Paul Cantrell’s music blog & podcast
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Mastering Experiments, Part 2: EQ & Imaging

This is the second half of the thrilling chronicles of my attempts at mastering the piano recordings. (Here’s part one.)

Mastering Experiments, Part 2: EQ & Imaging
Paul Cantrell, piano

I’m constantly changing things — I’ve tweaked the process since my last post, and even while making the explanation, I suddenly noticed a new EQ adjustement. It never ends. These experiments are now coming up against the limits of my ears, the point where I spiral endlessly varying some parameter or other, eventually unable to tell whether the result sounds better or worse, or even any different at all. This week, I’m going to enlist the aid of some more knowledgeable friends, and of the listening public (that would be you!), then call it good and move on.

And yes, I really am interested in how it sounds to you, on your speakers and to your ears.

Once again, Logic Express is heavily involved in what you hear, as is some custom code of my own which handles the stereo image manipulation. But the real software star here is Firium. I’m generally unimpressed with the quality of audio software: it’s typically convoluted, opaque, crashy, ridiculously finicky about its environment, and an embarrassing distant last place in getting compatible with a new OS revision or new hardware. Even much-praised Logic, while it has an excellent set of capabilities, suffers from most of these complaints. It just doesn’t feel polished; it’s certainly no Adobe Illustrator.

And then there’s Elemental Audio’s products. They’re elegant. They offer powerful capabilities through a simple, carefully considered feature set, expressed in interface that explains itself clearly and makes what’s most important most obvious, yet rewards exploration and handles exceptional needs gracefully. On top of all that, to my ears, their stuff sounds fantastic.