Welcome to OnlineMastering.net!
I am Andy Krehm, the chief mastering engineer at OnlineMastering.net. Although this is a new site, I have been mastering full-time for well over 15 years. Previous to that, I was a pro session and theatre guitarist and producer/arranger for 20 years.
OnlineMastering.net is a collaboration between Ken Lewis and myself. Ken is one of the best and most sought after producer/mixers in the US. He has multiple Grammy Award credits and has plenty of Gold and Platinum records! Check out his website Pro Tools Mixing.
I have been working for him both directly and through recommendations to his clients since 2007.
I am located in Toronto, Canada and Ken is in New Jersey, USA. How we met is another "power of the internet" story! I still can't believe how we connected so I never get tired of telling the story!
Many years ago, Ken was looking for info on a Requisite compressor which he had heard was excellent. The Requisite compressor, like many high-end studio units are sold by small companies and are not available to check out in your average music store. So he entered "Requisite Compressor" into a search engine and up came my mastering gear list! (the Requisite L2M Compressor is one of my favourites and I have been using it for years starting with the MK I to my current MK III).
Coincidentally, at about the same time, he had just lost one of the mastering engineers that he was using and recommending to his Indie clients. She decided to take up being a musician again and quit the mastering business.
Ken works for many Major and Major/Independent labels but also mixes for indie bands/artists and was keeping his eyes (and ears) open for someone who was an excellent mastering engineer to recommend to his indie clients. However, the other criterion was that they had to offer indie rates (in other words, not too expensive!) to unsigned bands/artist and indie labels with no major distribution.
So when my gear list came up, he looked around my site, liked what he saw and sent me a single to master, as a try-out.
He and the band liked the mastering and the rest, to quote a most appropriate cliche, is history! We have been working together non-stop for years. I appreciate the business and the quality of his work and he knows I am not going to ruin his mixes and will treat them in an appropriate manner for the genre!! In other words, a perfect mixing/mastering relationship!
Mixer/producers often have their favourite mastering engineers! Why? Because mastering, like mixing, is an artistic endeavour. There is more than one way to mix a song and more than one way to master it.
Although mixers, producers and artists in the modern era are more aware of what mastering can do (or not do!) for a mix, the business of mastering is also at its most confusing these days! We have a huge glut of "online" mastering studios springing up, both good and bad, and many of you who are looking for mastering services do not know how to evaluate them.
Many of them use only plug-ins in an untreated bedroom or basement with mixing speakers.The engineers likely have very little experience so the chances of getting a good master out of one of these places is rare!
The other problem are the mixers who dabble in mastering a couple of times a month. Those are the studios who offer mixing and mastering by the same guy. Some of them wouldn't think of educating their clients that going to a dedicated mastering engineer is usually the best bet to finish an album but would rather take the money themselves! And some of them simply don't know any better because they have never heard their mixes mastered by a professional!
I have no problems with mixers who master as long as they have explained to the client about the benefits of using a separate and full-time mastering engineer. If the client doesn't feel their music is worth the extra expense, then at least they are getting their album mastered. Most of the mixers I know prefer NOT to master their own mixes!
Another problem is that sometimes bands strap themselves financially because they feel they just have to use the guy that just mastered the latest #1 hit. They don't realize that there are a good number of quality mastering engineers that charge far less and whose work is just as good!
So I have put together some info here to try and help clients evaluate and find a pro mastering studio:
If you follow the criterion in the link above, you will be able to find many established mastering engineers with credits and top of the line analog and digital outboard units in a tuned room with great speakers. However, amoungst these folks, there are guys who excel in one style and do not do everything well. Plus, being an artistic endeavour, some mixer/producers simply don't like the work of some highly qualified mastering engineers for various reasons! Sometimes they crush a mix that doesn't need it or other times they will change it more than is wanted.
Some guys just do their own thing with no regard to what the mixer, producer or artist wants!! That's what I call "Old School Mastering" and I know first hand from my former years as producer! Some of the guys I went to were excellent engineers but they really didn't want you there nor did they want your input!! Imagine working on an album for a year with a good budget and then witnessing a less than stellar job by a mastering engineer who worked on it for a few hours!
My philosophy comes from my session guitar playing days where I was called upon to play a wide variety of guitars and styles. A typical week would be playing a heavy metal solo on a commercial and perhaps some 5 string banjo in the blue grass style on a film score later that day. At night, it might be a show backing up acts such as the Pointer Sisters or perhaps playing electric, 6 string acoustic and 12 string acoustic on a theatrical play for a show such as Evita!
So my mastering philosophy comes from the fact that I appreciate a very wide variety of music and am always trying to figure out how to approach each genre with integrity! I always take suggestions from clients with the utmost respect and do my very best to try to understand how their comments/suggestions apply to their tracks. When someone wants me to "do my own thing", I let the musical genre tell me what to do!
So as you can see, the relationship between mixer/producer/clients and mastering engineer is very important.
That is probably why Ken has stayed with me for so long. He likes how I treat his mixes and clients and I absolutely love working on his mixes! When he recommends our services, he knows that his clients are going to get top notch work for very reasonable prices. Other reasons I like working with him is that he is very organized, knows what he wants and is very pleasant and easy to work with. The latter qualities are also extremely important to a long-term working relationship!
So, although Ken has been sending work to me for years, collaborating on this new site is just a way of focusing our relationship and making it official.
Please feel free to leave comments!