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  • DVDdoug
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Recording Magazine, December 2012, FadeOut column, To Master, Or Not To Master, That Is The Question

Ex-Mastering Engineer writes a editorial...  Here are some excerpts:
Quote
Back in 1989 I started my own mastering business...

...working on the CD & DVD of Bad Company's Merchant's of Cool...  We crafted a great sounding record and then sent it to the record company for approval.  It was rejected 5 times because they claimed it wasn't loud enough.  After repeated applications of increasingly harsh dynamics compression, they were happy.  That's when I stopped being a mastering engineer.

...In 2000 I started AIX records... Our Tracks are recorded during a single session in a live reverberant hall... and left unprocessed... no overdubs, no EQ, no compressed dynamics and no artificial reverb.

... Recently... When I listened to...  CD tracks as mastered by a "Grammy-nominated" mastering engineer, I was shocked... lifeless, flat, and completely sterile...  I called the manager and offered to remix the stereo tracks...      I would only send an invoice if the client chose to replace the original tracks with mine...  When the artist and manager heard the tracks I had remixed and didn't master, their jaws dropped.  "How could we have spent so much money on a 'Grammy-nominated' engineer and gotten such harsh sound."


Mark Waldrep's company is aixrecords.com and iTrax.com.  (AFAIK, the article is only NOT available free online.)




  • C.R.Helmrich
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #1
Interesting quotes. I met Mr. Waldrep at a conference of the Audio Engineering Society back in 2007. You don't find many producers/masterers who attend scientific conferences, so I give him credit for that. I wish there were more people like him, and less people who e.g. claim that lossless decodings sound different than the sources from which they were made.

(I have to say, though, that I don't mind a bit of compression/limiting).

Chris
  • Last Edit: 16 November, 2012, 02:38:18 PM by C.R.Helmrich
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

  • AndyH-ha
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #2
Did he publish any ABX logs?

  • Kohlrabi
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #3
ABX tests of what? Two differently mixed and mastered tracks?
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • krafty
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #4
Quote
Did he publish any ABX logs?


I don't think ABX applies here.
ABX is for discerning the same source for artifacts.
You don't need an ABX when you have a brickwall record and a dynamic one.

  • AndyH-ha
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #5
Quote
Did he publish any ABX logs?


I don't think ABX applies here.
ABX is for discerning the same source for artifacts.
You don't need an ABX when you have a brickwall record and a dynamic one.


ABX testing is for evidence of detecting differences, be they artifacts or the more heavenly pureness of $2500 interconnects.

Essentially you are saying that your belief system has faith in the audible differences of "a brickwall record and a dynamic one," so it doesn't require evidence.

  • Kohlrabi
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #6
ABX testing is for evidence of detecting differences, be they artifacts or the more heavenly pureness of $2500 interconnects.

Essentially you are saying that your belief system has faith in the audible differences of "a brickwall record and a dynamic one," so it doesn't require evidence.
Using ABX to compare different mixes/masters/versions of the same piece of music is pointless, since the null hypothesis that the tracks sound the same makes no sense, then. Creating a master which sounds exactly the same as another one is a pointless endeavour in the first place.
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

  • greynol
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #7
From my perspective you appear to assume that different mastering/mixing/versions must sound different, rejecting the possibility that there may only be subtle changes between them which may not be perceptible to all people under all circumstances.
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.

Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #8
So what would one have to do to properly ABX a modern brickwall remaster to, say, an '80s original pressing? Make sure the two are level-matched?

OTOH I think subtle differences in production aren't going to be noticed by most either. I have the Mobile Fidelity remaster of Faith No More's "Angel Dust" CD as well as an original pressing. I don't perceive a difference in sound quality or dynamics at all. The latter is just a little bit louder than the former.

I just hope this forum isn't going to start requiring an (assumedly genuine) ABX-log for anyone to say they liked an original release of a recording, issued decades ago, better than the obviously and usually nasty-sounding crap that's being reissued and remastered for today.
The Loudness War is over. Now it's a hopeless occupation.

  • Porcus
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #9
For the specific case at hand, the guy quit the job because he thinks that the record company demanded him to destroy the recordings. Of course there may be a “sure you really succeeded in ruining it, and that you didn't by chance manage to fool them into accepting a master you had done, practically, nothing about?”. But well ... really?

For the general question of differences between releases, there is no reason to rule out placebo in a (non-blind) review of some “new and improved deluxe edition” which may or may not be distinguishable from a previous release.


Now playing Deep Purple: “Maybe I'm a Leo” from the 25th anniversary edition (Glover's 1997 remix on disc 1, not the “remaster” on disc 2)

  • greynol
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Loudness/Mastering (Mark Waldrep)
Reply #10
But well ... really?

If you want to verify that they are different then yes.  AFAIC, there are enough charlatans in the business for me to have grown skeptical.

As for this particular discussion, I'm wondering if it amounts to much more than a plug for a new record company, if anything.
13 February 2016: The world was blessed with the passing of a truly vile and wretched person.

Your eyes cannot hear.