sitting on a goldmine / landmine

Diamond Girl photo of a Banksy pieceFinal mastering for Somewhere Between (Heaven & Sorrow) was finished (to be candid) long ago, by the talented and personable Brian Hazard of Resonance Mastering. Our paths had crossed several times; I was already a fan of his work on some albums in my collection, so connecting was natural. And now, after the work, he remains a terrific resource to follow around the ‘net.

With mastering comes the final decision on how loud to make the music sound. We could push these mixes to match screaming radio hits, but so doing means mercilessly crushing down all of the short, exciting micro-spikes of sound. That’s a trend. Many think it a horrible, garish, fatiguing trend…

Fortunately the first pass Brian delivered was nothing like that. The result is loud enough that you won’t want to reach for a volume knob when one of these songs comes on, but you’ll still experience the contrast of a quiet shimmer between stabs. It’s a physical & emotional component that I had to preserve.

The brilliant part is: if you want even more of that sound (and you’re willing to put forth the effort to turn up the volume) you’ll be able to choose an entirely different final master of the album with even greater dynamic contrast. What you get is the kind of sound you can turn up in your headphones and disappear into the song. This will be the “diamond mine” version, because “audiophile” is just too insulting.

I’ve never seen this done before, but since there’s no additional manufacturing requirement in offering both versions for download you get a choice. And to take it a step further, the diamond version will be offered in a format that’s higher-quality than CDs support; specifically 96khz, 24 bit lossless files. I’m excited to see if this delights or confuses everyone. Questions? Please ask here, or on Twitter or Facebook.