Uffe Börjesson on mastering, workflows & trends
By Timo Wildenhain, June 17, 2014
Uffe Börjesson is a Swedish mastering expert who commenced making music more than 30 years ago. Back in the 1980s he started off with multi-track machines, C64 and Atari computers, only to build his own computers for mastering and music production later on. Having learned the trade of mastering from leading mastering engineers in the Swedish recording industry, Börjesson has been running his own business for more than 20 years.
We had the chance to talk to Uffe about mastering, workflows, trends — and how it all started.
You are a mastering engineer and WaveLab user for more than 15 years. How did your setup look like in the early days?
A friend of mine recommended to check out WaveLab for mastering and I honestly never did regret that buy. At that time I was running my productions on a PC, with Cubase and Logic synced to a Tascam 8 track reel-to-reel recorder. That was fun! I then used WaveLab for audio editing and mastering — and was devoted to the idea of an in-the-box workflow, which I have maintained until today.
Why do you prefer mastering in the box (ITB) instead of maintaining a large number of outboard equipment?
The reason for doing everything ITB is because the products I use simply sound awesome. Of course there are situations in which I still use some outboard gear, but increasingly more seldom. I’m a heavy user of UAD products for sound refinement and I also like the built-in WaveLab plug-ins. I have even sold my Manley Pultec hardware after intense A/B test with the UAD Pultec plug-ins.
The other main reason is that WaveLab provides an excellent workflow and overview of my mastering projects. I can quickly fix errors in the spectrum editor and I also heavily use the editing features: all extremely versatile and reliable.
Codec comparison is very important as nowadays all mastering ends up in a digital store. The Encoder Checker is very straighforward to operate and seamlessly integrated in the post-processing slot of the WaveLab Master Channel.
And the sound quality doesn’t suffer?
Not at all! WaveLab adds no unwanted coloring. In fact, the program allows me to always work in the original sound quality. I have different setups saved and ready to use for mastering different music styles. This way I’m more flexible and still have the optimal sound quality. The times where I needed to fiddle around with hardware connectors, which can always result in crackles, are over!
You checked out WaveLab 8.5. Tell us about your favorite feature!
I would buy WaveLab 8.5 for the Encoder Checker alone. Codec comparison is very important as nowadays all mastering ends up in a digital store. The Encoder Checker is very straighforward to operate and seamlessly integrated in the post-processing slot of the WaveLab Master Channel. Well done!
Can you please provide us an insight into your mastering workflow?
I use a variety of WaveLab features, among them the Audio Montage, plug-ins and the fabulous DDP toolset. I normally start mastering with an empty Audio Montage into which I drag-and-drop all audio files. I then create the start and end markers, as I’d like to work in a per-title structure right from the beginning. Every now and then I need to correct error within the audio material by making use of the Spectrum Editor, which provides a comprehensive toolset to correct issues even on frequency spectrum level. Now the creative part starts with applying plug-ins and effects to the single clips and master section rack as well as tweaking levels and EQ settings. During the whole process of audio refinement I keep an eye on all the levels. I really love the precise meters in WaveLab as they provide instant feedback on what’s going on. The loudness measurement based "Normalizer" in WaveLab is completely marvelous and gives very accurate results.
What current trends do you see in the mastering industry?
I think there is an ongoing trend to mix and master according to loudness levels. In addition, I see current audio resolutions stay as they are, especially for mobile music listening. In classical music, there could be a trend to continuous higher resolutions.
Please visit www.earhear.net for more info on Uffe Börjesson.
WaveLab provides an excellent workflow and overview of my mastering projects. I can quickly fix errors in the spectrum editor and I heavily use the editing features: all extremely versatile and reliable.