Why I don't do attended mastering sessions

I used to do attended mastering since I could remember, but I never really feeled comfortable doing that. I also noticed that with an attended session the end result was pretty much always less then when people did not attend the session. Even before this whole covid19 thing I decided to stop doing attended mastering-sessions, I will explain why.

A couple of year ago I found an online article about synesthesia and to me that was an eye-opener. I never heard of it before and for me it was a natural experience which I had since I was a small kid. I thought that this was 'normal behaviour' and everybody experienced the world that way. I was wrong.. Synesthesia in this case means that you will not just listen to music and sound or experience the world as it is, but you will do that in a '4 dimensional way'. I experience music in colors, shapes, smell, taste, feeling. Without even knowing it, I made use of this synesthesia during mastering. This experience drives me in a certain direction to get to the point where things ‘fall into place’. I use the same equipment and plugins for years while I see a lot of mastering-engineers changing their equipment and plugins all the time. To me that doesn't work, I need to know all my tools inside out to get to the result I want without thinking about it. Thinking to me works in the opposite direction.

When someone attends the mastering session, I will be distracted and the 'synesthesia experience' will be a lot less. Even the energy of having someone around me in the studio distracts me. This means I need to listen to it more ‘technically’ and way less by experiencing it, which makes it harder for me to get things in the direction that I want it to.

I sometimes get the question 'what color does my music have'. It doesn't work that way, it's not like I hear certain music in blue, green or whatever. It's an overall, really hard to explain, experience. I even noticed that when I pay attention to it, the feeling is mostly gone.

For albums it’s sometimes a good idea to come to the studio, but mostly for final (technical) tweaks, listen to the final masters together or for making the sequence/transistions of the album. But being part of the mastering session itself? I'm sorry, I will not do that anymore. I hope it makes sense now.

Have a colourful day!

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