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1989 bedroom vintage synthwave euro dance retro synth music

1989 bedroom vintage synthwave euro dance retro synth music Allow me to set the scene………. The sky is always there, recreation of a vintage bedroom studio hiss fest.   It’s 1989 and you are in your bedroom with your synths, some analogue, some digital and a few rather piercing to the ear. Cubase 1.0 is […]

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Perceived volume, creativity and new challenges for music producers

Perceived volume, creativity and new challenges for music producers   In 2024 volume normalization is the norm for Spotify, iTunes and YouTube (when “Sound Check” or equivalents are on) so one could be forgiven for imagining that mastering perceived volume is no longer a consideration. This article is a collection of technical, creative and future […]

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One synth challenge with Rob Papen Albino 3 Legend

One synth challenge with approx 80 Albino 3 Legend synth instances If you would like to skip the intro move straight down to the “fun electronic drums” title below. I made an early 2000’s sounding track with only Albino 3 Legend as the sole synth sound source used. Here is the track : Introduction and […]

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Human mastering

Human mastering Welcome to human mastering by Barry Gardner, serious proposition analogue and ear selected digital mastering at an incredible price. No expensive and annoying subscriptions here. 1T £30.00 | 4T EP £112.00 | Album £230.00 No Tax to add. Automated services miss extremely important aspects of what human mastering actually is. I want to […]

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Production of a 2004 inspired track

Introduction: Whilst mastering music for a living will always be my priority I have been making my own music in evenings and weekends. I forewarn that for modern attention spans this is going to be a fairly extensive read of 8-10mins and will touch on a few important areas of electronic DAW music production. I […]

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Fundamental audio truths

  Fundamental audio truths :   I thought this would be a fun yet direct statement type blog post with some of the many factual audio truths that I have learned through my many years of being a professional sound engineer. The following are statements based on many years of audio engineering in a professional […]

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How to mix vocals

How to mix vocals (and record) Please share this page on audio forums and social media far and wide as it contains clear and direct professional information. If you follow this information you will be well on your way to make vocals sound stunning in any music mix. Every few weeks I see a new […]

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How to use an audio compressor with confidence

How to use an audio compressor confidently   Introduction : The 2 most important controls on a compressor are not what you might think. If you cannot hear what a compressor can or is doing it will greatly slow your progress in how to use them with confidence, after reading this you will be on […]

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1989 retro DAW music production techniques

1989 retro DAW music production technique Whilst I master all types of music here with ease, like any good mastering engineer should be able to, I enjoy making some music in my spare time. So please do not consider me as a “one trick pony” allow me my spare time sonic indulgence ! This is […]

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The techniques of producing and mixing retro and vintage DAW music ...

The techniques of producing and mixing retro and vintage DAW music tracks As a dedicated mastering engineer who is comfortable working with any and all genres it’s important to convey that I master all types of music and there is no particular focus on dance music beyond this article which can apply to any retro […]

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Inspiration, organization and the key to finishing your DAW music t...

Inspiration, organization and the key to finishing your DAW music tracks. Foreword : How to finish my tracks Suggestions for being organized with a new DAW based track and how to increase the chance of finishing your DAW music tracks. (How do I finish my DAW music tracks?) If you do not want the preamble, […]

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Reasons why I am the best audio mastering option for your music in ...

Reasons why I am the best audio mastering option for your music in 2023 onwards A slightly fun blog entry this time, I have been mastering for 13 years and was a professional employed audio engineer for 10 years prior working in London with a very large audio/radio/ video production company much of which as […]

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Choose mastering by a specialist, the dedication to excel.

Choose mastering by a specialist. I chose to dedicate as a mastering engineer 13 years ago. I can mix, however I choose not to as I enjoy a successful career solely mastering.   In 2022 there are some people that mix music, who also suggest they can “master” music.   Objectivity is immensely important It […]

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The need for clear communication in audio mastering

A few fundamentals of sound recording and mixing, fidelity counts.   This entry is aimed towards producers and musicians with relatively few years of recording, mixing and production experience in relationship to audio mastering. Audio mastering is the final process in audio production. A great master comes only from a good mix down. A good […]

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Preparing your music tracks for mastering.

Clear and concise advice for preparing your exported music files for audio mastering 1. This is a concise entry with high information density about how to prepare your tracks and subsequent exported/bounced files for mastering. 2. Please allow silent handles at the start and end of your tracks. When preparing for mastering it is a […]

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Music library mastering, sync music mastering and record label mast...

