Pro Audio Files

Increase Your Income Improve Your Mixes

Inside the Box – Part 3: Pre-Mastering with Sylvia Massy

Mastering engineers that I use generally will listen very carefully to what I give them. They will give it a light touch where it’s needed. They’ll add just a little sparkle on the top, and to tighten up the low. There’s not a lot more compression they’re going to need to add, because I do a lot of that when I mix.

I like to do some pre-mastering when I mix. I will always use a stereo buss EQ. Usually, a GML 8200 and a really good quality stereo buss compressor, and in the past, I’ve had a Fairchild 670, and that is my go-to. That is the glue, and when you put your mix through something like a Fairchild, all of a sudden, it sounds like a record.

Today, when I do digital mixing, the choice of the software that I use on the stereo buss is most important of anything in the session. That’s where the iZotope Ozone software is so good, because it gives you limiting, it gives you equalization, it gives you compression, and it gives you character, plus it has presets that are really useful genre specific presets. Greg Calbi presets. Presets for depth and clarity to get certain things out of your mixes.


When I hand a mix to a client, or send it to them, I want it to jump right out of their speakers. For that reason, I spend a little time on the stereo buss brightening up the top and tightening up the bottom, and maybe scooping a little bit out of the middle, and I use a stereo buss compressor also to push the levels and just to make sure that it really hits.

The big difference between my type of pre-mastering and mastering is that there’s always some finishing to do. You’re limited by your monitoring. A mastering engineer is going to have very high end set of monitors, where they can hear that entire spectrum that maybe I won’t be able to hear.

It’s also the environment that they’re in, it’s a tuned environment. I have so much work that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get it all done, and I love my work. I am blessed every day to be able to do this. It’s like being an artist. When I started out, I was a painter. I still do paint, but I found a way to use audio as my palette. The idea of being able to do this is just the best job in the world.




Our friends at iZotope develop award-winning audio software and plugins for mixing, mastering, restoration and more. These are some of their great videos that we're currently featuring on The Pro Audio Files.

Free Video on Mixing Low End

Download a FREE 40-minute tutorial from Matthew Weiss on mixing low end.

Powered by ConvertKit
/> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> />