Part 3- "Your not a good mastering engineer because you don't use outboard gear"
Aaah the age old gear debate...Lets get one thing straight YES you NEED high quality tools to do a great high quality job. The key thing to remember is that it doesn't matter what the tool is as long as you can get great results with it.
The "tool" doesn't matter if you don't know how to use it anyway. What make a mastering engineer a good mastering engineer is his knowledge and experience with manipulating audio. For example and experience carpenter using lower grade tools can still craft and amazing result using what he has. He uses his skills more so than the tool at hand. The same is with mastering, its truly about the art of subjectivity and knowing when a difference is good or bad.
The main debate however is that outboard mastering gear such as eq's or compressors are what give you that million dollar "nick-back sound" .. Absolutely not true friends. Today the digital domain whit regards to audio is so advanced that there really is no reason to leave the digital domain. You may want a certain color that a compressor gives the audio and only that piece of gear can give that sound however that sound your looking can always be replicated in the digital world in one way or another.
High end plugin's are absolutely amazing today and really make amazing end results. doe great gear make an improved difference? Yes but there always has to be an engineer to control that gear. If you have someone who has no idea how to use that gear the results will not be what you might expect. Gear is however more important at the recording stage of producing music. When you get to the mastering stage the most important gear is the monitor set-up and that includes the room, and even then you still need to know how to use the room and monitors to help you make mastering decisions.
In part 4 of this 5 part mini series we will discuss loudness when it comes to your music....