Reduced price record label mastering, sync music mastering and music library mastering making your music industry operation more profitable without sonic compromises. Fast facts: 22 years pro audio engineering experience – 12 years dedicated to mastering audio – 3 years training from BBC studio manager – 7 years as head engineer in UK’s largest audio […]

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Expensive mastering may not be the best mastering

My rates are low at Safe&Sound Mastering, it is not expensive mastering, currently £30.00 for a single track and £230.00 for an album. I know you can pay €100+ for a single track as an example of expensive mastering and that is not even the Top 10 tier. Price perception is an interesting aspect relating […]

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Mastering as usual in unusual times

I sincerely hope old and new clients are keeping safe and well around the globe. (everyone in fact) In these unprecedented and concerning times I can say that my mastering services are operating as normal. Everything is the same, you can send your music using wetransfer.com and payments can be made as per normal on […]

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How to make a louder mix

Making a louder mix is a hot topic. I am aware that some music producers still want their music masters to be loud. This is still a reasonable request especially in the harder dance music genres. Such as D&B, Psy breaks, Dubstep, EDM, Dubstep derivatives, Trap and Psy trance. House, techno, trance, ambient, electronic synth […]

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Psy trance kick and bass

Psy trance kick and bass is quite a phenomena, it is the fundamental back bone of this highly technical dance music. Simply stated it comprises 2 parts, the kick is normally just a sine wave downward pitch swept and 3 x 16th note low pass filtered saw wave pulses. (the kick and/or bass notes may […]

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Quick, helpful music mastering information

Concise and direct to the point mastering information about my services and what I require from you. My credentials, gear and service details: 1T £37.00 4T EP £120.00 Album 9 to 12 Tracks £230.00 (DDP in all cases £35.00) 20 years professional (verifiable) audio engineering experience. 10 years working as head of engineering at large […]

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Automated Mastering

Musicians would have to have lived in a cave to not have seen the automated mastering bandwagon of recent years. Known as automated mastering. It is almost impossible to investigate mastering services and not come across these type of mastering services. As a sound engineer I have 23 years of professional audio engineering experience and […]

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Committed to your music mastering and your music sounding better

In modern times musicians have all sorts of great tools for producing their music. The beauty of making music at home or in a project studio is that it offers a non deadline situation to tweak your mixes to get them as possible to how you want it to sound. However many musicians who have […]

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Crane Song Solaris Review

In the mastering studio I have recently installed a Crane Song Solaris Quantum DAC (currently it has the lowest published jitter of any DAC in existence) and thought it would be good to write a review, a rather glowing review in fact. I have long been using a Benchmark DAC-1 HD-R and it has put […]

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Mix appraisal and mix advice (pre mastering)

Mix appraisal and advice is a service I have been providing at Safe&Sound Mastering for 9 years. Prior to becoming a mastering engineer I used to professionally record music sessions amongst other sound engineering work. (electronic, acoustic and amped – along with radio/sound to picture dubbing as head engineer of the UK’s largest audio production […]

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Cheap acoustic treatment for mixing

It’s about time there was decent content about acoustic treatment that will make a huge impact on your skills and finished product as a music producer/mixer. This will be a direct, no waffle, uncomplicated explanation of how to make big accuracy improvements across the sonic spectrum in your room. Most people producing music think nothing […]

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Mastering for streaming

Mastering for streaming services, article Updated for March 2020 : I thought it was a good time to put pen to paper so to speak and write a blog entry about mastering for streaming music in 2022 amongst other musings. Mastering for streaming covers services such as Spotify, Youtube, Soundcloud and Apple Music (iTunes with […]

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DDP for Red Book CD explained

DDP in place of CD-R pre-master discs : For those planning a CD release of their music this article will explain what a DDP is. DDP stands for Disc Description Protocol. It is a file format which specifies the audio and data content of a CD or CD-R in place of an actual physical CD-R. […]

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Audio related PC upgrades

Audio related PC upgrades This blog entry is a little different from those I would normally post up that would have a direct relationship to recording, mixing or mastering. This one is going to be about computer replacement and hardware/software upgrades. I have commenced some computer upgrades in the studio and office and it is […]

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Making loud music mixes

This is an article about loudness, making louder mixes and mixes that will go louder in mastering. Whilst volume normalization systems (which balance out the differences in volume between tracks) are being introduced across music media platforms such as Spotify, iTunes, and Youtube perceived volume continues to be a very common topic of discussion. I […]

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Volume normalization and perceived volume in mastering

Volume normalization is a digital media outlets way of trying to minimize the volume differences between millions of audio uploads. Each media outlet (streaming service, digital music platform and in some cases media players) uses their own slightly different standard to manipulate volumes upwards or downwards in order to even out the difference for consumers. […]

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A guide to music release formats

Digital distribution of music online means there are numerous file types and formats to be aware of, we are going to take a look at both digital and analogue formats, the resultant files and some good practice when finalizing and exporting your music tracks. A very prudent move is to always render a 24 bit […]

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Choosing production sound sources

Being a mastering engineer means I hear a lot of music, sometimes I can identify sound sources (or a collection/interaction of sources) that have sonic problems which cannot be resolved in the mix without complete replacement. As such I have understood the need for an entry which provides clear advice for consideration when choosing  sound […]

