Audio Nightlife: Scenes from “Demystifying Mastering” at FLUX

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FLUX Studios and a Friday night proved to be a killer combination once again, as the “Demystifying Mastering” event went down last week.

Colorful things seem to happen on Fridays at FLUX.

A full house of producers, engineers, mixers, artists and – of course – mastering engineers kicked off their weekend with knowledge and networking at the always-buzzing East Village recording/mixing facility.

The center of attention was top NYC mastering engineer Dave Kutch of the Mastering Palace, who led a clinic presented by Dangerous Music, Manley, Focal Professional, and Alto NYC.

Kutch’s presentation in FLUX’s “Dangerous” live room captivated the crowd’s attention, as he shared the considerable wisdom he’s gained in mastering for the likes of Alicia Keys, The Roots, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, MNDR, Natasha Bedingfield, and many more.

In addition to covering advanced mastering techniques such as mid-side processing and parallel processing, Kutch went over file labeling protocols, gave career/life advice (“Hang out with people smarter than yourself!”) and fielded some high-quality questions from the crowd.

In the meantime, demos of Dangerous, Focal, and Manley gear went down in the artfully appointed “Fabulous” suite. And as per FLUX’s most hospitable tradition, champagne and snacks fueled musical conversations before, during and after in the lounge and on the roof.

Check out Kutch’s essential segment on mid-side mastering techniques.

For dance music producer Matt Verzola, “Demystifying Mastering” was a highly informative experience. “I’m doing my own mastering on my dance tracks,” he noted, “so when this clinic came up I said, ‘I’d love to hear more about how the real pros do it.’ I really liked how open Dave was – he wasn’t keeping any secrets. He explained how he’ll use parallel compression for mastering, for instance, which I never thought to do.

“Dave offered up a lot of good resources to go to later, and the crowd was really good,” Verzola continues. “I think only people that understand what mastering is were there, so there weren’t any questions that weren’t great. It was a really good forum.”

Also in the audience was Heba Kadry, Mastering Engineer/Project Coordinator at The Lodge, who was more than happy to learn from one of their accomplished colleagues. “It’s terrific to have someone like Dave Kutch – with all his experience – demonstrate some material pre- and post-mastering, and illustrate the difference that mastering can make on your record,” she said. “He showed the progression of mastering over the years, and talked about the best way for mixers to approach their mixes with the mentality that the material will be mastered later on.

“Just beyond the geek talk, its great to get out of your studio bubble and see what other people are doing in a relaxing environment,” Kadry adds. “FLUX is a great studio. It’s really fun to talk to people and see what they’re doing.”

Now see more for yourself! (BTW, SonicScoop, FLUX, and our friends will be holding more audio-centric events throughout 2012 — if you want to be notified about future happenings, drop us a line at with the word “events” in the subject line. Thanks! See you soon.)

Dope On Arrival: Jason Finkel and Rick Kwan

Dave Kutch of the Mastering Palace led the clinic.

A masterful class was on hand in FLUX’s “Dangerous” live room.

The mastering rack was packed with all things Dangerous and Manley.

(l-r) Producer/Engineer Andy Baldwin and Simon Cote of Focal Professional, with the Focal SM9 making its NYC debut.

Marek Stycos manned the demos in the “Fabulous” room.

Visitors could choose their audio weapon from this rigteous rack.

The amazing Neve 5465 54 16 channel console and Dangerous Monitor ST-SR in harmony, in “Fabulous”.

Spatial relations: Focal defined the stereo image in each room.

After the clinic, Dave Kutch kept fielding questions.

(l-r) Simon Cote, Bob Muller of Dangerous Music, and Dave Kutch

Alto NYC was most assuredly, without a shadow of a smidgen of a hair of a fraction of a single solitary doubt — in the house!!!

The phun starts to expand outward like the Virgo Supercluster!

(l-r) Heba Kadry and Matt Verzola

Looks like Jason and Rick made it safely upstairs. Good job guys!

STYLE…was in style.

(l-r) Andrew Sheron and dance music producer Izumi Takagi.

Trrriple trrrouble in the “Dangerous” control room!

Go Panthers! SUNY Purchase REPRESENT!!!!

(l-r) Andrew Maury and Michael Duncan. Their eyes don’t usually glow demon-red, BTW. Just that particular night. At that particular moment.

Calm before the swarm: The inimitable FLUX roof awaits the after-party.

International winner of the 2012 “Flowers in a Hollowed-Out Rhodes” competition!

Kick it from all angles…

…then close out the night with tunes on top.

Text by David Weiss, photos by Janice Brown and David Weiss




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