. I want to be able to crawl up into of a song and live inside of it. I hope you do too!

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

  10. A: YOU. Why? Because you spent this long reading my interview. Wow. We'd probably get along. Thanks for reading!

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

  12. A: A lot of indie pop, indie rock, intelligent hip hop and electronic music.

  13. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  14. A: Making your record sound like you meant for it to sound. Only better.

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

  16. A: Relentless optimism, determination, and understanding of the artist's vision.

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

  18. A: Every master starts off with me getting in tune with the client's tastes, preferences and vision, often by listening to 3 or more of their favorite-sounding records. This helps give me a general sense for their tastes in loudness, brightness, low end, depth, width, clarity, richness and so on. From there, I start by *LISTENING AND EVALUATING* before moving a single knob. Too many people start by fiddling and applying standardized processing. I start by figuring out what the track needs in order to realize the artist's, mixer's and producer's visions for it. Then, I do whatever it takes to realize that goal, whether it means barely touching a thing, or turning all the knobs around backwards until they break. I do this with all the obvious tools: EQ, compression, saturation, limiting, and when needed, stereo field enhancement, dynamic EQ, multiband compression, mid-side processing and so on.

  19. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  20. A: I now work out of a mastering studio that I built in my new home, and recreated the analog chain I used to use at Joe Lambert Mastering with some of my own proprietary EQ and dynamics chains that allow me to achieve the same results with instant recall, even going back and forth between sessions at both studios with identical results.

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

  22. A: When it comes to musicians, I'm inspired by anyone who has an interesting and authentic story to share—one that helped shape them, and can help shape me too. I love artists who are on the journey of figuring out what's most important in life, and who can remind the rest of us too. When it comes to other mastering engineers, I hav had the privilege of studying under one of my favorite mastering engineers on the planet: Joe Lambert. He has a deeply inspiring way of approaching music, mastering, and perhaps most importantly, people. He's serious about his work while never forgetting to have fun with it. That I REALLY love. My other two favorite mastering engineers are Greg Calbi and Bob Ludwig. They do amazing work, and I am constantly comparing my results to theirs, as well as to Joe's.

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

  24. A: I spend all of my studio time mastering these days. My goal is to help make my clients' mixes sound as good as they intended them to sound... only better.

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

  26. A: Back in my live sound days, it would have been: "Do you REALLY know what all this buttons do?" The real answer was "yes", but I'd usually try to think of something clever. I'm not as clever as I used to be, sadly. :) Today? It's probably: "OMG, the master sounds AMAZING, what did you do?" And the answer is pretty simple: "You know: Compression, EQ, Level, Taste. All the normal stuff." There really are no special tools in mastering. Just attention and a special mindset.

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

  28. A: I get asked about "mixing and mastering" people's songs a lot around here. Word to the wise: If the same person is "mixing and mastering" a track, then they aren't mastering it in my book. To me, "mastering" is having an independent 3rd party do a final quality control pass on your mix, to take it to the next level, AND help identify issues that the mixer may not have been able to in their room and speaker environment.

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

  30. A: What records are you really loving the sound and feel of lately? What are the things you feel like you need the most help with in this mix, if any?

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

  32. A: I loved the last Brothertiger and Yoke Lore releases I mastered. Those are lovely. The most special projects I worked on are always more about the experience working with those artists, and how much I personally connected with their music and are not always the biggest clients on my discog.

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

  34. A: Hm, maybe! I'll have to have a look around here in more detail.

  35. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  36. A: BOTH!

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

  38. A: I have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We are only "done" with the master if you are thrilled with the results. This means that I have an unlimited revisions policy. 90% of the time we don't have to do any. But it's nice to know the option is there!

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

  40. A: Working with people, working with music, and working with audio. Making the OK stuff sound better than it should, and keeping the amazing stuff from getting ruined by too much fiddling!

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

  42. A: Too many! Try here: http://justincolletti.com/free-resources-for-musicians-producers-and-audio-engineers/

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

  44. A: Filling out my SoundBetter profile!