Dynamic Impact with Electronic Instruments?

Robert Katz Leave a Comment

I’ve just finished reading the updated version of Bob Katz’ – Mastering Audio book. One thing that caught my attention was when Bob makes the following statement in the context of a section about achieving dynamic impact (punch): “Does this mean that a punchy master can’t be produced from a MIDI’ed rhythm section based on 808 kick, synthesized sampled bass and sampled handclaps? Frankly, that’s an uphill climb, it requires a team of engineers with ability and knowledge, and it wouldn’t hurt to have at least one focused lead or rhythm line played on a standard instrument.” I’m wondering what other people out there make of this? Is there really a problem with their sound that can only be overcome by a ‘team’ of engineers? Is there an explanatory theory behind this statement? I’m not making any judgements here – just curious – what do you think?

Thanks for writing. That opinion of mine is based on years of experience and lots and lots of submissions for mastering, and comparing what we get versus recordings made with a larger portion of real instruments. Remember that many samples you use have been peak limited or compressed or inferior technology was used. If you make your own samples, combine real with artificial, and have good ears and talent, you can beat the reaper. I’m just saying that the odds are stacked against you.

Of the recordings I’ve heard, only a small percentage of totally sampled material makes the grade for dynamics and impact. So the deck is stacked against you.

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