Mastering engineer Mike Wells, using equipment from Dangerous Music.Edmeston, NY (July 3, 2008)–Mastering engineer Mike Wells is turning out CD master and vinyl pre-master files simultaneously, using equipment from Dangerous Music.
Using the Dangerous Master for inserts and routing, Dangerous Monitor for input switching and monitor control and the Dangerous MQ for metering and headphones, he recently completed mastering the new Sound Tribe Sector Nine CD, Peaceblaster, due out this fall, with a special preview in July. “Their label, 1320 Records, was really pleased with the quality of the mastering and the fact that in a single pass I can create both the CD master and the vinyl pre-master,” he said.
Wells details how he uses each of the three Dangerous components: “I have the Dangerous Master routed out to an XLR patch-bay that I built. I’m using about a quarter of the amount of cables with the Master, Monitor and MQ than I used in my old system, with the ability to re-patch the system at any time. With the three-insert points on the Master, it allows me to keep a basic starting point, and I can fine-tune it per session as necessary. The second insert on the Master has the magic S&M button–a sum-and-difference encoder/decoder that lets you affect stereo width and also process the material in mid-side. You can engage the sum-and-difference mode and insert analog processing in the loop if you want to, for example, de-ess the vocal in the center channel only and add bottom-end to the guitars panned to the sides without making the center muddy. And in combination with the Dangerous Monitor, you can separately monitor the sum and difference paths and hear the effect of your processing, which has been a very powerful addition I wasn’t able to do in the past.
“The Dangerous Monitor is fantastic–it allows me to do some really cool things that I couldn’t do before,” Wells continues. “It can monitor a number of digital and analog sources, so one of the ways I use it is to monitor the signal from the DAW pre and post. I have two digital signals from my Lynx Aurora card, one before and one after the A-to-D stage, and they both go through the Dangerous Monitor D-to-A, so you are comparing different sources using the same D/A converter at the same level. This process allows me to do a 100-percent, pure A-B, before and after my mastering system, all gain matched perfectly. In my old system I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t monitor the resulting last stage of A-to-D, which does color the signal, in real-time. Using the Lynx interface with dual/matched Lavry A/D converters in combination with the dual outputs of the Dangerous Master, I am able to capture two paths in real-time, one using the outboard analog signal path as the ‘Vinyl Pre-Master’ and one going through a final limiter in the digital domain for the CD Master and assets for Digital Distribution.
“The MQ has VU meters, as well as a digital simultaneous peak-over-average meter that are fed from the selected output of the Dangerous Monitor. When listening to the outputs of the Dangerous Master I am able to see what my total level is as a result of the analog processors being inserted through the Master. If it’s bypassed or engaged I can instantly see where I am at, gain-wise, before-and-after. With the MQ I can better project where I want to be when I’m back in the digital domain at the end of the processing.”
Mike Wells Mastering