Part 2- You cant polish a turd!
So here in part 2 of "you know what really grinds my gears", we're going to talk about the term "you cant polish a turd" with regard to audio mastering.
So you open up a new file from a client and the mix is simply bad. Instruments are not balanced, there's annoying frequencies all over, and the client wants it to sound like a freshly pressed God Smack song that was recorded in a million dollar studio. (i have actually had this request) Can you polish this turd. Yes you can... to an extend. You can massage the audio but whats there is there and will always be there. Mastering engineers can only work with what they have. For example if the drums were recorded with only one mic it will not sound as good as a fully mic'ed drum kit provided that it is mixed properly.
A mastering engineer can make the track listenable and make it playback well on a variety of playback systems but we cannot make a shitty mix sound like a million dollar recording. "Million dollar" sound comes from the beginning which is the performance first then the capturing of the instrument. Mastering is not a "get out of jail free card" when you have a less than stellar mix.
Mastering will definitely help, there are many tools and technics that are used today to get the best possible sound even from a rough sounding mix. Have a listen to the song on my home page in the center. Its a level matched a/b comparison of a bad mix to it being mastered here at Life Audio Mastering.
You can massage a turd almost to a shine but as the saying goes "you can not polish a turd!"
In part 3 we will discuss a comment i got that stated i cant possibly be a got mastering engineer because i choose not to use outboard gear. You deffinetly want to read that one. Stay up to date via my facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/lifeaudiomastering/