Re: Mastering EA was French Touch

Subject: Re: Mastering EA was French Touch
From: Dominique Bassal (
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 10:51:08 EDT

Le 05-10-29, à 09:38, Richard Wentk a écrit :

> At 13:37 29/10/2005, you wrote:
>> - that a good proportion of them are unbearably loud (clipping is all
>> over the place);
>> - that treble and high mids are highly exagerated, causing actual ear
>> suffering;
>> - that dynamics are brutal and resonant. They are received as
>> agressions, not impressive surges of energy;
>> - that booming generally comes along with any bass manifestation;
>> The whole experience is considered as highly unpleasant.
> This sounds like a textbook list of the results of monitoring on the
> kind of poor equipment where you can't hear the low end or the high
> end properly.

The studio was built from the ground up, including the dimensions of
the rooms themselves, isolation and acoustic treatment, by the most
experienced and respected acoustician and studio builder in Quebec
(references available), who also sits as consultant in major comitees
in the audio industry, cinema and broadcasting. Most of the equipment
was either rebuilt or performance optimized by that same engineer, who
also performs regular calibration of the whole set-up, with Neutrik
latest measuring equipment. The general frequency response of the whole
system is considered as reasonably flat, by professional mastering
standards, both on the stereo and the 5.1 playback systems.

> And also of being convinced that 0dB is the holy grail of
> normalisation.

Reporting clipping has nothing to do with what you say.
On the other hand, if average levels can be anywhere the producer
chooses them to be, a practical knowledge of the used standards cannot
hurt. In the contemporary set-up, listeners use the same playback
system for films and music. It is reasonable to say that they are
entitled to a somewhat overall smooth listening experience, whether
they skip from chamber music to EA to a documentary. The film industry
took the lead in establishing a set of standards (for example, the
"dialNorm" metadata in the Dolby AC-3 format) that helps in that
regard. Any producer who decides to go for the "loud side" has at least
to be conscious that his product could be n times as loud as the
preceding one, in the course of the consumer's listening session, and
would probably want to act on the frequency domain accordingly.

> Are these all student pieces you're working on?

They are professional composers and teachers. Most of them hold
doctorates in EA and have consistently won prizes in international
competitions. They are also generally very gifted and creative.
Obviously I can't give names, but if you ask around, you will quickly
learn who they are.


- -

Dominique Bassal

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