Colorado Daily Columnist

Duncan Taylor

Duncan Taylor writes Audio File, which prints in the Colorado Daily every Friday.

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The art of mastering is an art of confidence, and of knowing when to reject something and suggest starting over. 
In a world with computer-based mixing, I think there is too little attention paid to the “absolute phase” of the tracks, relative to each other.
“He’s just going through a phase right now.” “The moon is in a waxing gibbous phase right now.” “Fire phasers and photon torpedoes!”
Inhabiting the desks of late night talk show hosts, and lowering from the ceiling on a pulley during boxing matches, the ribbon microphone has an iconic look and a rich legacy throughout the history of recorded sound. 
The vocals were fine, but the sound from the guitar was predictably flat and lifeless, and even body slaps with his fingers didn’t hit like they should.
“Watch where you point that thing,” I said with a wink to the banjo player in a local bluegrass group, as they each took their places around the stereo microphone array I had set up.
“It was nice to get to know you,” is a phrase we might use in place of, “This was a pleasant interaction,” so we don’t seem like a robot when we meet someone. 
The microphone and the room. The room and the microphone. I started this series on recording talking about this interaction, because I think it’s the most important.
Finding the right analogy to explain an audio concept can be hard, but I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t draw a parallel with cars on these pages.
Nothing lights up the eyes of your special musician friend or recording artist like seeing little boxes with tons of spinning knobs and meters and LEDs and such under the tree.