I am a Liverpool-based mastering engineer with over 20 years of experience, graduating from LIPA in 2006 with a BA(Hons.) in Sound Technology and later from LJMU with an MA in New Media Production.
I have a passion for making music the best it can be. Being the last guy in the chain before release enables me to do this.
I am an active musician, enabling me to approach my mastering from the artist’s perspective.
I have experience in a wide range of genres including pop, rock, metal, hip-hop, folk & classical.
I am experienced in various areas of audio repair and restoration.
I also work as a sound technician & part-time lecturer in a further education college.
Professional Online Mastering
Please contact me before booking the service to discuss requirements
- Please supply uncompressed 24-bit, 44.1KHz WAV or AIF files only
- Do not include any processing on your stereo output bus
- Please leave a couple of seconds of silence at the beginning & end
- Please leave around 6dB headroom
- Please name files in the following convention:
- No presets
- Acoustically treated, dedicated room
- Digital and analogue gear
- Manual processes including: Top&tailing, levels, tonal & dynamic balance, limiting
- Delivery in 3 formats: 24-bit WAV, 16-bit WAV & 320kbps mp3
- 1 Revision
- Turnaround 7 – 10 days
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
Interview with John Kershaw MASTERING
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I Got my dad's old Jedson Telecaster for Christmas when I was 11 years old. I didn't expect to make it as a musician so I made the conscious decision to devote my life to making others sound the best they can. With that year's Xmas money, I bought my first mixing desk. A Sprit Folio Notepad. 25 years and 2 Degrees later, I now work as a Mastering Engineer, Sound Technician and a part-time Lecturer in further education.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: OCD... I am very obsessive and show great attention to detail. I won't let anything go if it's not ready. As a musician, I bring a musical understanding to mastering. This is evident in my approach to dynamics and tonal balance throughout a song. I don't just make the loudest master I can, I make all my decisions based on the music.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: You'd have to listen. Modern and clinical editing but with a nice rounded off, warm, classic tone.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work with any genre. I've worked on rock, pop, hip-hop, metal, folk, classical, choral, dance, electro, musical theatre, experimental, voice & dialogue...
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My DAW of choice is Cubase. I also use Sound Forge for quick edits & file format changes and Sonoris DDP for my CD images. I have a vast range of plugins and other software at my disposal. I have an acoustically treated room with a mixture of digital and analogue equipment, including a pair of Pultec EQ clones, a stereo tube compressor, an exciter/sub synth and passive monitor control. I also have an Akai reel-to-reel that I can add into the signal path for some extra warmth depending on the style.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Audio mastering, restoration, repair and re-mastering. I also have over 20 years of experience in other areas including studio sound, production, classical recording and live sound.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both have their place. It's not for me to say. I'll use whichever gives the best result for each individual project.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The intros and verses are too quiet compared to the chorus. Can you fix this? Yes. Can you send me final masters as mp3s as well as wavs? Yes. Can you embed ISRC codes into the wavs if I have them? Yes. I've read about streaming LUFS targets. Can you explain? Yes, I have put together an info sheet for clients available upon request.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: People think that mastering is about making everything louder and making bad mixes sound good. Whilst there's an element of truth to this, it's not all the mastering engineer does. Think quality control. The mastering engineer is the last person in the chain before release. Although we check for issues that need working on, we also check to see what's good about your pre-master, the things that don't need tweaking and the strengths that we can promote. We want to retain as much of your hard work as possible.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Are you happy with a 7-10 day turnaround? Many online mastering services offer a 24 hour turnaround. You've spent the best part of a year writing and recording your new album, do you really want your mastering engineer to rush the job and send it back to you within 24 hours? In my opinion, mastering engineers need time to rest their ears, sleep on things and come back to check the work before final delivery.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Contact me! Really good mixes equal really good masters. If you think you've got a good mix and its 24-bit, 44.1KHz, then you're on to a winner! If you have a really bad mix that you absolutely can't change and want it salvaged and restored, then lets talk anyway!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A solar generator, a laptop, headphones, satellite router and a fridge (pre-stocked with good old English Cider... does that count as more than one item?)
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Yes! Please let your cymbals and guitars ring out at the end. I'm always having to repair tails for people. Oh, and stop compressing & EQ'ing your stereo output bus. That's my job!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening... Not only do I listen to the music I am mastering, but I listen to my clients. If they want something a certain way, I listen. I listen to reference material suggested by the client as well as material I already know very well. I listen on monitors that I have owned and trusted for 18 years. To keep my listening in top form, I wear hearing protection when exposed to dangerous levels of sound, I have an annual hearing test and I clean my ears properly, I promise! (q-tips and bleach)
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Brian Gardner & Bernie Grundman.