Mastering Anxiety

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Mastering Anxiety

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:31 pm

20 odd years and countless records in and I still get the sweats before a record goes off to the mastering engineer. I just sent a Latin guitar record off on Friday. Thursday night I was up late checking and double checking mixes, comparing bass up/bass down versions. Checking in the car again. Checking on headphones again. Triple checking file names and ISRC codes and just about everything else.
My ME is super chill and would alert me if anything was wrong and probably fix any fixable mistakes without me knowing but I still get the sweats.
Am I alone on this? I guess handing a record off is where it all becomes final and real.

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Re: Mastering Anxiety

Post by drumsound » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:40 pm

I don't get the sweats, though I'm regularly surprised I've never gotten a "What the hell is this, SanFilippo?" email from Craggs.

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Re: Mastering Anxiety

Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:58 pm

I do triple check things before handing them to the next link in the chain,
but not with the anxiety.

Just out of thoroughness.
Realizing vibratory excursions from a paper widget.

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Re: Mastering Anxiety

Post by losthighway » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:32 am

This is way more acute for me when it's my own project, but I get it either way. Sometimes I kind of get off on the adrenaline rush of committing and just actualizing a damn thing. The finality of the DONE stamp is an existential cudgel.

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Re: Mastering Anxiety

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:24 am

I used to get super anxious about finishing I regularly tell other people not to get anxious. It's going to be fine! You're done! Relax! Send me the mixes and put your feet up, it's my problem now.

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Re: Mastering Anxiety

Post by emrr » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:09 am

I usually feel like I'm too close to it to see the big problems anyway, at the end I'm just pushing pixels around that pretty much no one, including myself, will see a week later. Usually there's some time constraint that forces my hand, cuts off potential final tweaks. It can be good to develop a relationship with mastering such that you can let them have a listen when you think you are close, and get mix feedback. I've done that a few times, and made big changes.

I've had a number of derelict projects suddenly come alive years later, with a request to send existing rough mixes to mastering "because it's gotta be out in Japan yesterday!!" No time to bring it back to life and do the obvious things that should happen. Sometimes I have no work for a stretch, then I have 3-4 really good projects on top of one another (maybe lose another job because I'm too busy to take it), and none really get the attention I think they deserve because they're crowding one another, then they're done and I might not have work again for awhile. It's hard to let go, but sometimes life is ridiculous and I just gotta.

Craggs hasn't complained yet, but he probably feels sorry for me!
Doug Williams
ElectroMagnetic Radiation Recorders
Tape Op issue 73

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Re: Mastering Anxiety

Post by Recycled_Brains » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:57 am

I actually don't get to anxious about it these days. I used to, but now I just get excited about it, because I love the collaboration with the 2 guys I use (choice depends on the overall vibe). This rings true for me more than anything:
losthighway wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:32 am
Sometimes I kind of get off on the adrenaline rush of committing and just actualizing a damn thing. The finality of the DONE stamp is an existential cudgel.
It's such a relief to let go.

It's a little different if it's my own stuff, but not radically. I don't listen ad nauseam at the end of a project, because that's just asking to drive myself insane. By that time, it better be at the point where I can do a :high: and just enjoy it. So when I am happy, and I do bounce the final version for the ME, I mute the speakers, because I think it's impossible to not be like "fuck, I should fix that ONE kick drum hit" or something dumb like that that only we notice. Once that's done, I do however give it a thorough listen through headphones far away from any knobs or faders, just to make sure that there aren't any botched crossfades or crap like that that would cause the ME to ask for a resubmission. I might hear something that could stand to be "improved", but I have a lot of trust in the guys that I use, and 99% of the time, once the master comes back, I either forgot what it was or it's not a problem anymore. If it's still a problem, I address it when discussing a revision.
Ryan Slowey
Albany, NY

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