Transparent Mastering

Mastering Engineer

31 Reviews (23 Verified)
Transparent Mastering on SoundBetter

All you need is one listen to understand. I am obsessed with sound. My time, room, equipment, and mind are optimized strictly for excellence in mastering.

About Me:
I believe that every person has something that their brain is wired to do better than anything else. After years of being a recording musician who mixed his own material, it wasn't until I started mastering that I realized what my brain was wired for. Very soon I had people wanting to pay me to master their records too. That was 2008.

I obsess over sound, the complete sound, the FINISHED sound. I am a specialist. If you are looking for stereo music mastering, that is what I do and I do it well. My sound is decidedly Hi-Fi. My mastering philosophy is to work towards a pristine, pure, and timeless sound. Emphasis on clarity, detail, and impact, whether that impact be subtle or intense.

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

31 Reviews - 4 Repeat Clients

Endorse Transparent Mastering
  1. Review by Chris R.

    Apart from being excellent at his job, Jon is a very friendly person that showed interest into my project. Fantastic job, quick turnover and it was a pleasure working with him. Would recommend unconditionally.

  2. Review by Jeffrey K.

    Extremly good quality mastering. Always keeps you updated. Very reliable. I highly reccomend working together with Jon.

  3. Review by Jeffrey K.

    Great work! Can highly recommend transparent mastering

  4. Review by Paul B.

    Jon did an incredible job on very short notice on a track needing to be mastered for a speedy release prior to Xmas, very quick turnaround, really understood the track/vibe and brought out further clarity, depth and punch to the track ,

    very happy with the result and will definitely be in touch for mastering more tracks in the future, thanks again!

  5. Review by Laszlo
    by Laszlo

    Always enjoyed working with such talented professionals like Jon and Ken who I trust will do an excellent job every time!

  6. Review by Kiko M.

    Jon did a great job on the track! Very reliable and fast, even after we wanted something changed, we received the revised tracks shortly after. We will definitely choose Jon & Transparent Mastering for our next song!

  7. Review by Paul B.

    3rd time coming back to Jon/Transparent Mastering to finish off some tracks for an upcoming EP, he did incredible work once again, fantastic communication and very useful feedback to tweak some final bits on my mixes for him to be able to deliver an even more polished and huge sounding final master

    highly recommended , I'll definitely be coming back for more work to be done in the future

    Thanks again!

  8. Review by Paul B.

    came back to Jon to do some work on some new tracks, great comms as before and useful feedback in getting the final polish to the mix before delivering a really great sounding final master, will definitely be sending more work his way in the future , thanks again!

  9. Review by 1186796554

    Super friendly and fast delivery! Master sounds really good!

  10. Review by Paul B.

    really understood the vibe i was going for on the two tracks i had mastered, gave extremely useful feedback on some mix tweaks to be done on my end and did a fantastic job at bringing out extra detail/clarity and warmth to really bring the tracks to another level, great communication and brilliant to work with

    thanks again!
    Paul // airship81

  11. Review by Max B.
    by Max B.

    Jon Is very easy to work with and responds very fast. He also does an amazing job at mastering a track.

  12. Review by Laszlo
    by Laszlo

    Fantastic job by Transparent Mastering once again!! Easy to work with, timely communication and delivers excellent work. I’ll be entrusting them with my next project.

  13. Review by Laszlo
    by Laszlo

    I had a great experience working with Transparent. Jon and his team were a pleasure to work with. They were utmost professionals and compared to other engineers I've worked with, they definitely are the top tier in the industry. I highly recommended Transparent!

  14. Review by Dev S.
    by Dev S.

    Jon is an incredibly talented mastering engineer. His ears were able to elevate my tracks to sonic level I was aiming for in my album. I respect his communication throughout the entire process, and he kept true to his timeline. He is a true professional, and I highly recommend his work to anyone looking for a polished and refined end result!

  15. Review by Avery E.

    Transparent Mastering has brought every song I gave them up to their full sonic potential. Very easy to work with, and has never sent me a track that needed to be revised. Each track is mastered above my expectations.

