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Record-Producer.com getting sued over mastering? Still waiting for legal papers to arrive...

An RP visitor recently sent in flame over a feature we published on mastering. Another RP visitor responds...


Hi David,

I just can't keep my mouth shut over the issue of Audio Masterclass getting sued over it's articles on home-mastering deficiencies.

Keith Walker makes the point that, "it's of no consequence weather (sic) someone is mastering in their bedroom/lounge-room or professional mastering suite - if the person has the right professional mastering equipment and a well designed room it should fulfill pro mastering needs - I've heard some great results in big houses. I master all my own mixes, I'm glad I do."

I can pick apart so many things in that quote, but the most obvious is that it makes no consequence whether someone is masting in their bedroom/lounge-room or [a] professional mastering suite - if the person has the right professional mastering equipment AND A WELL DESIGNED ROOM." (emphasis mine) Hello, did I read that right? First off, it's a bedroom, but that's ok as long as it's a WELL DESIGNED ROOM! Well, a well designed mastering room is NOT a bedroom.

If it's a bedroom, then it's not a well designed mastering room. At best it would be a well designed mastering room that has had it's acoustics all messed up by the addition of a bed and chest of drawers, etc, to turn it into a bedroom, in which case it's no longer a well designed mastering room. Does Keith really think that anyone is so dumb as to not notice that he said that?

To have a well designed mastering room means it's not in use as a bedroom. To have a bedroom means it's not a well designed mastering room. I'd like to repeat that a thousand times, but I won't bore you with that repetition. I'm sure it has jumped off the page, danced around like a lunatic and screamed at you until it got your attention. He's outright contradicted himself! It's one or the other Keith, and you can't have it both ways! So YES, it really DOES matter!

Secondly, he indicates, "I've heard some great results in big houses. I master all my own mixes, I'm glad I do." By "big houses" giving great results, I'm sure he's not talking about the size of the homes that people doing home mastering live in. It's quite obvious that he's talking about big name mastering facilities. He states he's, "heard some great results" come out of those facilities and goes on to say he masters all his own mixes and is glad that he does. Gee, let's put that into perspective. Big houses give great results. I'm glad I don't use them. Therefore, I must not want great results otherwise I wouldn't be so happy over the fact that I'm not getting the great results from the big houses. So, Mr. Keith Walker must really enjoy his (crappy?) mastering that he does instead, otherwise, why would he be so happy he's not getting the great results of the big houses? No wonder he's so upset at you for saying you can't do quality mastering at home. He views the quality mastering from the big houses as something he's glad he doesn't use.

This guy is a real winner in my book. In fact, he wins in such a big enormous way that I think it would be really wonderful to honor him with a special visit from my white-coated friends (lab technicians, yeah, that's what they really are, lab technicians). But that's just my unprofessional opinion based on a single sample of his writing. I wouldn't want to get sued for impersonating a psychologist.

Dave, keep up the good work and don't let jerks like Mr. Walker get to you. He can't sue you simply for publishing a letter that he sent to you. That is now your property to do with as you wish, all paternity rights not withstanding. Then again, come to think of it, if he thinks he's the owner of paternity rights to a letter he sent you, I hope you're handling it with latex gloves on since he's probably done something really nasty to the letter before mailing it.....

- Dave Bradley
President, Diamond Productions
Lawrence, MA

David Mellor responds: Just one comment - I think you will find that although the physical form of a communication - paper, electrons, digits or whatever - is owned by the recipient, copyright in the contents rests with the author. However, it is common practice for news media to publish when it is 'in the common interest'. My opinion is that the common interest benefits from debate, and there certainly has never been a hotter topic than mastering. I have plans to throw some more fuel on the fire soon!

By David Mellor Tuesday September 13, 2005
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