7H7E - Mastering Comparison (Jens Bogren)

Aaron Smith

Envisage Audio
Feb 10, 2006
Seattle, WA
As promised, the comparison is here!

I had it uploaded onto the CM server, just in the event that there are a lot of downloads, as I don't want my personal Dropbox to get overrun.

Password: A-i87L=
Expires On: 4/14/2011

Both files are at 44.1 kHz, my raw mix is at 24-bit, and I left Jens' master at 16-bit, as my understanding is that you should be able to import them both into any DAW and compare them side by side without having to do any kind of bit-depth conversion. Of course, turn down the mastered track to get a fair comparison- I found that backing off the mastered track about 9 dB in Pro Tools was just about right.

A couple relevant quotes from my e-mails with him...

I asked him if he used any EQ, or a HP/LP, and he replied:

"Yes, I've used some EQ, not too much though. Nothing in general, but subtle for each song. A little HP, but no LP".

I asked him what he clipped the snare with, and he replied:

"For volume I run the mixes through a Thermionic Culture Phoenix with no compression, just to get a touch of saturation and energy. Then I clip through either my System 6000 AD's or my Lynx, whatever suits the material. In this case the Lynx. It's really good for transparent clipping.
The snare will always get a bit lost while mastering, especially if the ME use limiters (no limiting on this material though). Perhaps you do that already, but I usually have a limiter strapped to my listening chain while mixing to emulate what's gonna happen during mastering. That way I'm a happy camper when the ME (usually myself) squash the living soul out of the mixes. :)"

All the differences are really quite subtle to my ears, which is flattering to me as a mixer, but also speaks highly of Jens' mastering ear. The raw mix has a bit more snare smack (which is totally expected), and a little bit more high frequency air (which doesn't really help the material), and I think Jens' master just sounds slightly more cohesive and punchy than the raw mix does. Overall, I'm very happy with what he did with it.

Anyway, enjoy the clips, I know I'm in a bit of a unique position to be able and interested in posting something like this, so I hope this is educational for many of you. Excited to hear your thoughts as well!
Gonna give it a listen now, ive always thought imagine if you paid alot for a professional master such as this one then ask what he did and his reply being..."Not much, just a bit of EQ.." surely you be like :zombie: "I expect masses of your high end gear to be all over this master for these prices! Not just a touch of EQ" :tickled:
I was psychologically prepared to accept him doing some more obvious or even drastic stuff to the mix, since a big part of a mastering engineer's job is to be the guy who gets the final say in how the music sits. With Jens, I've heard more than enough of his work to know that I absolutely trust his ear for getting the spectrum right, so when his masters came back and there wasn't a massive change that had occurred, it was more a feeling of "Dude, badass, I did a good job on the mix!" instead of "Well piss, I'm not getting my money's worth!". I guess if someone really wants the mastering engineer to go wild, they can just send them bad mixes :lol:
Yeah its good your mix was good enought to start with. I wasn't speaking about Jens just generally with bands spending all their band funds on getting a master and expecting some fairly major changes.

Master sounds good dude! But as mentioned, the raw mix is also very good! Nice work :)
Cool man :)

What did he charge?

According to the website: http://www.fascinationstreet.se/mastering/#/info.49

Typical Album Mastering, 790 Euro:

Full album mastering (33-60 minutes of material) incl. 1 revision.
Album sequencing and electronic delivery as DDPi through FTP.
The master can be reviewed and reference copies can be made with our enclosed DDP software.

Options (at additional cost):

• Physical master delivery: 130 Euro (DDPi on DVD-R, or Red Book comp. CD-Audio Master, including 1 Reference CD)

• Additional physical master copy: 100 Euro

• Additional reference CD (listening copy): 30 Euro

• Additional revisions: 90 Euro / hour

• Courier/post: Regular post included in physical delivery. Courier costs (Fedex, UPS) will be quoted on request.

• Stem mastering "upgrade": 180 Euro (Mixes delivered to us in sub-groups, ”stems”, e.g. Drums, Bass, Guitars, Vox, Keys)
If not used for every track on an album the extra cost is 20 Euro per stem mastered track.

Other services:

Mastering per track: 90 Euro (For non-albums or albums shorter than 33 minutes, e.g. singles, EP's etc. Electronic delivery. A Stem mastering option is available and highly recommended at 20% extra)

Electronic or physical masters for EP's or singles: Quoted on request

Mix-feedback: 15 Euro / track (Have our experienced ears check your mixes prior to mastering!)
Aaron, have you tried mastering this yourself to get similar results, and did you find it possible with your gear? Was having Jens master it in the end a much better decision than mastering it yourself?
very interesting. I mastered the little clip you posted and then opened up the original and null tested the mastered version by Jens to my own to see the differences...I tweaked the low end more in my master, so the null reflects that. My master was around .3 dB louder too, so I tried to compensate the null test by reducing my master that much in volume.

Either way, the mix was pretty killer to start with.

my master:

null test to Jens master:

I don't know if you wanted these posted, so I will remove them if you want. Considering you posted the upload pass, I assumed it was OK...
The EQ is definitely more than subtle!!! Jens versions just sounds slightly more scooped (but like by 1db or so). The limiting (or clipping should we say) is very transparent and the image seems slightly larger as well. He must have been happy to master this because the mix is very well balanced already and didn't need much to be fixed indeed, an easy job.
The differences are quite subtle indeed, apart from the high end being a bit more tamed I did notice a slight bump in the low-end, mainly in the key frequency of the kick. Your mix is great though, there was not much more he could've done :)
I am probably a little out of touch on Mastering costs , my gut just felt that those prices seemed pretty much within grasp of most projects . I guess it
just shows how competitive things are these day's .
Nice. The prices quoted seem very affordable. I imagine the waiting list is pretty long, though. He seems like a busy guy, especially lately.

btw, great mix:D
I am probably a little out of touch on Mastering costs , my gut just felt that those prices seemed pretty much within grasp of most projects . I guess it
just shows how competitive things are these day's .

Seems like you mistook mastering with mixing, which is indeed more expensive, and not only by small amount.