My name is Chris and I'm the mastering engineer at Decoder Mastering and specialised in dance music. My goal is to make your track ready for release with customer satisfaction as the first priority. I can do a mix review first and offer two revisions for each track. I'm confident that we're going to book great results.
Besides mastering I have years of experience in producing dance music (more specifically techno) and have released tracks on some great labels in the industry, like DJ Rush's Kne'Deep, Dynamic Reflection and Gynoid Audio. Because I'm highly obsessed with getting tracks sounding as good as possible, I started my own mastering studio, Decoder Mastering.
Decoder Mastering offers music mastering services from the North of The Netherlands. For mastering a hybrid approach is used, guaranteeing the benefits and sound of an analog chain together with the best digital plugins for surgical operations. The studio has been designed and built by a professional architectural and electro-acoustic designer. It is acoustically balanced to ensure the studio monitors are "telling the truth", something that is often a problem in typical home production studios.
Besides the proper environment and hardware, a fresh and objective ear is a great benefit of using a mastering engineer opposed to mastering your music yourself. You probably listened to your tracks to death and your ears are biased by a certain sound. Decoder Mastering checks your music, and can advise about your mix before giving it that final touch it might need.
I'm looking forward to your music!
Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.
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Interview with Decoder Mastering
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Analog because it can take away the sterile sound of digitally produced tracks a bit, and because of the hands-on experience with gear and knobs. Digital because of the surgical operations you can do, and the benefits of look-ahead processing during limiting for instance.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That we'll get the result they always wanted for their music.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: The ability to help people with their tracks and at the same time getting to listen so much great music.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: There are two misconceptions. One is that mastering is some sort of magic by people with golden ears. It's not magic by any means. The second is that mastering is an exact science that will always lead to the same result. Mastering is not science, it's an art (although some principles of mastering are fed by science of course). A master from engineer A will always sound different that a master from engineer B.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I'm always curious which sound the client is looking for. Reference tracks can be of great help to let the client explain what the masters should sound like, so I might ask for those.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Choose your sounds wisely. Listen for quality sounds (either samples, or synth patches etc). If you have to EQ a sound to death to make it sound good, or to make it fit in the mix, it's not the right sound.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Mostly dance music. I master a lot of techno and acid, but also chill and tech house for instance. I'm open for anything.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Listening very good to what's needed. The most important thing in mastering is "don't fix things when they aren't broken". So a great mix might need nothing. Everything you do in mastering is destructive by nature, so you have to keep it at a minimum.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: That totally depends on the song, but the overall goal is always to make it sound as good as possible. For instance, if there's ringing frequencies, they get tamed. If the sound is too dull, it gets a bit of air in the top end. It all depends.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When I receive the tracks, I load them into my mastering DAW, put them into sequence, gain stage them and I start listening all the tracks to check what they might need, or if there's something that might need a fix in the mix first before starting the mastering process. If all tracks are good for mastering, I master them one by one and do what's needed to make them sound as good as possible. I then balance the volumes across all tracks (in case of an EP for instance) and render them to the master files, typically 16bit 44KHz WAV files, but other formats are possible of course
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: The studio itself has been designed and built by a professional architectural and electro-acoustic designer who also builds studios and speakers for the large names in the EDM industry like Armin van Buuren. It is acoustically balanced to ensure the studio monitors are "telling the truth", which is crucial in mastering. The monitoring speakers are the Neumann KH310A speakers, which are very neutral (flat) sounding speakers with a great low end. They are fed by a Lynx Hilo A/D D/A converter system, which is one of the most transparent converters on the market. The Hilo also sends and receives the signal of the analog chain, consisting of analog equalizers and an analog compressor.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Quite a lot! But as I'm deeply into techno, I think guys like Luke Slater, Regis, Developer, Gary Beck have a consistent quality output.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I master dance music (could be anything from chill to acid or techno) for clients, mainly for online platforms. I make sure that all the tracks of an EP are in balance with each other (in sound and volume) and that each track sound as good as it possibly can. I run the music through analog EQ's and a compressor if needed, and through high end digital processing.