What I guarantee is a solid communication and understanding of the clients intention for their masters. 17yrs Experience with professionally built mastering room. Gear including API, Avalon, Dangerous, Manley, Neve, SPL, SSL, Summit Audio, Universal Audio, Urei and much more!
I work in a professionally sound abated studio specifically designed for intensive listening, running a Pro Tools HDX system and all the highest regarded software/plugins in hybrid with tons of top tier analog outboard (Neve, Dangerous, Summit, UA, API etc.)
For monitoring I rely most heavily on my Focal Twin 6's w/sub but I check every master on Event 20/20's, a Bose speaker, Sennheiser & Avantone headphones, and finally apple ear buds. Unlike most mastering engineers I do a car check as well, before sending to clients.
It's important to choose a mastering engineer who's fully aware and always considerate of the extremely diverse period of time we're living in, as pertaining to audio, i.e. a master could be the loudest, brightest, punchiest, the most soothing or anywhere in between. My guarantee is that we will find the sweet spot for your masters through good communication and thorough examination of your audio and all sonic possibilities.
Another service I offer is audio editing. Over the years I've become a specialist in tightening performances. If you have a live drum kit that isn't quite in time but still needs to maintain all the feel, or you're having trouble getting rid of cymbal bleed without losing all the tone, please reach out. Or if your entire mix needs tightening, contact me and we can discuss pricing.
Would love to hear from you. Click the contact button above to get in touch.
CreditsAllMusic verified credits for Terrible Things
11 Reviews - 2 Repeat ClientsEndorse Aaron Van Allen
once again Aaron knocked this Master out of the park for me! I won't use anyone else for Masters
Once again, Aaron did a great job. He has done several mastering jobs for me and I will continue to send him mixes! Great Job
Aaron is a great Mastering Engineer. gets things done super quickly and goes the extra mile!
Aaron is pro. He's responsive, open to reference material to fit your style, and is great with deadlines. Most importantly, the tracks sound great.
Another great master, really can't recommend this guy enough!
Aaron mastered 2 tracks for me. He communicates quickly and he completed the job several days before the deadline we had. He knows how to take a decent mix and really get it to the finish line!
Another great job, and very quickly done.
Another great experience working with Aaron. He did an outstanding job and the master was completed on time. Will definitely work with him on future projects.
This master was right on point with the direction we were going for! Looking forward to more!
I had Aaron do a mastering job for me with very specific objectives.
Aaron did a great job with the job and went above and beyond my expectations by giving me multiple mastered versions to choose from and helpful explanations of the differences on each. He was both communicative and timely, which made working with him easy and enjoyable. He was also very competitively priced. Very positive experience and will consider Aaron for future jobs!
Super fast work, and perfectly done. The site took too long to send Aaron the files but he was a pro and worked around it! Would recommend!!!
Interview with Aaron Van Allen
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I have a few local Philadelphia friends and peers who I really appreciate. I'm lucky to have played beside and recorded with Chuck Treece who is a philly session player/producer/artist who played the bass for Billie Joel's "River of Dreams" also played for the Roots, G-love, Bad Brains, Urge Overkill, Amy Grant and Lauren Hill. I have a good friend Ken Kweder from here who is a folk rock legend in Philadelphia dating back to the 70's. He told Clive Davis to go fuck himself, look it up... I play along side and have recorded with Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday/Breaking Pangea/the Color Fred) in our band Terrible Things. I Collaborate with Mel "Chaos" Lewis in writing/producing songs for various artists. He's had success creating beats for Willow Smith, Jayden Smith, The Roots, The Black Eyed Peas and more. Playing with Ben Kenney was inspirational as he's a hometown hero. Each time I hang with Coheed & Cambria due to Fred's history of friendship with the group, it's a dream because they are one of my all time favorite bands.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Anything with Drums, Bass, Guitar & Vocal
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I don't know who that will be when I get to my heyday as a mixer. Right now it's players like the Chili Peppers and singers like Bruno Mars
