Surviving The Fast Paced World Of Music Production

By in Music Creation, Pro Mixing

For those producers reading this who work with major labels and agencies, you know only too well how quickly you’re expected to turn around your work. For those of you yet to experience it, read on for a bit of advice.

It’s not uncommon for me to get a phone call from a major label A&R asking me to turn around a master within 60 minutes. It’s not my preferred way to work, but it happens! In this post, I want to share with you my final quality control trick to ensure that what I send back to the label is top quality.

When the turnaround time is FAST, the master must sound better than the mix they sent and there can be NO technical mistakes. I covered how to make your master sound better than your mix in a previous post here on Avid Blogs, so for this one, I’ll focus on how I can be sure there are no technical mistakes.

When time is in short supply I want to focus on listening to the audio whilst mastering, not looking at meters. I check in with LEVELS every now and then to make sure things are headed in the right direction, but I’ve set up my thresholds so it only alerts me if I start clipping or if I’m over-compressing the master.

When I’m happy the master is sounding great and It’s ready to send, I’ll bounce it down and prepare my message to the A&R.

Before I hit send, I’ll drop my final bounce into EXPOSE. EXPOSE will give me all the crucial technical details in just a few seconds. If there’s clipping, EXPOSE will show me where it occurs and to what extent. If there are phase issues, EXPOSE will flag them up on the waveform. If I’ve over-compressed parts of the track or reduced the overall loudness range, EXPOSE will tell me.

Being a freelancing audio engineer, I need my clients to trust that I will faultlessly deliver quality audio back to them, even when it’s a rushed service. Any back and forth regarding avoidable mistakes is both time-consuming and embarrassing.

Click here to download the EXPOSE free trial for an efficient and effective quality control routine.

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Tom is a musician, audio engineer and entrepreneur based in London, UK. His credits include Tiesto, David Guetta, Steve Aoki and more. His company 'Mastering The Mix’ creates game changing plugins for forward thinking producers.