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  • Paul Tucci

    at 4:36 pm

    JLew, During my time in the live audio world an important lesson was learned that I believe is applicable to your question. The lesson Bob McCarthy, a world class system tuner taught was the concept of the ART / SCIENCE line. The band mixer’s responsibility was to create the best sounding presentation in terms of balance and especially, tonality. That is on the ART side of the ART / SCIENCE line. In this example, that line is an electrical signal handed to a PA system engineer. His responsibility is to accurately deliver that to the audience members. This arrangement put the onus on the mixer to get it right. There’s a very symbiotic relationship in play between the two. If the band mixer delivers a bright sounding (electrical) mix is it the responsibility of the PA system guy to tone it down to make it correct for the listening audience?? What if the opening act’s mixer has a different sensibility, and both his mind and preferred tonality leans dark? Mr. McCarthy say that Ii the speaker system is linear, neutral sounding, and accurate, a good and appropriate mix from the console should translate to the audience members. I’m in the weeds here, but the analogy I’m aiming for is this. The mixer is the artist that should make the ART as best he or she can. If master bus compression, tonal shaping, or intentional distortion of the electrical signal is part of the artist’s intent, it should be implemented before the mastering process. All that said, a professional mastering engineer who specializes in eeking out the last bit of level and super polish can make a huge difference and get your art noticed. FYI, I’ve been tinkering with the iZotope Ozone mastering product.