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Mastering at home - have you optimized your bedroom?

An RP visitor recommends getting outside help for mastering. After all, mastering pros get to be so good by doing it all day every day.

Hi David

I felt compelled to respond to this letter (I never saw the original until today). I subscribe to many publications about music – some online some paper and glossy (such as Computer Music) and the opinion of all (not the general opinion but the absolute opinion) is that mastering at home is not on for two reasons

Firstly – mastering engineers have a great set of ears that they have spent years to develop and get the sound right. Most home studios (my own included) are run by budding amateurs who want a great sound in music and probably want to get the tunes down as quickly and as best they can. But we wont have developed those mastering ears. Personally I could spend years trying to learn the craft of mastering but neither have the time nor the inclination – I am a part time musician and making music is what I enjoy – not getting the most from EQ settings or getting the mix absolutely correct. I prefer to use the services of someone who does this for a living. I could perfect this art but don’t have the years or inclination to spend doing it. .

Secondly – and I am sure I speak for most people – we don’t have big houses and unlimited budgets to spend on optimising our bedrooms to become great mastering studios. If we did I am sure we would probably invest this in something more appropriate for the task – like buying a bigger house with bigger rooms and more of them.

Normally home studio equates to compromise. I am fortunate in that I can dedicate a room to my studio without having a bed in it. But I would imagine I am the exception rather than the rule. However I do not have the budget to spend on making my room acoustically sound. Nor in fact making it bigger (I couldn’t anyway I live in an apartment). But I compromise on lots of things – I don’t have soundproofing but fortunately have understanding (or deaf) neighbours, I don’t have top of the range equipment but I am happy with the sounds I get, I don’t have he ambient space – but when I need it I will go to a professional studio. But life is a compromise and if we all had the money to build professional studios I am sure we would do it – but equally sure we would get someone with experience to get the best results we can.

FREE EBOOK - Equipping Your Home Recording Studio

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio

I am sure that there are many more reasons that could be touted but these two would suffice for me to continue the way I do and make my music rather than concentrating on mastering it. I know little or nothing about mastering – except that the guy who did mine did more than I could hope to achieve in a lot less time too. But he has a professional studio and ears accustomed to listening to mixes day in and day out – and knows how to get the best from them. I do not

And to Keith Walker

As for suing David – what exactly will you be suing him for? You have responded to a public forum – albeit by email – and therefore as far as I can see if You, Mr Walker don’t want your opinions printed you should have kept them to yourself. This is the only way to keep a secret Keith.

You have opined about a subject and criticised a person who is trying to help others better their music production skills – I see nothing in your comments that warrant your reaction nor actually help anyone – so what do you have to offer?

Finally I wish to say David keep up the good work and like all opinions yours, Keith’s and everyone else’s – we can either accept or ignore it. I know whose I will be listening to


Vince Barnes.
Spanish Property Direct

By David Mellor Friday September 16, 2005