Beware of Mixers that say they can master
Beware of mixers out there that say they can master music. If you run into one of these guys do yourself a favor and wave a big fat Bullshit flag in his face. So naive are some of these individuals they consider themselves a professional grade mastering engineer simply because theyíve been doing it wrong for decades for hundreds of bands Ė this does not equate to industry standard. But even if your mixer did know how to master music, which is extremely rare the mixer should not master the music anyway. Here's why - A fresh pair of ears can be the biggest difference between a good-sounding CD and a great one. A real advantage during this critical post production process is the presence of an unbiased sound professional that will have an opportunity to evaluate your recordings and determine how to get the most out of them in the end. You could write a book on what this last sentence entails. After you and your studio engineer, or mixer have spent weeks, months, maybe even years in a recording studio listening to your songs over and over again, a fresh pair of ears can be the best thing that can put it all into perspective.
The impact this will have on your final production is often times overlooked and grossly underestimated. Generally Itís a big ďno noĒ to have your mixer master your music. Iím sure there are rare exceptions out there, but titís not the clear consensus. To the skeptics I say Ė true there have been decent CDís done this way, but you will find 90% of them failed to meet there full potential. The mastering engineer is an experienced professional who lets you know what needs to be tweaked to achieve the best, finalized, optimized sound possible for your music. This is exactly why the Mixer should never be the Master.
The bottom line Ė the more professionals you have working on your production the more perspective you will get. Having said that generally itís never a good idea to have your Studio Engineer mix the music, or have your mixing engineer master the music. If all the above is from one individual then it is more than likely a greedy attempt to stroke all your cash as your heading out the door. So do yourself a big favor, have each phase of your production assigned to a different professional. Trust me you will not regret what the final product will sound like. Besides itís how the pros do it.
I asked Rick Fisher a top Mastering Engineer in particular why the mixer never be the master? Do you know what he said? "Because he already knows where all the dead bodies are buried." I couldnít have said it better myself.