Welcome to elson mastering!
I'm Scott Elson - an audio mastering engineer who collaborates with artists, producers and engineers from a wide range of musical genres located in all parts of the world.
My goal is to make every client’s artistic vision a sonic reality by bringing out the absolute best in musicality and sound quality.
The result is music that not only sounds exceptional, but also deepens the connection between artist and listener.
Get in touch to find out how I can help make your next record sound the best it possibly can.
Scott is my first call for mastering. For all his technical mastery, he never loses sight of the music. I can flow seamlessly with him between technical and musical issues, and never have to explain what I mean.
He adopts the project as a contributor, with an authentic interest in helping me fulfill and exceed the expectations of my artists and clients.
Scott is a powerful ally and has become a friend I count on to check my work and make it better.
Mastering is a blend of musical intuition, psychoacoustics, technology, and seasoned ears. It can add depth, punch, clarity, warmth and volume to your music.
There are plenty of plugins with mastering presets available, and even automated audio mastering services leveraging artificial intelligence. Here are some reasons you should have your music mastered by an experienced human like me.
Artists, producers and mixers can lose their objectivity after working on records for a long time. They count on me to bring fresh ears and an unbiased opinion to the project, with a simple focus on what's best for the music.
Fresh ears also means that as a mastering engieer, I listen to a lot of music across many genres in short periods of time. That allows me to have a pulse on a wide range of music production styles and sonic treatments.
It's common for artists to record albums over the course of many months, in many studios, and with many engineers. Because of this, each mix will naturally sound different.
It's my job to address the sonics and dynamics of each track individually, making sure they work in relation to each other, and within the context of an entire album. The result is a cohesive experience that engages the listener from start to finish.
Many records are now made in home or project studios with unreliable acoustics, making the importance of mastering even more critical.
My purpose-built studio provides an acoustically precise environment where accurate sonic decisions are made. My clean signal path and full range speakers produce incredible clarity, and often reveal issues clients may not have heard.
Some gear adds color while some is transparent. I only use what's needed and appropriate. Whether it's analog, digital, vintage or state of the art, each peice of gear is hand-picked for what it can bring to the music.
Mastering is the final step in the creative process and the first step in the manufacturing process. The goal is to not only create the best sounding masters of your music, but to also get them in the correct format for distribution.
Mastering is usually done at high resolution, but masters often need conversion and further preparation for delivery. No matter where your music is headed, I can create the right file in the right format from your masters. I also quality control everything that leaves the studio to make sure it's error free.
I have worked with Scott on several occasions. He has an excellent ear for all genres of music and also the technicalities involved in getting the final product just right. I recommend him highly.
My services are focused in three main areas: audio mastering, creation of audio production masters, and audio restoration.
Please see my rates page for more detailed information on what each of these services includes. Ask for a quote or securely upload a track for a mastering sample to get the process started.
Mastering is the process of balancing the sonic elements of your mixes, while also bringing out the best qualities of the music. It results in records that are sonically cohesive and have optimum playback across all systems and media formats.
Mastering projects come in many forms - singles, EPs, albums, soundtracks, compilations and audio for video. While a lot can be accomplished in mastering, it's always best to start with a well-balanced mix.
Complementary mix assessments are just one benefit included with every mastering project - see them all.
Most mastering projects will target some form of digital distribution.
While the CD is slowly heading toward niche status, streaming services rule the day and digital video projects are also common.
Each digital destination has its own nuances, and knowing the ultimate destination ahead of time allows for optimization during mastering.
Vinyl is definitely making a comeback with more releases targeting the format every day.
Mastering targeting digital distribution may also work for vinyl, but mastering tailored for vinyl is sometimes the right choice to bring out the best in the format.
For clients who can't seem to get their mixes just right, stem mastering may be an option.
Instead of sending a full mix, you can break the mix down into components such as bass, drums, lead vocals - which can then be adjusted individually during playback in mastering.
It can be bit more complicated, but sometimes more rewarding.
Once mastering is complete and all your mastered audio has been approved, it may need further preparation depending on your specific distribution targets. Physical and digital distribution formats are constantly evolving, so it's entirely possible you may need your masters optimized and delivered in multiple forms.
I am an Apple approved Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) engineer.
For a release to be officially badged as "Mastered for iTunes", the masters delivered to iTunes must be created by an engineer on their official MFiT Provider List who has followed their protocols.
You do not need MFiT files to release your music on iTunes - only if you want your release to have the official "Mastered for iTunes" badge.
Vinyl Production Masters are typically a single high resolution digital audio file for each side of the record, along with a detailed timing sheet.
There are a lot of things to consider with vinyl. The physical record size and record speed will determine how much audio will fit.
Due to the nature of the physical medium, the actual order of your tracks is also an important consideration.
For clients making Compact Discs, I create a DDPi (Disc Description Protocol image) for delivery to a replication facility.
It's the ideal format for an absolutely error-free master, creating a superior sounding CD which is also more reliable across a wide range of players.
A PreMaster CD (PMCD) is a specially formatted, recordable Compact Disc designed to be sent to a CD pressing plant for replication.
If your manufacturer cannot accept a DDPi, it is still possible to create a PMCD using high quality drives and CD-R media.
Audio restoration and repair involves removing unwanted imperfections from recordings while keeping the desired audio intact. It could be as simple as fixing a small mouth noise, or as complex as cleaning up a deteriorating record from the 1950s.
The restoration process is delicate since the ear is usually happier with hiss, pops and clicks than it is with sonic artifacts left behind if not done properly. Part of the process is using good judgment and knowing when not to go too far.
Physical media will deteriorate quickly. If you've got old DATs, cassettes, vinyl or even VHS tapes, it can be saved and brought back to life.
The first step in restoring audio sometimes starts with preservation by transferring it to a digital file. From there, it's possible to begin the repair or enhancement process.
Once your audio has been transferred to a digital file, it's ready for repair and enhancement. Modern restoration tools can do pretty amazing things.
Common annoyances like clicks, pops, hum, crackles, distortion and hiss can all be heavily mitigated or removed. Even noises like cell phone interference and rain can be cleaned up.
Scott is incredible to work with. Super nice dude and very professional. Even though the material we presented him with was recorded in a very DIY manner, he managed to pull out albums that sound like real albums.
We had no idea what we were doing, but he spoke in a language we could understand and the results were beyond what we could have hoped for.
I grew up with an appreciation for a wide range of music due to a family that was active in both performance and education. Early studies in piano eventually led me to the guitar, ongoing band memberships and an inclination to capture the music that surrounded me.
After completing degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Music, I joined Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios in 2001 as a staff engineer. My initial duties consisted of digital editing and creation of final production masters, but I was soon assisting in daily mastering sessions and eventually starting taking on mastering clients of my own.
I founded elson mastering with the goal of making high-quality mastering available to artists of every stature. With a foundation tailored to the needs of audio and music production, I bring a unique combination of technical expertise and creative feel to every record I am a part of.
Over the years, artists at every stage in their career have trusted me to put the finishing touches on their records. My commitment to always serve the music comes through in every project.
Scott has done an excellent job mastering our songs. He understands the sonic challenges that electronic music can present, especially when integrated with more traditional instruments.
He is friendly, comfortable to work with and has authentic enthusiasm for the music. We couldn’t be more satisified.
As a supporter of both the independent and local music communities, I can offer competitive rates for unsigned bands.
I realize every project is unique, so please don't hesitate to reach out. I will do my best to work with your budget.
Call, email or fill out my project inquiry form to get a quote and start the booking process.
I also have a large network of talented musicians and producers, so please give me a shout if I can help make a connection.