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I was a musician and played in successful bands. Band members come and go so I got good at tracking all instruments and making my own records. Somewhere down the line it got serious enough to where I now own a small studio.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I ask for references via mixes they wished their stuff stood up next to. References on how loud they want there stuff to be. How polished or gritty or wherever in between. How loud each instrument should be next to the other. Things like that. I'd ask more while I'm working on your project as I'm already confident I can nail the job.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you turn this instrument up a pinch? Answer: sure thing!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: For some reason I'm able to dive right in and start making an artist sound better. I'm able to do it without hesitation.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Thats hard to narrow down. Current albums I'm working on include Progressive Rock, Hip Hop and Metal/Thrash. Oh and a pop record. It keeps me well versed in everything and isn't as time consuming as it sounds. The artists come in from time to time to work on a new song or two, with the goal of putting them towards full lengths.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to break up my work into the different departments you'd see at the largest studio. I'd take a day strictly for editing and fine tuning, something that only an assistant would typically do but is so crucial if a band wants to sound as tight as their competition. Having said that I also work with a lot of old school or gritty artists who wish to forgo this treatment. (hey as long as you intonate and tune your guitars, fine by me) Before I go onto the mixing stage I'd like a sort of hierarchy of level from the artist if possible. i.e Which tracks are most important to get out front from first to last. Never to fear though! I love to champion parallel compression and make tons of elements fit together no matter how busy. That's what's great about modern mixing. I'm sure the band wants a radio and CD level and EQ on their mix as if it were mastered. Well I do mastering too! and I am a firm believer in having fresh ears. Luckily I have plenty to work on and will take some time away and come back to give the mix a great master for the artist, even if it's intended to be mastered by a separate entity. I will provide you with all the necessaries to do so, plus you can fall back on my work if you don't like some other mastering engineers'. That's about it, I'm every guy on each floor of the studio, so to speak. You just dictate to me your vision.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: an SM7, my computer, the dangerous compressor a 1073 and my Focal's
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Some people back home still think of me as a musician first, mixer second. I don't think that's accurate any longer.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To make you sound just as good as you had hoped, nothing less.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: No way to answer this. I can't put one before the other. Maybe I could if I knew who the artist was going to be beforehand but I'm a hybrid guy for life.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not that I've found so far! I haven't done much poking around though.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I've got bands/artists coming in from time to time on albums ranging Pop/ProgRock/HipHop and Metal/Thrash
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is a combination of what I consider the most vital microphones (your u87s, sennheisers, AKGs, at least one great tube & ribbon mic), the best mic pre's (API, Neve, UA), top of the line conversion and clocking via Avid, very transparent monitoring (dangerous audio paired with Focal) in a professional grade acoustically treated room. I am a believer in the digital revolution that's happening in production and I could never even find the time to see what all of the thousands of plugins I own do, but I try to use them all none the less! BEFORE YOU BOLT FROM THIS PAGE.... I'm also a purist in the fact that I don't believe they sound the same as analog processors which is why I own pieces like the 1073, SSL's VHD pre's for real analog breakup, Moog delay and filtering, Dangerous Audio compressor, LA 610, Avalon 737 and more. I believe that analog summing has a beautiful and sophisticated sound that is unlike finalizing in the box. However both are viable ways to get to a great finished record.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring authenticity to drums with complete control over the sound so that you don't have to use replacers! I bring my love of warm James Jamerson bass or awesome Rancid/Suicidal Tendencies punk bass to let you know you can have it either way or anything in between. I bring 24 years of playing electric guitar to help sculpt the tone you've crafted. I bring a lifetime of being a pro singer to make sure the feel and authenticity of a vocal comes across while sounding as tight as desired.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: The best songs start with some lyrical phrases and a melody that you found stuck in your head. The best player plays to their strengths. Don't let a bad room warp your perception of a mix. Also once you lose too much of your high pitch hearing, everyone will think your mixes hurt their ears and no one will like them but YOU : ( yes that's for you older rocker cats, chill!!!!!!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Modern but with actual care put towards the feel of a performance and minding people's delicate ear drums as far as EQ balance.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Problem solving the mix
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Look very carefully and don't just spend top dollar thinking "problem solved". Choose someone you trust will stick with you and give your project time and respect. I have heard and witnessed many horror stories where lots of money was lost for little to no return.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm currently working on a Solo metal Artist who has lots of known artists that will be featured on the record. Members of Queens of the Stone Age, The Ramones, Municipal Waste, CKY, Danzig and more. I'll be mixing the record.