  16. Review by Avery E.

    Very easy to communicate with. Jon took my mix to a professional level and was even kind enough to give me his professional advice for my mixes in the future.

    Look forward to working with him in the future!

  17. Review by taylor
    by taylor

    I give credit to Jon for delivering a quality master recording for what could be termed a difficult mix. He is a solid choice for balancing trouble frequencies with a midas touch.

  18. Review by Jeff F.

    Jon was super professional, really encouraging of me to ask for any tweaks I needed, and very communicative of his thought process around loudness of the master. Oh, and I also thought it was really cool that he extended the end of the song a little bit so the fade that didn't sound rushed. Nice work.

  19. Review by Rik C.
    by Rik C.

    Jon was easy to work with, professional and insightful. The end product (Our 7 song EP Mastered) was exactly what we were looking for without having to teak anything.

    He was a pleasure to work with!

  20. Review by Phil A.

    I don't want to review Jon, as I'm afraid he'll get too popular and I won't be able to afford him any more!!! He took a drab, horrible sounding live recording of my pianos, made in the street on a mic designed for speech and not pianos, and turned it into a thing full of life and soul; he managed to pull out of it all the qualities that I described were missing from the original.

Interview with Transparent Mastering

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

  2. A: All of the Ocean City Defender stuff. That guy has such a good ear and such a great style. He always invites me to be part of the mixing process by sending me progress mixes and asking my opinions. I do the same with the masters back. There is a level of trust that makes the process so much more enjoyable and when the record is done, I really feel like my contribution is valuable and valued and I think we both have gained more from the experience that way. I'll make sure I always have one of his tracks in my example list.

  3. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  4. A: Both. They are not mutually exclusive and they both have strengths and weaknesses that anyone with a reasonable mind would take full advantage of. That being said, I'm almost exclusively using analog gear these days.

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

  6. A: I always put full effort into every project.

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

  8. A: Send a test master to several engineers with something wrong in the mix. Something not TOO obvious yet deliberate that you know about. For example: take that de-esser off the vocals. Maybe bump that kick drum up a bit too high. When you get the masters back, see what each engineer did with the problem. If they didn't do anything and don't mention it, move along. If they don't seem to have noticed it, fixed it, or fixed it in a conspicuous way, move along. If you can tell who fixed the problem the best, use them. Or even better, if they send you an email asking you to fix it in the mix, since that is the best way to do it and they aren't worried about offending you vs getting the job done right.

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

  10. A: Mark Knopfler. I've looked up to his guitar playing, laid back and practical attitude, and the production value he always gets on his projects.

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

  12. A: Besides the musicians themselves, your instruments, mics, and room are your best assets. Tinkering with plugins is fun, but the real magic happens between the artist and the tracking medium. The song, in theory, should be almost finished after the instruments and vocalists have been tracked. Of course electronic music blurs all these lines, but the principles can apply with some thought.

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

  14. A: Stereo Mastering of Music.

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

  16. A: What do you like about these mixes? What do you dislike about these mixes?

  17. Q: How would you describe your style?

  18. A: Old-school with EQ, post-new-school with compression.

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

  20. A: I bring a second set of ears, but not a neutral set of ears. A Biased set of ears. Hear me out. That may sound like a bad quality for a mastering engineer to have, but I think it is vital. I am biased towards all the records that I have heard that sound amazing. If you want me to "create" a sound for your album, you are coming to the wrong guy. That's not what mastering is for. I can take what's already happening in the music and mix and help it along even further, but I can't create it for you. If you want me to make super hyped sounding masters with some tonal imbalance or gimmicky technique like distorting your kicks deliberately, you are coming to the wrong guy. That's not what mastering is for. Talk to your mix engineer/producer. The aesthetic and energy should all be done before the final mix is approved. Mastering takes your track in all of it's current expression and ensure that it communicates with the listener unhindered and, if practicable, enhanced. I also bring many thousands of hours of critical listening and mastering experience to a song. I want you to listen back to this song tomorrow, ten months, twenty years from now and feel proud of what you made because I helped it sound RIGHT. Good sound is timeless. Good sound is not a fad, good sound is not a gimmick. But hear me when I say this: I will absolutely make your music sound the way you want. There are many acceptable tonalities and dynamic ranges, but there is a big difference between what is genre-appropriate and what is just plain bad taste. What I bring is knowing where those boundaries are. Right is a spectrum, but that spectrum has limits.

