Mastering is one of those corners of pro audio that everyone knows about, but doesn’t necessarily know what it truly entails. Shedding some light on the subject is Evren Göknar’s new book, Major Label Mastering: Professional Mastering Process (Focal Press/Routledge; $42.95), which breaks the topic down into understandable concepts and actionable steps that can be grasped by everyone, whether they’re students, musicians or fellow pros.
Göknar knows from whence he speaks—a Grammy winner, he’s worked more than 25 years in the mastering field, spending much of that time at Capitol Studios where he mastered everyone from Mariah Carey to the Beastie Boys in addition to putting his talents to work for TV shows like The Voice. During that time, Göknar developed the centerpiece of his book, The Five Step Mastering Process—a thorough system of considerations and procedures for crafting and implementing a mastering game plan will best serve the music. Readily acknowledging that there can be as many subjective assessments to be made (“Does this approach fit the genre?”) as there are technical ones, Göknar finds ways to help readers determine what’s necessary and bring quantifiable logic to more nebulous parts of the process.
That said, there’s plenty of straight-forward ‘how-to’ content, from best practices for documentation, to equipment sequencing, to a go-to section on advanced mastering chain tools and techniques. The book is also filled with cool gear photos, informative screenshots, useful illustrations, documentation examples and more, providing additional clarity and insight. Whether a budding engineer or a seasoned pro, readers will come away from Major Label Mastering with far greater understanding and appreciation for the newly demystified process of mastering.
Routledge • www.routledge.com