[CASE STUDY] How to create solid foundations for successful sessions.



Name: Kevan Atkins
Project Relationship
Mix Engineer


Project Name: Lullabies
Project Format: EP
Artist Name/s: Kevan Atkins
Song Name/s
Grane Meditation
Awake In The Other
Love Poem
Genre/s: Long form, electro-acoustic
Service: Mastering
Deadline: 30th Aptil

Every now and then I hear or read online about people left with a bitter taste after having their record mixed or mastered. Often the service providers they've employed seem to be reputable or reasonable facilities, with good experience and proven previous results. What is causing this discontent with the final product these people are receiving? Personally, I believe a common shortfall in the world of audio services is COMMUNICATION. The ability to articulate the needs and wants of a product to an engineer, and for the engineer to seek and make note of these before commencing any work.

On a day to day basis, my inbox receives emails coupled with ambiguous goals and unclear objectives from prospective clients, enquiring about mixing and mastering services. Terms like louder, professional, clean and improve usually take the limelight of these inquiries. Make no judgment here, they've got the right intentions for their music seeking out professional services, they're excited about their music and presenting it in the best possible fashion to their audience. In both parties interests, the dialogue must be developed. Brains need to be picked in order to establish a solid understanding of goals and anticipations. I often facilitate this liaising via email, skype, phone calls or even one-on-one meetings at my studio before any session is booked. By doing so everyone is put on the same page, we both understand and develop a scope of the project and the possibilities, constraints, and assets that lie within.

I have mind mapped the information I collect before a session and use. I have also included a case study of one of my clients, Kevan Atkins, for you to see how it may be used for your own purposes. This brief template isn't mastering specific, it can be adapted to any creative project to help inform/guide you to completion.

What are the projects goals with the service that is being provided?

Tidy up the inconsistencies and translations that Kevan hasn't been able to attend to in his own space due to the constraints of his monitoring system. Most notably some of the sub frequencies poking out and high-mid resonances coming from the lead synths/sound design. 
Balance the timbre between the 4 tracks for seamless and cohesive playback for the listener.
Create production ready masters for digital dissemination on iTunes, Spotify and potentially Blue-ray.

How does this music lend itself to being presented to the listener?

This music is very textural, detailed and long in format, 4 songs, total playing time, 3 hours. It lends itself towards a very dynamic master that offers tension and release to the listeners experience. Not overwhelming them with a very forward or compressed presentation, but an open and dynamically moving one.

What are the traits/assets of the music?

The assets of the mixes are their sense of depth and evolution. They showcase a balance of frequencies from the deepest subs to the airiest highs. Allowing the spectrum of textures and frequencies to shine consistently throughout the EP will really add to the listeners experience.

Are there any shortcomings or concerns of the music?

There are some inconsistencies/resonances throughout each track in the high mids. As well as some of the tracks bottom end moving around a little bit in presence.

This is something that has to be attended to in order to keep the listener engaged with the musical motifs.

What medium is this being published?

Digitally, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify
Possibility for Blueray

Nicholas Di Lorenzo