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ISRC code in wav files

New development for embedding ISRC codes in .wav files During mastering and creation of a CD-R master disk or DDPi (Disk Description Protocol image file set) a mastering engineer has been able to insert an ISRC code on a per track basis in the Red Book CD sub code data. An ISRC code is a […]

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Mastering for radio

This topic will cover mastering for radio broadcasts and ask what a “radio ready” master is ? Mastering for radio may mean specific tweaks on the end results that may not strictly be appropriate for other purposes. The goal of mastering is to provide a master which translates well. This goal has become more complex […]

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Audio mastering samples

Please note these examples are 8 years old as of 2019. This blog post will be to highlight a video I have just uploaded with some of the great music that has been mastered by myself here at Safe&Sound Mastering. A full range of styles, 28 tracks in total approx 30 seconds each in a […]

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Using a reference track when mixing

As we all know mixing is hard work and a very skilled activity in the realms of music production. Mixing music successfully (and choosing quality sound sources) relies on accurate monitoring, many problems for the beginner will vanish overnight if what you hear from your speakers is truly representative of the audio you are mixing.  […]

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Elysia XFilter review

Elysia XFilter rack review in context of audio mastering Equalization is very important in mastering music, as such I have added another high end equalizer to the rack, extending tonal control possibilities. I present to you the Elysia XFilter rack. Elysia is a German audio electronics and software developer most well known for their high […]

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Most common mix down format for mastering

As a new music producer you will have quite a learning curve to understand all the new compositional tools and audio processing that is available to you including, audio recording, sequencing MIDI and soft synths, mix balancing, equalization, dynamic control etc. so mastering may not be at the forefront of your mind. This is understandable […]

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Audio mastering explained

Audio mastering – a comprehensive explanation  Audio mastering is often misunderstood, however as a mastering engineer I can explain what mastering is and why it is important. First I shall start by explaining the goals of audio mastering which typically works with a stereo interleaved audio mix down file. (ideally of at least 24 bit […]

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MANLEY Massive Passive Review

At Safe&Sound Mastering I have been using the Manley Massive Passive for more than a year now. It is an equalizer that has seen a lot of usage ! The Massive Passive is as its name implies an equalizer that utilizes passive electronic components. Passive components do not require an electric signal to energize them, […]

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Audio mastering with the Benchmark DAC-1 HDR

(DAC now replaced and updated by a superior Crane Song Solaris Quantum DAC) A short and sweet entry here today, I have just installed a Benchmark DAC-1 HDR here and it is already producing sublime sound. An unassuming plain looking aluminium box that has design money spent where it counts, superb audiophile grade electronics. The […]

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The difference between mono and stereo explained simply

Mono Vs Stereo Determining the difference between mono and stereo is an audio engineering skill that even some very capable producers can get confused with. This is a short and sweet entry to clear up the differences. The word stereo is derived from stereophony, stereo is an acoustic illusion of space and depth. This is […]

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Analogue mastering, the benefits for audio

Analogue equipment was the forerunner to digital in the recording industry, studios were built on mixing consoles, tape machines, high end rack mounted outboard equalizers and compressor, miles of cabling and produced very high quality recordings before the advent of the digital audio workstation. I often see forum posts about mastering with plug ins only […]

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Mixing a music track

Mixing a music track is not an easy task for a beginner there are multiple concepts to understand and this article will broadly explain what will be required to produce a competent mix down. We will focus on the use of a digital audio workstation  (A sequencer such as Pro Tools, Fruity Loops, Cubase, Logic, […]

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Stereo width when mixing music

This is an abridged version of a lengthy article I wrote about stereo width and the mono compatibility of music mixes. Producing a mix that is mono compatible is quite important. You may think in this day and age that it is less important because all sound systems and radio are in stereo right ? […]

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Best mastering

So you are looking for the best mastering (or best mastering plug in) For advice on choosing the best mastering read on and for the best mastering plug ins read this: https://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/mastering-plug-ins.html This entry is for people who are unsure of exactly what factors to look for when choosing a mastering studio. There are a […]

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Mastering plug ins, they are not the process of mastering.

This is a short explanation about mastering for those who may have recently started producing and recording music who maybe looking for the best mastering plug ins. If you believed everything you read on music production forums and adverts from software developers it would be easy to think that mastering is a plug in. As […]

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Bass mastering for modern music genres

Sound System picture courtesy of Yaniq Walford (Creative Commons) Bass mastering is something that is discussed online from time to time and provokes a lot of interest, this is highly likely because getting the bass frequencies to sit right in your music can be a challenge for many engineers, musicians and producers across the globe. […]

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Perceived volume and mastering processes

As a mastering engineer I work with music that requires a full dynamic range and also music that has very little dynamic range. This often relates to the perceived volume of a track. Once in a while I will master a music track and the client will be very satisfied with the end results except […]

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