AUS230 – week 13 – Mastering

This week I had my first attempt at mastering.

The piece I chose to master is an excerpt from a brilliant electronic composition album ‘Epic’ by my good friend Phillip Garbé. The work itself is rather special because most of it was legitimately composed by hand on manuscript and masterfully produced over hundreds of hours in Fruity Loops, despite Phil having no real experience with music production. Everything is done with careful intent and I am fortunate enough to be one of only a handful of people who’s actually heard it. I am also fortunate enough to have his original hand written scores and am custodian of the only surviving 44.1kHz/16 bit original CD.

I had some mastering notes from the composer to try to adhere to:

The ‘slams’ at the beginning of Epic need to be understood in context of the title which should be pretty evident. “Dreaming of Dreaming” and then “Dreaming”. What’s the dream? Everything! The whole universe.
The slams are a cataclysmic, stellar, universal blasts of cosmic thunder. It’s the beginning of all things. Less like the Big Bang than the subtle rumours of the universe’s (a child’s) heartbeat.
The rest is the starry, glittery nature of the dream and that should be factored in on a visual and sublime level. There are also ‘notes’ of disjunct hits that are arbitrary at best near the start of track 01. These are intentional. The dream isn’t comfortable.
It’s a dream that falls into another dream. Inception-like (although gotta mention that I called it first).


The first challange was getting any audio off the disc. Unfortunately the disc itself is quite old and not in the best condition. It plays fine on a regular CD player, albeit with some minor skipping and occasional crackle, but it was an absolute nightmare trying to read it through a high speed DVD drive and I spent close to 2 hours trying to get any usable audio.

In the end, I managed to get the first 5 minutes off the album, compiled from the workable portions from several rip attempts.

I had to do some repair work removing some clicks and pops using izotope RX4 declicker. This was fairly straightforward and worked well for everything except the very end when the DVD drive crapped itself. This called for a creative manual fade out using the mastering backbone.

For the mastering itself, I added some very light sparkle to the top end and gently cut some low mids to give it a bit of space. I then added some sub bass through the the MaxxBCL maxxbass to give the slams at the start a lot of impact – The room should be shaking.

I would’ve liked to spend some more time with it, but due to the import issues this was not possible during my session. Overall, I’m happy with it as a first attempt, but things can always improve with more practice.

AUS230 – week 12 – The Odd Sock

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Backup Update



4 days later, we are almost done.

This was USB->USB @ ~15MBps

Had this been all on the cloud, it would’ve taken WEEKS. Even though I’d eventually get all my data back, I’d still miss deadlines.I shudder to think what the future holds without significant investment in our national IT infrastructure.

What we really need is some kind of Network, a National Network, a National Network of Broadband.

Bring on the NNB!!!!!

AUS230 week 10 – The Odd Sock – Atmos

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Public Service Announcement: Backup now!!!!

This is a timely reminder to make sure all your important stuff is backed up.

I came home this evening to find my D:\ drive missing.
D:\ is home to most of my working production files, Dropbox, Google Drive , and Steam library – most of which can be re-downloaded but it’s a total pain in the ass due to severe lack of NBN.

Upon reboot, there was no sign of life from the drive in the bios.

After an emergency extraction, said drive was put immediately into USB care. The initial prognosis was DOA. However, after some expletive-laden gentle persuasion/bashing with screwdriver, an incredibly unhealthy sounding spindle motor sputtered back to life and is now undergoing emergency data migration  to a new drive with great prejudice.

I am VERY glad I purchased a dual bay dock.











20GB / 2TB safely across. This is going to be a long night.



AUS230 – week 9 – Ssnnd frr Intrstlllr (Sound for Intersterllar)

This week we took a look at scenes from Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”.

The discussion centred around widespread complaints regarding the audio quality in the cinema release. Some cinemas apparently put up signs that they would not be offering refunds for any complaints regarding the sound quality of Interstellar.

I was unaware of any such criticism, having seen the movie in the cinema. In fairness, I don’t think I’d be able to tell, as the only seats available for the session I saw was in the front row, first seats on the left, pressed up against the screen.

Apparently the bulk of the complaints were about the audibility of dialogue. From the scenes we watched in class, I could understand what they were referring to, which I believe came down to a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, Matthew McConaughey does not have the clearest diction to begin with, and tends to mumble in an attempt to create emotion and sensitivity. This, coupled with what seems like a lot of close micing tends to obscure his lines, which often plays second-fiddle to Hans Zimmer’s epic orchestral score. This was demonstrated on the porch scene with Michael Caine, which was drowned out by the foreshadowing of the musical cues leading up to the rocket launch.

This was further reiterated in later scenes set in outer space, where it sounds like the dialogue was recorded from mics inside the space-helmets, which I speculate was intentional to create a realistic sense of the character’s  perspective within the scenes.

Overall, I think a lot of excellent creative choices were lost on the uneducated audience who were under the assumption they were going to see a “Woo!!!! Rocketships!!!!! KABOOM!!!!” kind of film, rather than the well crafted, artistic masterpiece that Interstellar ultimately is.





AUS230 Week 7 – Theme music. 

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