Today we took the Beat the Smart Kids album to The Boiler Room for mastering. Collin has mastered a bunch of great Chicago records there, from Alkaline Trio, Local H, Lawrence Arms and so on, on his 6ft Dunlavy monitors (tall, not wide). I was stoked just to have my mixes mastered by a dedicated mastering engineer (and not me), and I sure learned a lot while we were there. He obviously had some cool gear, including a Mini Massive, a Vari Mu (if you can see the needle moving, you’re using it too much) and a Weiss DS1. But mainly I was impressed by his tricks, much use of mid-side EQ and a phase-switched dupe to hear the changes he was applying. A/Bing his masters against the attempts I’d made as I was mixing it, showed up a lot of bulk, that sounds good in my room on my Dynaudios but never translates to anything else. The way he preserved the attack of the kick and snare (just the right times on the limiter?) and his general disdain for multiband compression have certainly made me rethink my mastering methods. Have a listen to a little clip of Ruby Crystals, my favourite song from the album, which is about Transformers the Movie, obviously.

Leave a Comment