So, I’m currently mastering a track which, if you have any experience, you know can be an insane adventure. I’ve been mastering my own tracks for a couple years, but I’m only now attempting to learn how it actually works (got me a book an’ everythin’!). I recently downloaded a demo of Izotope Ozone which after 30 minutes already has my track louder and sounding better than after like a day of Mastering in my DAW, Ableton (yeah, I know… why would you ever master in Live…).
The thing is, mastering is way more technical than composing, arranging and general mixing. I’m scrubbing the rust off of the part of my brain that was at one time engaged for learning science (not that I was ever very good at it, mind you). But man, some of this shit flies higher over my head than Lindsay Lohan in a space shuttle.
While reading about the analog-modeling equalizer in Ozone, I came across the term phase artifacts. Guh? Ok, so the term artifacts in audio tends to refer to unwanted distortions or clippings that result from applying effects or maxing your signal. But phase? Phase in music and audio can refer to about 10 different things.
So I do a google search on phase artifacts. For fun, here are the top five reults:
Correction for interferometric synthetic aperture radar atmospheric phase artifacts using time series of zenith wet delay observations from a GPS network
Mitigation of tropospheric InSAR Phase artifacts through differential multisquint processing
Missing first points and phase artifact mutually entangled in FT NMR data—noniterative solution
Removal of phase artifacts from fMRI data using a Stockwell transform filter improves brain activity detection.
Although shade-off and halo patterns occur as a natural result of the phase contrast optical system, they are often referred to as phase artifacts or image distortions. In all forms of positive phase contrast, bright phase halos usually surround the boundaries between large specimen features and the medium.
I’m out of my league here people.
Seriously though, apparently none of these have to do with audio. I guess I’ll tool around and eventually realize that it’s some basic sonic concept given a fancy name. Music tech geeks are all about giving fancy names to things to make themselves feel more important.
Here a couple definitions while I’m at it:
DAW – Digital Audio Workstation = program for audio. That’s it. Calling Garageband or Logic or Protools a DAW is like calling Microsoft Word a Digital Word-Processing Workstation. Why not call iTunes a Digital Audio Listening-Station.
Processing = Doin’ stuff. Ya know, like digging lint out of your belly button is technically a process. I love when laptop musicians talk about “processing” audio:
“I’m applying some realtime processing to an incoming audio signal routed live into my DAW”
Translation: I just dropped reverb on my vocals.
Ok, well back to mastering. Oops, I mean um, applying a sonic revolution to my digital audio artifice.