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

  22. A: I take a hybrid approach to my workflow that encompasses the best of digital and analog workflows. The analog pieces I have are deliberately broad-stroke tools, so I begin with them. The unit that I begin with is a wonderfully open and detailed inductor based equalizer designed by a very clever and very (rightly) opinionated Ted Fletcher called the P9 Definitive Equalizer. I use it to balance a song tonally, then pass the signal along to whatever compressor suits the material best, if a compressor is even required. At this point I listen for specific problems. Most of these problems are best treated in the digital domain where I have many specialized and very precise tools to choose from. Counter-intuitively, this digital processing is placed before the analog chain even though I typically do it after I make some decisions with the analog chain. After this I listen closely through the song several times on headphones and my reference monitors, and then I print the song. I move on to the next tracks and do them one at a time. In digital, it is easy to put off making decisions on songs until the very end, but this only trains your brain to not be decisive. By being in the practice of printing the tracks as I finish them, I have become very good at making the right decision the first or second pass through the song. After all the tracks are done, there is the sundry details of sequencing, creating a DDP, etc. I never send a track off to a client without sleeping on it, spending another hour or two listening with fresh ears and being ready to do anything required to perfect the track. All my notes and settings are taken down by hand in a notebook. The physical writing process in indelible ink makes my brain process the decisions differently than simply snapping photos or just marking recall sheets (which I also do).

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

  24. A: That making the track loud is the most important job. In reality, loudness is really quite easy if you know what you're doing. The real test of a mastering engineer's skill is how they handle the midrange frequencies. My job security is not loudness. In fact, if we all were willing to accept masters that were a bit quieter, I think we would be even more blown away by all the talented mastering engineers out there who have their hands tied by a tiny dynamic range and a tonal balance that is held hostage by the limiter at the end of the chain.

  25. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  26. A: Cohesion. When I am done with an album it sounds like a RECORD. It does not sound like a compilation or mixtape. It sounds like one complete work of art that can be enjoyed most in one sitting. It is probably one of the most consistent compliments I get on my work.

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

  28. A: So many bands and songwriters are so excited when they write a new song and get the arrangement just right. By the time all the long nights are done in the studio recording, re-recording, editing, mixing, remixing, the inspiration can be wearing pretty thin. On several occasions I have delivered the masters and rekindled that excitement because now the project is DONE. I love that. It moves me because I know what it feels like. One client said "we have been working on this record for three years and it's the worst thing we've ever done. We just want to master it and get it over with so we can move on." When I was done the same guy said "you took the track I was most bummed on and now it's my favourite track! Now I think this is the BEST record we've ever put out!"

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

  30. A: As far as mastering engineers go, Ted Jensen nails the sound more often than almost everyone else. When you listen to his records, there is no fear involved. The man makes decisions and they are the right ones. When I listen to many major label productions I hear cowardice in the mastering. There is a fear of sensitive frequencies that engineers have that make for conservative decisions. The result is lifeless audio that has the appearance of balanced sound, but are played too safe (and boring) in key areas. I've never heard a record done by Ted Jensen that exhibits this kind of timidity.


Terms Of Service

2 week turnaround time - rushed orders add $10/track -
DDP fileset included with 16/44 or 24/96 wav files - hard copies add $25 -
One set of revisions - Additional revisions $10/track

Gear Highlights
  • Requisite L2M mkIII
  • Ted Fletcher P9 Mastering EQ
  • Pendulum PL2
  • Custom Mastering EQ (sontec)
  • GOLY Dynamic Shelving Equalizer
  • GOLY Dynamic Asymmetrical Equalizer
  • Apogee 2x6 SE
  • AKG K812 Pro
  • Tyler D2X
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