Mastering Advice For Beginners


This video is all about mindset. Sometimes in our careers as mixing and mastering engineers, producers, and songwriters we make decisions without really asking WHY. We do this because sometimes we make assumptions about what needs to be done without really just listening, diagnosing correctly and only solving problems that exist. Learning to have intention in everything we do is key to both life and music creation!


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what is up this is jake with musician on a mission we are back with another video from dane over at let’s check it out hello friends dain here with wanna welcome you to the channel if you’re stopping by for the first time thank you for checking out our content and if you’re returning as always your return support is very much appreciated i have given today’s topic a lot of thought today we’re going to go ahead and step away from the daw away from the technical stuff and i’m going to discuss what i feel is the very best advice that i can give to audio professionals mastering engineers producers who are just starting out for the first time the advice i’m about to give you is coming from answering a very simple one-word yet thought-provoking question but before we get into that let’s go ahead and roll the intro [Music]

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the one word question that i’m referring to is why the very best thing that you can do as you’re starting out in audio engineering or producing or even if you’re intermediate or advanced is to ask yourself the question why why am i doing what i’m doing right now why am i making the choice that i’m making why am i choosing one plugin over another why am i using analog emulation over a stock eq why am i putting a high pass filter on these instruments right now now it’s okay for the answer to that question to simply be it just works if it works that’s great but the very most important thing that you can do is be 100 honest with yourself about the answer to that question if you don’t know why just be honest

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now why ask the question why sorry to be redundant here but the one major benefit to being able to answer this simple question has to do with the idea of being intentional with all of the decisions that you’re making this goes beyond just being able to answer questions like why am i turning this eq knob or this compressor knob it has to do with being quicker with your decisions if you’re going to be intentional then that’s going to help you get the results you’re looking for much much quicker the other alternative is wandering around and if you wander around in a forest i mean you’re not going to get anywhere you’re not going to get to your destination so if you have a compass and if you have an internal decision-making process and intention behind what you’re doing you’re going to get the results you’re looking for much much quicker and those results will be better

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now this principle goes far beyond just audio engineering and pretty much applies to everything in life if you can be intentional in your day to day and have more focus it’s going to help you accomplish much much more the difference between the two between not knowing really what you’re doing throughout the day and having your whole day planned out with a lot of intention is just so so significant and that’s why i see people that take hours and hours and even days to master a track when we see with the students that we work with mastering a track in as little as 15 minutes or less and it’s because of this idea of being intentional with the decisions that you’re making having that focus and that most importantly internal compass that is going to guide your decisions and having a decision making process a thought process is just as significant and will help you to

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get results much much quicker at a much higher level i mean let’s really put this into perspective here if you’re able to be more intentional with your day that’ll give you more focus and help you accomplish that much more in a day’s time if you add that up over the span of an entire year and the difference is exponential and astronomical let’s do the same thing with our audio production and our output of music creation if you’re able to be more intentional with the decisions you make as a producer engineer mastering engineer you should be able to finish a master within 15 minutes or less think about how much more music you’re going to be able to create and how much more you’re going to be able to output in the span of a year and the difference is just absolutely no contest here is a quick story that i think demonstrates really well about the importance of knowing why

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you’re making the decisions you’re making with your tools and being super intentional so the year is 2011 and up to this point i had been using garageband my through my 2006 macbook and the built-in mic on that laptop to record and make my tracks and in 2011 i decided i was going to really upgrade so and take this whole recording thing seriously so i go into guitar center in salt lake city and i pick up three things i pick up a microphone this sm57 killer mic by the way i pick up a mic cable and my first ever audio interface the audio box usb 2 channel blue interface i bring it all home i get it all set up i plug it in i realized that when i got home that i didn’t pick up a mic stand so i had to rig it on the edge of this uh kitchen kitchen chair with some towels and get it all set up took me forever to

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just figure out how to record something simple and get the audio and play it back and listen to it so once i figured it out i recorded my first song ever and it was a lullaby for my niece on my wife’s side i got everything set up recorded four tracks acoustic guitar uh midi piano midi bass and my vocal all done through garageband and this sm57 i left you know the edits of or had forgotten to edit out things like the clicking of the trackpad for hitting record um but this thing had character it was super noisy it had noise from the refrigerator and the noise from the cheap you know pre-amps on my interface from having to crank up the gain on such a quiet mic on the sm57 but again it was vibey and it kind of got the job done by this point i hadn’t watched a single video on eq or

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compression i didn’t really even know what those things were or what mixing even was so truthfully the only thing i had was my ears and could only go off of that that one tool that one filter fast forward about a year later and by this time i had found some youtube channels picked up on some recording techniques on eq high pass low pass filters all that good stuff i bought a new brand new desktop mac a super fast computer that i ended up using as my machine for the next 10 years you know i thought i know all the stuff a year later i had or graduated from garage band to logic and i thought i’m gonna go back and re-record this song it’s gonna sound so much better and guess what the original sounded better the original song had all this like warmth in it and like vibe from the noise that served the recording perfectly and served the song

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perfectly and the new version was swimming in reverb and somehow was both muddy and brittle at the same time so what’s going on here i mean it’s really simple the second sort of arrogant attempt at reproducing this track i was doing i was doing all the things that somebody else told me to do with mixing and recording without actually listening to what was serving the track and being honest about about the fact that i didn’t truly know why i was making the decisions i was making this leads me to give you one more piece of advice for beginners that i feel pretty compelled to give and that’s the idea of as you grow your studio as you grow your skills you’re going to get better and better gear and hopefully that means that you’re going to get better with your ears that is the most important thing your gear will help you only in so much that you actually use

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your ears in the process of using this gear the story that i gave you is a perfect example of how upgrading your gear just simply won’t help so we have guys that have over a hundred thousand dollars worth of outboard gear they’ve had professional experience getting paid doing this as a living as producers as mix engineers and they still come to us not feeling confident about their mastering process to the point where they could charge at a professional level so just remember it’s your ears not the gear when it comes to mastering you cannot afford to wander around aimlessly with no real thought process as to why you’re making the decisions that you’re making you have to have a real solid thought process and turn theory into actual owned knowledge and skill with how you approach your tools and the mastering process if you can do this this will make you a

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super powerful mastering engineer mix engineer and producer you’ll also be able to finish more music in less time have more mastering clients and do this all at a much higher quality so if you’re someone that really struggles with this answer to the question of why you know why are you doing the things that you’re doing why are you making the decisions you’re making with eq compression limiting any part of the mastering process or really any process involved with making records then i’ve included a link in the description below to book a call with one of our team members we can walk you through see if it makes sense to partner up give you the mentorship that you need the training the in-depth training on not just skill and transforming your ears but transforming your thought process so that you can be quick and intentional and powerful in the studio do more and less time and at a higher quality so that’s all for now guys thanks again for stopping by until next time.

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