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Best "mastered" albums of the decade?

post #1 of 233
Thread Starter 
what are some really well mastered albums from this past decade (2000-2009)?

not counting re-releases... in other words, from current bands.
post #2 of 233
Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians
post #3 of 233
Opeth - Deliverance and BwP, clean production for the standards of heavy music, no surprise since there's Steven Wilson behind those albums.

Riverside - Out of Myself i have it on vinyl, top notch dynamics, all instruments audible and well mixed together, overall warm and non fatiguing sound.
post #4 of 233
how do you guys define mastering, btw?

do you consider it as a separate process entirely from mixing, or the overall process of post-processing the album inclusive of mixing?
post #5 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuseboxx View Post
how do you guys define mastering, btw?

do you consider it as a separate process entirely from mixing, or the overall process of post-processing the album inclusive of mixing?
What I tell my clients:

"What is mastering and why do I need it?"
First of all - not every project needs it.

Most projects need mastering because studio monitors and/or the mixing room aren't always optimal or correctly set-up. If an album, for example, was mixed with bass heavy monitors, the result will sound thin or trebly on correct monitors. Likewise, if the monitors are bright, the mix can sound dull. In other cases, if you work on a project for a long time, and the album is mixed in the same environment, the person or people doing the mix can lose their sonic perspective and the results come out with weird EQ or a strange sonic canvas. Moreover, the stereo balance could be off, a channel could be out of phase, there could be strange noises, etc. We can fix those problems.

Now...mastering, in simple terms, is the last part of the creative process and the first part of the manufacturing process. To better understand what mastering is, let's use and analogy:

Let's say someone has a nice diamond that they just dug up. OK. So they send us this new diamond that looks like dirty glass and we get excited and decide to invite all of our and your friends over to see it. Now, are we going to take the diamond outside and show it in the direct sunlight so it looks all old and dirty? Or, are we going to set it up inside, cut it, polish it and show it off with the right kind of lighting? It’s all in the presentation. That’s we do in mastering. It’s taking the original, cutting it and polishing it so it can sound the best it can sound. To do that involves making dozens of decisions such as making sure that when it’s played the levels of the songs are relatively the same, there are no dynamic problems, no distracting noises and everything is running and sounding as natural as possible. While that stuff may not sound like a lot of fun, getting that stuff right is what actually makes something sound better than it actually has before.
post #6 of 233
This thread needs more posts!

Totally agree with Meliboeus on Riverside, it's mind blowing compared to anything I've listened to the last year.
Katatonia's last album ("Night is the new day") is also a very dynamic record, it feels as if they are in the room when you close your eyes.
Opeth, I need say no more.
post #7 of 233
Goes without saying all Radiohead albums are really well mastered. Not much of a fan of their music but I can at least appreciate them at that level.

Not really sure what I'd pick from this decade, nothing really stands out. The best albums mastered on the whole tend to be classical albums. Nothing else comes close in allowing you to accurately distinguish so many instruments.

Other than that, from the last (last) decade I really like the 5.1 mix of Refused's Shape of Punk to Come. Pretty much the only album I know of that sounds resoundingly better when it's transferred to stereo to 5.1.
post #8 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSky0 View Post
Goes without saying all Radiohead albums are really well mastered. Not much of a fan of their music but I can at least appreciate them at that level.
They are definitely mastered but not well.
post #9 of 233
You reckon? I think they reveal far more of the background details than you hear on the average album. Judging by your sig, I guess you know what you're talking about though
post #10 of 233
Outwith esoterica, I'd like to give a nod to Crash Test Dummies - Songs Of The Unforgiven. But then much of what I listen to I wouldn't even bother giving a nod to at all.
post #11 of 233
Diana Krall - Quiet Nights is actually one of the better mastered albums of this decade. EQ work on it isn't that bad either.
post #12 of 233
Quote:
Goes without saying all Radiohead albums are really well mastered.
Radiohead albums (especially in Rainbows) are serious victims of the loundess war. Check this out: YouTube - Loudness Wars a Modern Example (Radiohead)
post #13 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meliboeus View Post
Opeth - Deliverance and BwP, clean production for the standards of heavy music, no surprise since there's Steven Wilson behind those albums.

Riverside - Out of Myself i have it on vinyl, top notch dynamics, all instruments audible and well mixed together, overall warm and non fatiguing sound.
I think Ghost Reveries and Watershed sound incredible. Watershed is probably the crispest and most precise metal album I've ever listened to. That Jens Bogren fellow really knows how to mix a great metal album.

I also think both Arcade Fire albums sound great. Neon Bible sounds even better than its predecessor, Funeral.
post #14 of 233
Quote:
Watershed is probably the crispest and most precise metal album I've ever listened to
Wait what? It was all muffled, no clarity or definition in the drum kit, theres hardly any seperation overall, and the acoustic sections sound like they were recorded in a well, and to top it off the string noise is just frustrating. Not to mention the compression. Heres the waveform of Heir Apparent:



If you stretch it out you can see that its not as bad as some of the other disasters of the decade like Muse and Slayer, but its not one of the best for sure.

My pick would be Lateralus by Tool
post #15 of 233
Steely Dan - Two Against Nature
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