bringing into focus
audio mastering is one of those stages of releasing recorded music most people aren't aware of. it's always been an important stage, but even moreso with the increasing use of recordings done on home equipment, or anything not involving a knowledgeable audio engineer.
with the advent of affordable recording technology came a lot of musicians (such as us) getting creative on their own time instead of paying by the hour. but that savings can come at the cost of sound quality. untrained people operating lower-end gear has created great artistic results, but also some sonic problems.
the making of this dream into dust album has been no exception to that. it's been an incredible learning experience, but also a long and difficult one. even once a song is mixed down, it may turn out to have sounds lurking that cause problems on some sound systems. these could be things meant to be heard that end up too prominent or disappear, or unheard artifacts that keep the music from sounding louder, or even damage the speakers.
generally, the job of a mastering engineer is to take a final mix, keep its overall original sound, but accentuate or de-emphasize certain frequencies to bring out the best in the track. for an album, the other goal is to make sure all the tracks sound somewhat similar in terms of volume and tone.
adrian morgan is an independent mastering engineer with his own studio, timeless mastering. he formerly worked at sterling sound (one of the biggest and best mastering houses in the US). he uses both analog and digital gear, like we did when making the album. while working in digital offers sonic clarity and the ability to save your work in progress, analog brings warmth and depth to sound.
this additional step makes a world of difference. there were supportive friends saying the album sounded so good it didn't need mastering. but the fact is, recordings get heard in context with other recordings, not just the hermetic environment of a song or even an album. mastering helps bring the volume and tone to a point of reasonable comparison. it's an added expense, but totally worth it.
to hear the final results in their entirety, see the trailer video and pre-order so beautiful and so dangerous until march 29th using paypal here.