To this day, mastering has been a black art to many engineers and producers:
What is the voodoo they’re practicing to make everything sound bigger and more polished, and how do they get records to translate so well across multiple playback systems and mediums? Do you need the perfect $100 k gear to master music? What is it about bit depth, dithering, converters, clocks?
I’m excited we got to sit down with legendary mastering engineer Howie Weinberg.
Howie has a seemingly endless credit list and over 200 Gold and Platinum selling records under his belt.
With Nirvana’s classic ‘Nevermind’, U2, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Soundgarden, Van Halen, Metallica, Herbie Hancock and Sheryl Crow, Howie has mastered records that – to this day – are considered the sonically best albums of all time.
Drawing from his rich pool of experience ranging from the 70s and Vinyl Mastering through Tape, CDs and finally Digital Formats, Howie gives us a history lesson in mastering, discusses the advantages and shortcomings of different mediums and gives us an outlook on today’s music industry and production standards:
“With Digital, whatever you out in, you get back. The playing filed is leveled with equipment, everybody uses similar gear and plugins. So it comes down to skills and creativity. You can make records with tremendous quality fairly cheap these days. And people are doing that!”
You’ll get a full tour of his mastering setup, including Speakers, Compressors, Limiters, EQs, Clocks, Converters and more, as Howie talks you through the characteristics of each unit and explains how he likes to use them.
For the Slate plugin fans among us, there’s a special bonus at the end: Slates Virtual Tape Machine was developed emulating Howie’s Studer A80, and Howie shows us his favourite settings and shows us how to tweak it to achieve different sonics.
So let’s dive right in!
I hope you enjoyed this video! It was truly inspiring to hear an accomplished mastering engineer’s perspective on technology, music production and different audio formats.
Please leave a bunch of questions and comments below the video, we’ll be back with Howie very soon! Thanks so much for sharing your story and knowledge with us Howie, you rock!
Have a marvellous time recording and mixing,