Q: What is mastering?

A: Simply, it is treating your final mixes for optimal playback on any given system. This process sometimes involves various compression, equalization and limiting. Mastering is the last stage before duplication. Often misunderstood, mastering can make a great project reach it's greatest potential.

Q: Are there any tips for prepping my final mixes?

A: Yes, if you are unsure about using a compressor across your mix buss, don't. We can always easily add the right compression, where removing heavy compression and limiting can be difficult, if not impossible. If you're using digital, never pin the meters. Leave space for the punch to be maintained. Gain can always be added. Shoot to peak at -3dbfs. on your meters.

Q: If I'm not attending my mastering session, what format should I use when I send in my mix, and where should I send it?

A: First of all, don't get hung up on formats. Use what you think sounds good and are comfortable with. We prefer to receive 24-bit AIFF, BWV or SDII data files. 96, 88.2, 48 or 44.1 kHz is fine. We can always sample down. Data files can be burned onto CD-R or DVD-R. Good old audio CDs will work, too. Discs can be mailed to our secure P.O. Box. Proof and final verified error-free master discs can be mailed back or picked up. Uploading your mixes to a secure FTP site can also be arranged. We also accept 1/4" stereo reels at 15/7.5/3.75 ips with dbx Type II NR or no noise reduction. For smooth sailing, please properly label all of your masters.

Q: Rich is listed as a Mastering Engineer/Producer. That's an uncommon combination. How does he do both?

A: Rich - Good question. I don't master everything I produce, and I don't produce everything I master. And on the projects I do produce and/or mix and master, I build some "time off" into the timeline of the project to regain objectivity before I go into master. Also I've always mastered in a dedicated mastering environment. Never master in a mix room. I mix in my mix room, take time off, then master in my mastering room. And that time off is key. I won't turn around and start mastering the project right away. Sometimes it's a couple of days, sometimes more. As with Yin/Yang, there is a balance.

Q: Why should I hire Rich as my producer/co-producer?

A: Rich - I'm a songwriter. Like many, I've been writing my own music for over two decades. I love to experience the miracle of getting from the heart onto the tape. Not always an easy journey, but a worthwhile one. It's all about the song. The song is king!!

I'm a musician. Like my clients, I've played in bands and have my own. This has allowed me to truly understand what occurs while creating art with a group of people. I can usually relate to every person in a band, because I usually have some experience in playing that particular instrument. I can understand where the guitar player is coming from, because I play guitar. I can communicate with a singer, because I sing. And as a solo artist, I can relate to that person as well.

I'm an engineer. I know how to get great sounds, and get them fast. I know my gear very well, not to let a creative moment slip away. I've been a recording engineer for quite some time, so the technical aspect of recording is second nature. I tune drums, which makes for professional drum sounds. Not having to spend a long time copping sounds, allows me to focus on the song and the musicians. And when it comes to mix, because I play several instruments, my mixes are balanced. I don't favor any given instrument, unless it's intentional. (winks)

I'm a cheerleader/psychologist. I need a set of pom poms and a notepad. (laughs) I believe in having a totally comfortable, creative atmosphere. An artist has to be free enough to record their best performance.

Q: Where are you located?

A: Purple Pig Sound is located in Union, New Jersey, which is close to several major roadways and about 30 minutes away from NYC.

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