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Mastering for acousmatic / ambient / drone
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Mastering for acousmatic / ambient / drone
There are many tutorials, rules-of-thumb, and general lore about mastering melodic, vocal, and more "traditional" techno music.

What, if anything, do you find yourself doing differently to master your experimental, out-there, more sound-design-y material?

Do you approach compression differently? Do you think about the desired dynamic range differently? And so forth.
there are not really any rules of thumb for mastering and mastering, more or less, is "genre-blind"... it doesn't really matter what genre of music is being mastered, it only matters what that specific song needs and what the artist's vision and requests for the work are.

i make my living mastering, largely, ambient and experimental music. there are times when an ambient song needs more compression than a techno song, there are times when an ambient song needs a bit more saturation...

it's really important to treat each track for WHAT IT NEEDS.. not based on any myths or stereotypes.

the only one common request from, say, a techno producer vs. ambient.. is that they often want the techno pushed louder, and the ambient artist is less concerned about overall level.

on a slightly different note... one thing i've noticed over the years is how people talk about specific gear and its sound. and this can largely change on the type of music going through that gear.

for example, a particular compressor may be said to have a certain aggressive sound or to saturate very nicely when pushed.... well, if you're using it on gentler, less dynamic material (like ambient) you may not be pushing a signal as much into that particular piece of hardware, thus hearing those characteristics less than if you were running highly transient, rhythmic or otherwise more forward sounds.

you'll often hear people saying "this piece is great for heavy metal" or "this compressor totally ruins drums"... well, that may be the case, but for ambient music, these descriptions may not matter because the gear responds differently to different types of inputs... so in the end the choice of gear to use depends on the material going through it, and not for some comment on gearslutz that pigeonholes that particular piece to a particular musical style.

but, before i get off on too many tangents.... again, to your original question... you should not approach any mastering with "rules of thumb" but with a track by track (and, the big picture of the album as a whole) decision of what each song NEEDS and then proceed to correct and enhance to get the song sounding the best for the client's vision..... which is largely about COMMUNICATION between the artist and mastering engineer.

of course, that's just my opinion. other ME's may approach things differently! and certainly mastering-by-algorithm services (like LANDR, etc) will have their own way of dealing with different styles, too.

(you can read a bit of my overall mastering philosophy here:
Thats useful perspective! I'm still very, very green with recording, hence my post.
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