SAS Mastering | Mastering Your Music Online

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SAS Mastering Mastering Your Music Online

Many bedroom producers master (or try to master) their own music and it can be a challenging task especially if you don’t have any first hand experience on mastering. There’s also a great risk that the whole mix will get ruined due to incorrect use of mastering plugins/tools. One solution for this is to hire a mastering engineer do the job using online mastering services. They are usually cost-effective and location independent thanks to the internet. Also, you don’t have to schedule a studio session unless you don’t want to.


You can find online mastering services via Google, but one worth trying is SAS Online Mastering (SAS is abbreviation from Safe And Sound) managed by a mastering engineer Barry Gardner. He has years of experience on audio engineering and has worked with such artists as Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones), Craig David, Lemar, The Coral, The Hoosiers, Chick Corea and many others. It’s also worth mentioning that Barry has been producing electronic music himself too.

SAS Mastering is using such gear as PMC IB1S (large format loudspeakers), Summit Audio DCL-200 (dual channel compressor/limiter), HCL VARiS Vari Mu (compressor/limiter), TC Electronic 2240HS analogue equalizer, custom analogue mastering equalizer, etc and the listening environment is full acoustically treated room for best possible response.

Below is a sound clip example before and after SAS mastering. It’s a trance song from a swedish producer Jesper Cederholm.

[audio:http://howtomakeelectronicmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/audio3/SAS-Mastering-Example-Jesper-Cederholm.mp3]

For more information, sound clips and pricing check out SAS Mastering website.

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14 Comments

  1. Max Golovanov on

    THX for info, Petri!

    It’s true – bedroom mastering is kind of a hard task (specially for those like me who don’t have that first hand experience) – so I think it is gonna be a good idea to try SAS!

    • I had a very bad experience using Barry’s services. Both myself and several of our artists were very unhappy with the masters provided and we had to go with a different company (Barry did however give us a full refund).

      This second company sent four tracks back to us. 3 of them were clipping and one of them had an overpowering mono stab that made getting a good master very difficult, they suggested approaching the artists to get these errors fixed.

      It’s all very well advertising your services as a mastering engineer but these are basic errors that I, as a paying customer (non engineer), paying for an “experienced mastering engineer” expect to be made aware of. In fact it’s precisely these sort of errors that a mastering engineer should pick up on, and precisely why I paid for the service in the first place!

      If he – in his very expensive monitoring environment – did not pick up on these issues then I can only assume he can’t be bothered to ensure high quality work comes out of his studio and is more concerned on a fast turnaround time.

      Very disappointing, I would look for alternative options.

      • Hi,

        Sorry to hear that. I don’t have any personal experience on using SAS Mastering as I try to “master” by my own so can’t say much about the quality.

  2. Barry Gardner on

    Interesting response, I have no record of a 3 track refund here and I always advise when there is clipping in a file. That is basic. As you are anonymous I will urge people interested to ignore your comment as anonymity affords people the ability to say anything they wish, they have nothing to lose. You could easily be my competition wishing to tarnish my enviable experience and reputation.

    Potential clients feel free preview from myself (always match perceived volumes of samples by ear, listen for depth, punch, transients and detail) I am convinced you will be pleased as is my large and constantly growing clientele.

    A free preview allows you to hear *your* track mastered (time permitting – I am usually very busy here).

    To help people understand the mastering process in detail have a look on this page it has a wealth of information for beginners and professionals alike:

    http://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/masteringfaq.html

    cheers

  3. Hi Barry,

    I have no need to hide my name. The refund I was referring to was for the Watchtower Records Vol.2 compilation album.

    You gave the refund on all tracks as they were unusable and unsuitable for release. You did not mention the clipping or stereo issues to us and when we raised the issue of quality with you you even had the cheek to ask that if we wanted them fixed then we would have to pay for for the entire release to be remastered.

    It was only after sending the tracks to this second company that we were made aware of these (as you’ve said yourself) basic oversights.

    I think you rely on the fact that some of your customers probably do their own mastering, may not be aware of what a good master should consist of and are impressed by your admittedly enviable outboard gear. However in this instance you were caught out.

    Disgraceful customer service, we felt very let down by the whole experience which was a shame because the first album you did for us sounded very good.

  4. Barry Gardner on

    ‘ the first album you did for us sounded very good.’

    It did, I agree it sounds really good as I was allowed to best serve the music, a free hand so to speak. You requested the second album to be louder and did not like the results of the masters delivered which were competitive in level to others in the genre. I provided a full refund rather than provide new masters in what was an exceedingly busy period. This decision was made to save both parties time and further inconvenience.

    ‘You gave the refund on all tracks as they were unusable and unsuitable for release’

    This is your opinion as you say yourself ‘as a paying customer (non engineer)’ and some of the artists opinions on their specific tracks after you instructed me to make them loud, relative to a collection of disparate and widely varying tracks both tonally and in terms of transient content and perceived volume.

    “3 of them were clipping and one of them had an overpowering mono stab that made getting a good master very difficult”

    I cannot confirm whether they were clipping or not as the project is deleted.

    ‘Mono stab being overpowering’ is a matter of taste and opinion.

    It is not the job of a mastering engineer to critique mixes unless they have been specifically requested to do so, you did not request mix critique. A mastering engineer must be careful not to second guess an artists taste and artistic choices in their productions. I provide mix feedback daily to clients when asked and make judgement as to whether a track will be impeded by any given element if not specifically asked and respond accordingly.

    I am sorry you still feel disappointed that I did not provide good service on your second job despite the very good first album and a full refund. Being successful in professional mastering means encountering many types of project and with such volume it is inevitable that on rare occasion one or 2 will not proceed as smoothly as both parties would like. Fortunately this is a rare occurrence.

    I am pleased you found a studio that satisfied your specific needs and that you are fully happy with the end results, It would be nice if you can link to the end results of project 1 vs project 2 and people can make their own mind up about which sounds best as there is undoubtedly an element of subjective taste.

    All the best with your future label projects.

    cheers

  5. Mark Skeete on

    I get my tunes mastered at this studio and have had nothing but good
    results and service. I personally recommend him wholeheartedly.

  6. Dieter Grünwald on

    Also I have good quality from this master studio, it must be misunderstanding, my musik always comes back sounding deep, always good kommunication and better sound.

  7. Hello Petri.I just wanted to say that I feel like the comments from the guy complaining about SAS services should be hidden or removed as it could be damaging to the reputation of this actually very reputable engineer. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews, and this complaint is clearly misleading and subjective.

  8. Steven G on

    While I love information this website provides (I’m a beginner in music making), I don’t like articles that come across as advertisements such as this one. Would love to have instead read up on some Mix Mastering DIY tips. Just my two cents.

      • Steven G on

        My fault. I hit the back button and scrolled down one more and came across you providing links to some mastering, mixdowns, and song arrangements. They were great reads and I’ve enjoyed reading all the stuff you’ve personally wrote so far, Petri. Big thanks to putting information out there that you would never have to share otherwise. Keep doing what you are doing! My last comment didn’t even need to be said other than just some cruddy feedback but I’ll avoid that needlessness in the future. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some learning to do :]

  9. I’ve used Barry (SOS mastering) a number of times now. I can not fault the service at all. Barry is very responsive and helpful and the quality of work is outstanding. I have most ‘in the box’ mastering software suites including Ozone 6 and I can’t get anywhere near the level he provides.

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