August 13th, 2013

I’ve been learning a bit about the mastering process with the recent Else and Pay the Devil recordings. It occurred to me while I was listening to the Else demo at work that it sounded better through iTunes than it did online. I attributed this to the EQ settings within iTunes and then thought,”Well, if this EQ sounds better, why don’t I just apply that to the track?”

So I did.

In only an hour or so I passed the tracks through a few rounds of EQ, scooping the mids slightly to clear up the overall sound, ratcheting up the high eq for some more snap and sizzle from guitars and cymbals, and notched the bass drum up and snare drum down through eq. This then created a really, really snappy but overly loud mix. Compression fixed this, and then I added the tiniest touch of studio reverb to the whole track to liven it back up after the compression. The end-result is an absolute night-and-day difference. Hear the masters at:

I’ve started doing the same to the Pay the Devil recording, though the acoustic tracks require a bit less work. Scooping a bit of the mids is still necessary because the guitar and banjo really fight it out in that register. Because we close-mic’d all of the instruments, the touch of studio reverb really livens the sound up too. Stay tuned for the final version of those!