The mastering engineer’s most important tools are a pair of healthy ears and the skills to use them for critical listening. The latter normally is based on training and experiences out of dealing with various musical productions and the focus on the special goals of mastering: The primary goal of mastering is to condition a musical production for an optimal presentation to the "outer world". Mastering also could be seen as the "interface" between artists/producers and the audience.
For optimal fulfilling this function the mastering engineer needs working conditions which are supporting a best as possible contact to both worlds. To bury oneself between expensive equipment in a hermetical closed studio wouldn't be the best way to reach that. Therefore I prefer this workspace:



Like many top mastering engineers I prefer to work unattended – apart from rare visits of the artists or producers to present for instance rough results and to discuss further goals. For these purposes a big studio is not necessary – unless one wants to impress the visitor with the equipment. How reasoned above, the control room could be a living room with daylight and windows for fresh air. Beyond that the room should be a smart configured with the best as possible acoustic management under these conditions. Important in this context: Computers should be acoustically shielded in such a way that no fan or other machine noise can be listened in the control room. In my case, the computers are located in the neighboring room.
The goal of creating the interface between production and the consumer is best achieved if the workspace for mastering is similar to the one in which the product is ultimately consumed - even if the spectrum from the ghettoblaster in the kitchen over the car radio reaches up to the high-quality home cinema system in an optimized room, so that, of course, not every possible scenario can be taken into account.
And not to forget: another great benefit of a studio in a living room is the lower pricing for the clients because it’s not necessary to co-finance an expensive studio rent.

MONITORS (fitting the control room)

The control room widely decides about the choice of the best fitting monitor systems. Beyond a certain quality standard the monitors not necessarily must be the most expensive. In many cases those anyway wouldn't be the most suitable for the particular room situation.


At least as important as the right speakers and headphones is the monitor d/a converter with an excellent neutrality and transparency. For this purpose I use a

By the way – fortunately this dac has an excellent value-for-money ratio (nowadays about 1.000 EUR). And it can be handled via remote control. This enables to stay at the sweet spot while changing the monitor level or for instance while switching into mono mode.