Justin Perkins

Exploring the many benefits of this all-in-one mastering tool.

In this video, mastering engineer Justin Perkins discusses working with Steinberg WaveLab at his Mystery Room studio. Perkins’ background is in recording and mixing, including a stint at famed producer Butch Vig’s Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2009, he made the move to Milwaukee and shifted his focus to mastering.

In comparing the crafts, Justin points out that in mixing, “you have access to all the elements of the song and you can really paint a sonic soundscape. Mastering is [more of] a micro-art; it’s the art of attention to detail, to subtlety. It’s the art of knowing what not to do.”

“When I was transitioning from mixing and producing into mastering,” he adds, “I knew that I needed a special piece of software that wasn’t doing what my DAW was doing. Mastering [isn’t just] about stereo bus processing — there’s a whole lot of stuff that happens after it. So WaveLab was perfect for me, because it did all the things that my DAW couldn’t do: sequencing the songs, applying the processing that’s needed, working in all the different delivery formats. It’s a whole different world sending out master files for final distribution than it is just sending out stereo mixes for approval.”

Justin also appreciates the benefits that WaveLab brings to his workflow. “I know some people who have to use two or three different apps to do their mastering. WaveLab is designed to let you work just in one application for the entire process. For me, it creates an almost frictionless workflow where I’m almost not even thinking about the software anymore, which allows me more time to think about the music. It helps you stay in the zone and focus.”

“WaveLab really is an all-in-one mastering solution,” Perkins concludes. “It’s a really full-featured program, and it’s got such a special set of tools. If you’re serious about mastering — whether you’re a professional mastering engineer or a mix engineer that sometimes has to master your own projects — there’s really nothing like it.”

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