Re: Mastering EA was French Touch

Subject: Re: Mastering EA was French Touch
From: Dominique Bassal (
Date: Sun Oct 30 2005 - 11:31:16 EST

Le 05-10-29, à 23:58, Kevin Austin a écrit :

> I think there are also a couple of discussions going on here, and the
> topic under discussion may not apply to works which are digital in
> synthesis, although Dominique may disagree.
> What if there is a (say) DX-7 piece that used the sounds directly from
> the DX-7 without any spectral processing or reverb, or an analog piece
> devoid of processing, does the 'mastering' process improve the signals
> that have come straight from the tone generators?

In the DX-7, as with about every commercial synthesizer, the output are
always colored in a way or another, to make them sound
"attrative-in-the-store" : EQ, some form of exciting, companding, etc.
In the rare cases where you had access to these and could at least
partially disable them, like in the D-50, the thing would sound
miserably. Otherwise, you were stuck with it. I made a number of pop
albums with the Synclavier, in the 80's - early 90's, and as more
tracks were recorded from it, the accentuation you would get from the
"embellishing" circuits would start to sound "additive". At some point,
counter-EQ had to be applied before the summing of the parts would be
annoyingly resonant. Needless to say, counter-EQ was only partially

So there is no real flatness to "respect" in these cases. Either the
composer was conscious of the coloration and tried to do something
about it (even at the synthesis level), and then we are dependent of
the possibly wrong indications his monitoring could have give him in
doing so, either he did nothing, and the sound is overly colored and
clustered, and mastering has to be applied...

Even with non-commercial synthesis, like Max, C-sound, etc, we have to
consider that the synthesis is performed while listening to speakers,
which again will deeply influence all decisions made. I had a long
experience with an expert Max programmer and teacher, who had to
completely re-think his patching strategies because had never
programmed in a "flat" environment before.

And even if synthesis is performed in a flat environment, there is
listening fatigue...


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Dominique Bassal

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