[LAU] mastering dilemma

Brent Busby brent at keycorner.org
Thu Sep 5 18:07:47 UTC 2013

I'm going about the process of trying to learn what goes into commercial 
mastering (yeah, I know...), and one of the conundrums I've run into is 
that while most commercially produced music has a particular sort of 
common EQ curve to it, I have to really force myself to try to want that 
curve when I'm mixing.  Really, it just sounds cold.  Almost anything 
sounds better (at least on good speakers) with less cutting around 
120-180Hz than most CD's seem to have.  And it really must be the result 
of EQ cuts too -- apart from my digital Yamaha SY99 (which sounds pretty 
cold), I don't think I have any instruments in my whole studio that 
could produce sound so anemic in the low mids as what I hear on CD's 
without *lots* of cuts.  When it comes down to it, there's almost no 
instrument that really sounds like that.

So, my dilemma is twofold...

1)  To use spectrum analyzers and careful listening to try to understand 
the "tone" that the commercial mastering world has apparently agreed on, 

2)  To figure out why I would want that.  On most decent speakers, it 
seems to sound thin and lack authority.  It's terrible having to cater 
to the lowest common denominator.

Anyone else have this problem?  Ever wish you could turn up those low 
mids just a little bit more and get some power underneath?

+ Brent A. Busby	 + "We've all heard that a million monkeys
+ Sr. UNIX Systems Admin +  banging on a million typewriters will
+ University of Chicago	 +  eventually reproduce the entire works of
+ James Franck Institute +  Shakespeare.  Now, thanks to the Internet,
+ Materials Research Ctr +  we know this is not true." -Robert Wilensky

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