I've just finished a new song that is going to get pushed to a major TV show and should it get picked up will be a digital single. In the grand scheme of things I did some things very different for this mix. One it was extremely complex with lots of layers, which in turn required a new 8-core Mac Pro to finish (that's a story in and of itself) all because it was recorded in hi-def 96k/24bit. I did the whole mix a very low volume and mixed without any compression on the master fader. In fact it was peaking at no more than -2db on the master bus. I did this on purpose to the give the mastering engineer tons of room to do his magic.

Next came the mastering. Since the mastering guy I use is a good friend of mine we spent time trying several things. Some were great, some were not so great. After 4 tries we settled on a master that will be the digital single release. It's as loud as a mix can get without actually distorting. It's damn loud, it sounds awesome but still isn't quite as loud as a major - it's very close (though most I compare it too are actually distorted from being too loud). Even one more tenth of a db on my mix and it would be distorting, which is what I wanted to avoid. It still has most of the dynamics I did in the mix.

However, since this thread has started, and since I've done this mix, I've read an article with several mastering engineers. Most of them actually don't like the loud wars either. But they comply because of the people paying the paycheck. What they have started doing is several different masters. One for digital singles, one for vinyl, one for CD, etc... Interestingly enough, my mastering guy suggested the same thing tonight. After having gone through this mix, I have the same mindset. There are needs for each kind of master.

I do know that when it comes time to assemble the next CD, I will have this remastered, but not pushed so hard for volume. It's just the reality of today, one size does not fit all.

I will eventually post an mp3 of the mix on my blog. When I do, I'll post the link here.

But how about discussing the concepts of mastering for different final versions. That's a very viable thing to look at.

Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!