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godsmack.jpg Joe is always glad to answer your questions.  Some frequent ones are here...

What makes The Place special?

The first factor is expertise.  2017 marks my 29th year in the mastering business.  And when I say that, I mean the entirety of my career has been spent developing my craft as a mastering engineer.  I take a lot of pride in that fact.

I offer personal attention to each and every project.  You can stop by or pick up the phone to have an actual conversation with the person mastering your project.  You will know with certainty that the engineer you have hired is the only person who will touch your project from start to finish. 

Can anybody use The Place?

Absolutely!  If you have a project that needs mastering, mixing or drumming, I am at your service. 

Email us for a no obligation quote for your project. 

Should I attend the mastering session? 

If you are local, please plan on coming by the studio.  I love meeting artists, producers and engineers face to face and having a one on one discussion with the person(s) creating the music.

When it comes to the actual mastering, I do prefer to work unattended.  For me it's a matter of concentration.  I find after all my years mastering it's easier to stay "in the zone", that place where I do my best work.  It also allows me to spend as much time as necessary getting things just right.

We have many clients from around the world who are unable to attend.  In those cases I work from email, skype or written notes from the client or notes I take during a phone consultation.  We are set up to deliver Refs and Masters to you via the internet.

kissalive.jpg How can mastering improve a recording…and what can’t it do?

This one is tougher to answer in a general sense.  This is because every project has different needs.  Great mastering should let your recording have maximum musical impact.  Getting to that point though is different for every project.  This is where a mastering engineer’s experience is the key to achieving a successful outcome.

Some projects require very little treatment, so a good job can be defined as knowing that the recording is excellent, staying out of the way by not using extraneous processes, making a high quality transfer and delivering a properly executed master for replication.

Other times the project needs a lot of help using equalization, compression and other processing techniques to give the recording more impact and continuity with the other recordings it will be compared against.  In this case a good job would be considered accomplished when a creative and experienced mastering engineer is able to connect with the project musically and add significantly to its sonic impact.

I find most mastering sessions are somewhere in between these two extremes.  What mastering cannot do is take the third harmony vocal in the second chorus of a song and tune it because the singer was a bit off pitch.  This type of miracle must be done at the mixing stage or better yet during the actual performance!

What is remastering?

Remastering is a phrase created by the major record labels in the 1980’s.  During that time most of the major labels’ catalogs (formerly on vinyl records) were mastered and repackaged for compact disc.  The “re” in remastering referred to this process of issuing the album again though this time on CD.  Over the years the term has become an exaggerated colloquialism for superior audio quality.  Unfortunately not all remastering jobs are equal.  Like anything else a great remaster is the result of an experienced mastering engineer and reissue producer having the correct source tapes and faithfully reproducing the intent of the original artist.  This is a much taller order than many realize.

hankwilliamscomplete.jpg How does mastering historical recordings differ from mastering brand new recordings?

There are several differences starting with the source material.  Historic recordings come in a variety of formats; from metal disks to analog tape in various configurations, to fleeting digital formats like F1, Pro-Digi and DASH. 

Another difference is historic recordings have been issued previously.  Because of this there is a benchmark regarding the sound of that original issue.  When issuing recordings for a second, third or even fourth time there is an assumption that the sound should be better each time.  Many times the sound is improved, but sometimes the recordings are reinterpreted by remixing, over-use of noise reduction and even radical equalization.  The “improvements” become the subjective opinion of the individuals making them.  Wisdom and experience play a large role in determining who possesses that good judgment.

Additionally, historic recordings, depending on their vintage, often need sonic restoration that new recordings do not require.  This can include the removal of ticks, pops, hiss, mechanical noise, pitch/speed correction, etc.  They also require significant expertise in playback.  I have found many historic mastering jobs fail because the source material simply wasn’t played back properly.  When this happens the results often sound over processed.

New recordings on the other hand are for the most part, a blank slate.  I say mostly because sometimes when working in a specific genre, the sonic palette can be loosely established.  Beyond that, the mastering engineer should use whatever techniques are necessary to help the artist achieve their musical and sonic goals.

Are you a musician too?

Yes I am.  
I have been a drummer since I was 10 years old and have played  in many bands covering a wide range of styles.  Check out my drumming page here.

Joe is seated at a drum set he built.

Please email us if you have any questions for Joseph at The Place.