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Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

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Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

Postby haemmeron » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:20 am

Once a mix is completed, is it standard practice for the mixing engineer to deliver the files to the mastering engineer and for them to communicate with each other regarding any issues that may arise, or does the mixing engineer typically deliver the files to the artist who will then be responsible to work out mix issues with the mastering engineer?
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Re: Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:05 am

There is no 'standard practice'. It depends entirely on the arrangements made and agreed between the relevant parties. Both practices you mention are common, or if there's a Label or manager involved they might take care of the organisation and liaising.

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Re: Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

Postby Dave B » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:11 pm

One minor thing to pick up on : depends on the “issues”. If the issue is that the mix is distorting / clipping or that the file seems corrupted, then it would not be unreasonable for the mastering engineer to get in touch with the mix engineer to see if he could source a mix without buss processing or a replacement file. That is sometimes the quickest / simplest way to get something fixed.

But if it’s an issue with the way the track is recorded and / or mixed, then I would expect such conversations to go via the artist / label / management as it would mean making mix changes and that may have cost implications. Which is a whole can of worms in itself..
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Re: Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:42 pm

In my experience I will nearly always receive the materials from the artist or label but, if there are technical issues, I'll ask for the contact details of the mix engineer so that I can check to see if there is an alternative version. Sometimes what I see as issues are actually a deliberate feature of the music so I'll also check with the artist too.
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Re: Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

Postby CS70 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:00 pm

When I'm asked a mix, I deliver a mix - but if the artist is a single-man operation and I detect he's not used to the process - I advise him to have the mix mastered.
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Re: Delivering files for mastering: whose responsibility is it?

Postby Jack Ruston » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:40 pm

It can work any number of different ways...

To a great extent it depends who's paying for everything. In the classic model, the label is the client, and everybody is ultimately responsible for delivering their work to the label. But it may well be that the label is taking the position that the producer should handle all these tasks, and indeed the producer WILL almost certainly be involved at every stage. How deeply the label then wish to involve themselves is up to them. It's not really the mixer's job to get the master over the line, any more than it's the mastering engineers job to involve themselves with the mix. Sometimes these people DO work closely, but at the end of the day, the artist, the producer and the client, the label, have all approved a given mix. It's unlikley that the mastering engineer will then want to interfere with that completed process, unless there's some sort of serious issue, or a technical flaw which requires the mix to be reprinted.

BUT in the current climate, where anyone is the producer, the mixer might have to work more closely with the artist and the producer...and in this climate where projects are self mixed, of course the mastering engineer might play more of a role working with the production team to refine the mix.

Anyway, it could be anything, but strictly speaking, it depends WHAT you're paid to deliver, and WHO paid you.

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