Low frequencies anyone?

Low frequencies anyone?


I think we just need to accept that different people express themselves in different ways, and try not to take it personally. Ego/cock fights don’t really benefit anyone, no matter who’s in the right or wrong.

I try to read confrontational posts as being written in a friendly, conversational way. However, I appreciate that because I’ve got Scottish roots I’m happier than most to accept argumentative points in a friendly spirit! It’s in the language;

“See you, Jimmy?” advancing with raised fists and a grin

My relationship with mastering’s evolved a bit as I’ve developed. I think I wrote about it a few weeks ago. But just to give an illustrative example;

The first attended mastering session I paid for, the mastering guy did lots. Big low end boost, My mixes were very bass light and overly congested in the lower mids. Also big high end boost to try to inject some life and sparkle. M/S EQ used to deal with issues ranging from whistle tones in the aggressive vocals to thinning out an overly thuddy snare to getting rid of low mid resonances on hard panned acoustic guitars. Compression to try to get some movement and punch going. The engineer was, shall we say, a busy man that day.

It was a huge eye opener because the above mentioned issues… I didn’t even know they were things that could happen! I had no concept of them, and wasn’t listening for them as I mixed. Very educational.

And from then on, I knew that resonances could be problems and looked out for them. I knew that generally I could push the bottom and top more, and move away from the natural sound being picked up by the mic - that over-hyping sound could have a place. Of course that also fed back into the way I recorded - the choice of tones, mic placement etc.

A couple of years later I was better at mixing, and at that time I learned a different lesson about low end. I had started using mix bus compression, and gone with settings I thought worked in the mix room.

In the mastering studio, I could hear the low end much better and suddenly I could hear that the bus comp settings I’d chosen, and all my mix decisions, were wrong - the low end was pumping and strangely brittle, and now that I could hear it, the whole mix was like a house built on sand - nothing made sense any more.

Again, a learning experience. And this learning carries on all the time, in fits and starts and backward steps and the sudden clicking into place of things that had hitherto eluded me.

I recently produced/mixed an album and felt confident enough in what I’d done that I suggested to my client, who’s working on a limited budget, that rather than pay to get it mastered, he’d better spend that money on other things that would have concrete benefits far beyond what mastering would add.

It wasn’t that good mastering wouldn’t be a net benefit. It was just that, as mixed, it already sounded way, way better than the last album I did for him. So to get a mastering engineer who could add significant value would have cost a lot of money - I was confident that I could do better than an automated system or a cheap engineer. In the reality of the budget, there are better ways to ensure the album sees the greatest success.

So I mixed it to the best of my ability, and at the end I compiled all the mixes together, worked out track spacings, brought the volume up to what I considered a healthy level for the genre, compared and contrasted different songs. I paid attention to the micro- and macro-dynamics which involved everything from more compression to simple limiting to manually changing the clip volume of sections of the songs (always with an eye on how the album flowed together) to simply doing nothing.

I wouldn’t call it mastering. I’m not a mastering engineer. It was, as mixing is the process of turning individual tracks into a cohesive mix, turning individual mixes into a cohesive album. In some cases, I went back into the mixes and changed elements of the mix where certain tracks weren’t sitting right against others. Interestingly, it was almost always some aspect of the low end.

A boring anecdote I’m sure, but the process did make me think about the relationship between mixing and mastering in a new light.


You have taken a super defensive stance from your first sentence to me, insisting on a “respectful” conversation (which I have done), yet somehow you now want to ascribe feelings of inferiority as MY main motivation for having this discussion?

Good Luck.



You have to understand, I am reacting to a trend in which people on the internet are giving undue importance to a process that is literally only for purposes of technical delivery. An ME mastering for vinyl has technical limitations that must be adhered to for the quality of the end users experience. A record that won’t play because the bass causes the needle to jump out of the groove does not serve this goal.

These days, we have streaming sites setting the level to -14 LUFS. I can get there inaudibly with an analog compressor alione. Further, playback devices of today can handle massive low end without crumbling. Further, 98% of records won’t make any money. So, Not only is there no technical reason to have your track mastered, there’s no business reason either. So long as you aren’t clipping, you’re good. Yet somehow, people seem to place this remarkable importance on a process that is for the most part, archaic.

There’s really no need for an apology. I understand that it wasn’t your intent to give Lucey half credit for Tchad Blake’s work. The problem is, many home recording musicians and engineers buy wholly into that kind of thinking. Which means they actually believe the sound of the record is more important than the song, the performances, and the arrangement.

The arrangement IS the sound. And the balances created within that arrangement, and the dynamics that we utilize, are how we manipulate the listener and cause a predictable and identifiable reaction. What I’m trying to do, is to empower people to understand, your record can be great without ever involving a mastering engineer. It’s the one position that can be performed by a bot.

I literally have someone arguing with me on this thread that having heard a raw mix from a gold and platinum mixer is of more weight than my experience operating as a gold and platinum mixer. That’s what we’re up against.

Anyone who records and mixes professionally should take umbrage at the idea that the ME could be considered to be of more value than those who create the record. We really need to start correcting this view. All of us who understand this.



Dude… Danny, why are you taking offense at this?? There’s nothing wrong with confirming something he believes by citing it in a book he wrote. If Dave says “I believe there was water on Mars” then cites a journal publication of his own research for why he believes that, that’s not a ‘toot my own horn’ - Its an attempt to assert consistency in his stance. If you go to the work to publish a book like that, you ought to be able to reference it because its a culmination of your ideas presented in an organized platform.

