Read Part 1 here.
Ask the Engineer is a new series here on the Masterdisk blog where our guys answer questions about music production. Send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We won’t be able to answer all of them but we’ll post answers to as many as we can. If you have a specific engineer you want to pose the question to, let us know that too.
Chief Engineer Andy VanDette is the go-to mastering engineer for many of today’s greatest artists. From prog-rock greats like Rush to iconic artists like David Bowie, international sensations like David Fonseca to rising pop stars like Jon McLaughlin, Andy can, and does, do it all.Q: Last time we talked about how important the bottom end is in a mix. What is another common problem you see with mixes that come in from self-mixing artists or mix engineers that don’t have a lot of experience?
A: A common problem is the overuse of brick wall limiting before it gets here. Go ahead and use it to you heart’s content to get your mix approved, but make me a copy without it! If it turns out that you are an L2 god and I can’t top it, I will definitely use your version to master from.
Q: How often would you say that you end up using the version with the mix engineer’s limiting?
A: Not often; maybe 5% of the time I’ll use that. Limiting should only happen once in a mix’s lifetime. Multiple layers of brickwall limiting makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, because I know “re-squaring” square waves can only lead to negative artifacts.
Check out Dearly Beloved’s latest album, Hawk vs Pigeon, mastered by Andy VanDette.