Hey! My name is Neil Harrod an I'm an aspiring mastering engineer. I'm a graduate of the Musician's Institute Audio Engineering Program and specialize in mixing and mastering.
I found my calling at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, where I quickly found my passion for mixing and mastering. I developed my own sound that I still have to this day, and I thank my teachers greatly for that. I currently specialize in mastering, but I do mixing as well. I’ve found this to be quite useful when working with clients. If there are any changes that need to be made in the mix before the mastering phase, I can fix them if necessary. I hope we can work together soon, I love working with all genre’s of music as music is truly my passion.
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Interview with Neil Harrod
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: A mix I did at Musician's Institute actually. I mixed a track that my teacher had already mixed, we were comparing our mixes to his, and I was one of the only people to get the mix sounding as good as my teacher's apparently. It gave me a lot of confidence in my potential that's really helped me improve my work even further.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm new to SoundBetter so unfortunately no.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Analog if you can afford a good amount of great analog gear, digital if you can't. I think analog can add great things to a master, but I'd say digital sounds better than cheap analog any day.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise, is that I'll try my absolute best to get your song sounding good. No matter what genre, how good the song is, etc. I always put in my best effort.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: There's so many things I could say, but I'd have to say above all it's seeing the finished product out there. There's nothing more satisfying for me than to hear how much people are enjoying the sound, and being able to have been a part of that.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Generally how much I charge! To which at this point I say, pay what you think my work is worth. I'm not the most equipped, experienced mastering engineer out there, so I understand it's hard to have enough faith in me to drop a large amount of money. If you don't like what I do to your mix, it's completely free. If you love it however, some compensation is greatly appreciated.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That you can do it yourself. Grant it technically you can, but I feel the importance of getting a second opinion, and someone who has dedicated their career to mastering specifically, is undervalued.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: The usual stuff, such as if they want any mp3 versions, what kind of sound they're going for, etc. But the big question I think is how important loudness is to the client. While keeping things a bit quieter sounds a lot better, I understand a lot of edm artists want loud banging tracks, so I do my best to accommodate that if that's what they're after.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Mastering is not meant to fix problems in a mix, it's meant to enhance and polish a mix. Please, try and get your mix sounding as good as you can first, at a level where I have headroom to work with, and you'll be helping me help you.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My computer, ILok, my computer monitor, and my pair of speakers.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started going down the road of music when I was 13, when I started playing guitar. From there I started making edm, recording my own stuff, mixing, etc. But it wasn't until I attended the Musician's Institute Audio Engineering Program where I discovered my true passion for mastering. I've been focused on that and nothing else ever since.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It's sort of difficult to describe any mastering engineers particular style I'd say. But above all I like to focus a ton on balance and clarity. My masters tend to be very clean sounding, but full at the same time. Low end to high end balance is very important to me.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: There's a lot of artists I'd love to work with, like Flume or Skrillex for example, but I'd have to go with Deadmau5. He has very high expectations, and a great attention to detail that I think would help push me to the next level.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Make sure nothing is clipping, and you leave headroom for your mastering engineer. This includes clipping during the signal processing stage, not just the meters.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Generally edm, but I've worked with a wide variety of genre's and never like to limit myself.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Attention to detail. I hold myself to a very high standard, if there's one little thing bothering me about the song sonically speaking, I'll fix it if possible. I try to notice and absorb every little bit of information I can about the song, and make it sound as good as possible.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a second opinion on your mix, and polish the track to prepare it for the world.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Generally I prefer to spend as much time as needed to do the master, sleep on it, and then listen again the following day through a variety of audio systems. I then send off the master to the client, make any adjustments if necessary, create any mp3 versions if necessary, and send off the final product. This of course can change depending on circumstances or deadlines.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Currently it's nothing too fancy, as I'm just trying to get into the industry. I master entirely in the box, and I'm currently using a pair of JBL LSR305's. I know my monitors aren't exactly professional mastering grade, but I know them very well which in my opinion, is what's most important.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Deadmau5 has always been a big inspiration for me. I've always looked up to him not only for his music, but the importance of audio quality he puts into his work.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Lately I've mostly been doing edm mastering, but I work with many other genre's as well.