This whole time I feel you’ve really misjudged Erics motives. I get that you may not care how many platinum records he’s worked on - but I can’t figure out for the life of me why you’re interpreting his opinions through a highly negative bias. Look - Its not egotistical to hold an opinion. And its not egotistical to disagree with someone. But it seems like you asked for his opinion, he gave it to you, defended it, then you interpreted his supporting arguments as a personal attack?

I’ve made the mistake of deleting replies like this in the past. Doing so decimated a thread that had a lot of good information on it.


Tone of voice on forums is very important to me. I didn’t like his.

This to me it says something I DID not say. I never once said the ME was the most important part of the process. Madness? Muted tambourines? Did it have to be worded that way? Facetious if you ask me.

Again stating that something I believe in, to him is “shitty”. Did it need to be worded that way? Seriously. If it was said to me in a bar to my face, I would react the exact way I did on here. Yet I’m the controversial one that isn’t allowed to take offense? So I fired back and disagreed. I don’t need anyone to walk on eggshells with me, but I just felt there was a different way this could have been communicated.

And why did I have to explain and justify what a neutral, balanced mix was? Is it really that hard to understand and isn’t it what we all strive for? Seriously, Jonathan. It’s fine if he doesn’t agree with it, but to call it “shitty” is just, well, pretty much “shitting” on another man’s opinion, and I have the right to defend it. Then of course I get told what justifies a good mixer. I don’t believe I asked him that question? I get it, you like the guy and feel the need to stick up for him.

Stuff like this is why I don’t take part on forums any longer. I don’t need anyone to EVER agree with my opinions whether I’ve lived them or not. But I do like it when people can respect them and communicate while thinking about how they come off. I have to have thick skin in life, I’d rather not have to have it on a forum as well. There’s simply no need.

And we weren’t talking about proportional mixing, reactions or anything of that nature. I simply said I had heard some un-mastered vs. mastered mixes where the ME really made some cool changes that altered the mix, and I myself have had the luxury of being allowed to tailor things in this manner as well when I was asked to. It then turned to the ME being the most important guy, which I never said. I’m sorry, I see your point, but I have to respectfully disagree with how this was handled. Hopefully you can see my point now.

As I said, I respected the guy, and I’ve read and enjoyed his posts on here since he joined. I wasn’t lying. I just think the responses could have been handled a little differently. He has bragging rights and rightfully so. I get it, and am proud of his accomplishments. We’re lucky to have someone like him here. It’s not easy to survive doing this and end up where he is. But at times the responses sort of sounded like his stature was weighing in on my opinion more than someone genuinely trying to have a conversation. I just handle things differently, what can I say. I felt his replies were somewhat facetious at times and I read them several times to see if I read them wrong. I found myself annoyed which is why I responded in the manner in which I did. I can’t answer it any more honest than that.


Ok. I get it. At least I understand why it got under your skin. I’m really not the best person to be even commenting on this, because I’ve made a fair share of replies on this forum (and others) that have pissed people off.


You’ve just made an enemy for life, pal.



That is precisely how it’s worded in Zen and the Art of Mixing.

It isn’t what I strive for. That was the point.

[quote] Seriously, Jonathan. It’s fine if he doesn’t agree with it, but to call it “shitty” is just, well, pretty much “shitting” on another man’s opinion, and I have the right to defend it. Then of course I get told what justifies a good mixer. I don’t believe I asked him that question? I get it, you like the guy and feel the need to stick up for him.

Stuff like this is why I don’t take part on forums any longer. [/quote]

It’s literally how I wrote the phrase in my book… Its why I put quotes around it.

You are raging over nothing. When you’re ready to apologize you let me know.


(Mods feel free to fix my quotes. I can’t seem to figure out how they work on this forum for some reason).


Ok, but we’re not talking in quotes of books. I was talking to you as a human being. It appeared to me you took a shot at my opinion. Do we need to talk in quotes around here citing our works? Seriously?

Now couldn’t you have just said that? I shared an opinion and you quote a book that is also your belief. Yet you claim you didn’t know what a “neutral mix” was. Yet, it’s shitty. I really can’t understand why no one sees this as wrong and how I could take it the way I did, including you.

I’m not raging and it’s not up to you to determine how someone takes the way you decide to deliver your posts. If I say you ruffled my feathers and took a stand because of them, wouldn’t the right thing be something like:

“hey, sorry, certainly didn’t mean to upset you and I could have probably worded that a little differently. Didn’t mean to imply your neutral mixing thing was “shitty”, I just don’t strive for that sort of thing.”

That said, we weren’t talking about mixing, were we? Right, your book enters because I shared an opinion about mastering. You knew you ruffled my feathers, and then come back with this? You also felt the need to reply to an old post I commented on 2 years ago to stir the pot some more. That is the only reason you would go back and reply to something I said. Don’t hold your breath for an apology. It will NEVER happen. If anyone owes one, it’s you.

How about this, how about you just ignore me and I’ll return the favor?

@Jonathan This is acceptable communication?





They can. They just don’t say so because they know how they will be treated - especially by people who should know better.


Just a point of order on this one :slight_smile:

I see this type of question asked on many forums and groups - it’s relevant to live sound, too. A lot depends on the filter itself. In my experience if there is no indication on the filter then it’s probably going to be a second order 12db job - in my world that’s a pussycat, you can high pass quite aggressively without losing everything below the threshold.

If you’re using fourth order (24db) filters or above, it’s different story.