1st Edition

Major Label Mastering Professional Mastering Process

By Evren Göknar Copyright 2020
    208 Pages 74 Color & 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    208 Pages 74 Color & 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    208 Pages 74 Color & 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Focal Press

    Major Label Mastering: Professional Mastering Process distills 25 years of mastering experience at Capitol Records into practical understandings and reliable systems. Containing unparalleled insights, this book reveals the mastering tricks and techniques used by Evren Göknar at one of the world’s most notable record labels.

    Beginning with the requisite competencies every Mastering Engineer must develop, Major Label Mastering delves into the particulars of the mastering studio, as well as fundamental mastering tools. Included among these tools is The Five Step Mastering Process, a rigorously tested system that equips the practitioner to successfully and confidently master a project to exacting standards of audio fidelity. Covering all bases, the book discusses both macro and micro considerations: from mindset approach and connecting with clients down to detailed guidelines for processing audio, advanced methods, and audio restoration. Each chapter ends with exercises intended to deepen understanding and skill, or to supplement course study.

    Suitable for all levels, this is a unique resource for students, artists, and recording and Mastering Engineers alike. Major Label Mastering is supplemented by digital resources including audio examples and video tutorials.


    PART I: The Key Competencies and Understandings of a Mastering Engineer

    Chapter I. The Mastering Engineer

    Chapter II. Listening Experience: The Mastering Engineer’s Primary Concern

    PART II: The Mastering Studio and Fundamental Mastering Tools

    Chapter III. The Mastering Studio

    Chapter IV. Fundamental Mastering Tools and The Primary Colors of Mastering

    PART III: Professional Mastering Process: The Five Step Mastering Process

    Chapter V. Step I: Objective Assessment

    Chapter VI. Step II: Subjective Assessment

    Chapter VII. Step III: The Mastering Game Plan

    Chapter VIII. Step IV: Assembly – Links in a Chain

    Chapter IX. Step V: Delivery – Generate The Master

    PART IV – Professional Mastering Process – Macro Considerations

    Chapter X. Before Beginning a Mastering Project

    Chapter XI. The Inner Game: Mindset Approaches For Mastering

    Chapter XII. Session-Saving Mastering Secrets

    PART V: Professional Mastering Process – Micro Considerations

    Chapter XIII. General Guidelines for Processing Audio

    Chapter XIV. Advanced Mastering Chain Tools and Techniques

    Chapter XV. Mid-Side (M/S): An Elixir of Mastering Hope

    Chapter XVI. In-The-Box Considerations

    Chapter XVII. De-noising / Audio Restoration (Out, Damned Spot!)

    Chapter XVIII. Conclusion and Summary


    Evren Göknar is a Grammy® Award-winning Mastering Engineer who has been employed at Capitol Studios in Hollywood for 25 years. His work is sought after worldwide, with his mastering credits including legendary recordings and artists ranging from Mariah Carey to KISS, along with hit television shows The Voice and Songland.

    "Absolutely essential for anyone seriously considering any aspect of mastering as their passion or career choice […] this is an under-the-hood approach which anyone involved in mastering can use to understand the entire process." - Greg Calbi, Sterling Sound


    "One of the first songs that Evren mastered for me was a very open, old-school sounding, Ray Charles-esque type of song. He suggested using one of the classic Capitol Records echo chambers on the mix. My first thought was, 'thats insane!', but my second thought was, 'thats cool!, let’s do it!' I realized very quickly that I was working with a very creative, open-minded Mastering Guru, who was going to take my mixes to a new level of creativity. Since then, Evren has mastered well over 800 songs for me. In addition to the great sounding final master, what I value about Evren is that he understands the importance of building the relationship between the Mixer and Mastering Engineer. Over the years my mixes have evolved and improved based on what I've learned from Evren and his creative approach, techniques and ideas that he has added to my mixes. It's as if we're on the same football team and I pass him the ball around the 30 yard line so to speak, and Evren runs it in the rest of the way for the goal! Now he has put his techniques and creative approach to Mastering in writing. This book is a must-have for any aspiring student or professional alike seeking a better understanding of the fine art of Mastering!"

    Bill Appleberry, Producer, Mixer (The Voice, The Wallflowers, Operator, Puddle Of Mudd, Stone Temple Pilots)


    "This is great. Evren is one of the best mastering engineers in the world and he's written a book about his craft." - David Holley, Group Managing Director Wise Music Group (Former Managing Director Abbey Road Studios, Former SVP EMI Music)


    ''Mastering is often considered a mysterious black art, but while there is certainly a lot of artistry involved Evren Göknar’s book, published in April 2020 (Routledge/Focal Press), dispels the mystery in a very readable and understandable way. For anyone with an interest in mastering, either for DIY projects or as a potential career path, Evren has crammed a lot of really helpful information and very practical advice into this book, along with very sensible and constructive guides to developing and honing the core skills, techniques and approaches that make a good mastering engineer. I particularly appreciated the emphasis on developing and honing listening skills. It’s well worth adding to the book shelf.'' SOUND ON SOUND (SOS), Hugh Robjohns


    "Whether a budding engineer or a seasoned pro, readers will come away from Major Label Mastering with far greater understanding and appreciation for the newly demystified process of mastering."

    Clive Young, ProSoundNews