White Noise Studio, Winterswijk

Sound Years – Michel Banabila – Mastering

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Sound Years – Michel Banabila

Sound Years by Michel Banabila is a compilation of released and unreleased music Michel composed over the last few years. He mixed it to be 2 large ”grandmixes” for vinyl release and it was mastered at White Noise Studio.
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Michel Banabila – Sound Years

2016 ℗ Tapu Records / 020TR
Released February 2 2017.
Bandcamp: https://banabila.bandcamp.com/album/sound-years-12-vinyl-lp
Mastered November 2016[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Marlon Wolterink:

Preparing for mastering:

Michel told me this album was meant to be released as a vinyl and on digital online. This meant a vinyl master was also needed. The total length of one side (19.08) was going to be tricky to have it sounding good for  transferring to vinyl so Michel made sure he chose a heavy quality for vinyl. I made sure the vinyl master would be 100% optimized for long length. More on that later.

Sound Years Mastering:

I started out with the digital version of the mastering first. Reason for this is the adjustments for vinyl I think are more easily done on a digital master than the other way around.
By having 2 tracks of 16 and 19 minutes long I had to make sure sound changes within the tracks were natural and even sounding.

To achieve this I first started out by splitting the audio into 2 bands. A band for bass only and a frequency band for the frequencies above the bass. The crossover point between the 2 bands was were I heard the most bass buildup so that region was reduced automatically. The bass part was gain rided musically to give the impression of a pretty even bass.

After that the higher frequency band was adjusted. The individual frequencies which needed attention for being a bit off balance were adjusted.  An eq was heavily automated , changing frequencies, Q, and it’s gain were needed. This resulted in a balanced soundfield.
I felt a bit of mastering reverb was in place to add a bit of space. The reverb for the low end was done by duplicating the low band, making it a bit less wide, eq-ing it and adding reverb. This reverb track was then added in slighty to enhance the low end.

The higher band received a bit of reverb too and I made sure the mid/side balance was in check by reducing the overall sides a little. A mid/side eq boosted the lower mids of the sides a bit.
The version I got after this was used for the digital and vinyl versions.

Sound Years Digital and Vinyl masters:

So by now I had the pre final versions. First I made sure I got the digital versions, also to have them checked by Michel for comments and adjustments.
The final digital version adjustments consisted of limiting for available headroom, adding some sub low and high end and widening the stereofield a bit. Michel received these masters and after make some adjustments ( we’re talking about taste changes here) these were done. This digital master served as template for the vinyl masters.

The vinyl master was mastered a bit differently to translate onto vinyl. The differences were the loudness, the added hi and low frequencies and especially the mid side balance. I had to make sure , especially on side a, that the vinyl master wouldn’t have the recordplayer’s needle jump out of the track with having such a lengthy track for vinyl. I constantly adjusted the  mid and side balance to have a good stereo width and a safe side signal volume. After this some higher mid frequencies were reduced to have the vinyl master sounding optimal.

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