In our continuing series profiling the companies on our Audio Market page we are going to turn the spotlight on Mastering The Mix. On the Audio Market page we offer smaller developers the opportunity to reach the Pro Tools community at a much lower price. Tom Frampton is the founder of Mastering The Mix which he started to provide mixing and mastering services and now has expanded into producing a metering plugin.
PTE: How did you start? Tell us about your journey to setting up your company.
Tom: From an early age, I was infatuated with musical instruments, specifically the drums. My determined obsession was encouraged by my enthusiastic parents. I passed my grade 8 drums exam at 14 years old and was singing with my guitar in pubs for pocket money.
After high school, I attended DrumTech in London (now BIMM - The British and Irish Modern Music Institute) to pursue a career as a session musician. At university, I began experimenting with songwriting and music production. I had a lot to learn but I was determined. In my final year at university, I won the songwriting competition and graduated with first class honours.
After I had graduated, I became the audio engineer for a small production studio in Sussex. It was here that I worked with chart-topping electronic producers such as Chuckie, Steve Aoki, and David Guetta. After 6 months I decided it was time to fly solo. I opened my own mixing, mastering and project studio in central London called Mastering The Mix.
PTE: Tell us a bit about your company and the products you produce?
Tom: At Mastering The Mix, my mission is to provide artists with mixes and masters of the highest conceivable quality. My aim is to educate music producers on ways we can achieve this together at all stages of the production process. This ethos led to the conception of LEVELS. Producers were constantly sending me mixes with the same recurring technical issues. I was repeating myself in phone conversations with both new and existing clients about how to get a technically excellent final mix. (By ‘technically excellent’ I mean not clipping, not over-compressed, good stereo spread etc. I’m not talking about musicality).
This information isn't some kind of secret sauce that I only give to my paying customers. It’s a simple yet crucial checklist that many people overlook in the final stages of their mix. The majority of these people weren’t using metering plugins because they’re difficult to understand and can smother creativity. It seemed to me there was a vacuum in the market for a producer friendly plugin that had all the tools to get a great final mix.
In August 2015 I teamed up with 29 Palms and we developed our concept for a revolutionary metering plugin that would be incredibly easy to read and understand. The visuals on ‘LEVELS’ are engaging and informative without being intimidating. The plugin will only draw your attention to elements that need fixing, which makes the user experience completely unique. Our goal was to make assessing technical information as painless and enjoyable as possible.
PTE: What plans do you have for the future that you can share with the community?
Tom: LEVELS has been very well received, by both Grammy award winning producers and aspiring songwriters alike. Our plan now is to improve LEVELS to better serve the users. Our focus is also to create further products that genuinely improve the production workflow.
PTE: What is your favourite audio tool (excluding any of your own products)?
Tom: If I had to choose one plugin it would be Fabfilter Pro Q2. The ease of use, precision and sound quality is excellent.
PTE: What one thing gets you annoyed about the audio business?
Tom: My experience so far in the audio business has been extremely positive. I love the enthusiastic people producing music, be it as a hobby or profession. The media and blogs have been very supportive, generous and kind. I love the fantastic progression of studio gear, both hardware and software.
The issue I've got isn’t the audio business as such but the lack of understanding of the technical side of audio production. There is not enough regulation in place to promote audio quality in music distribution. Mastered for iTunes is a great step in the right direction but this is just one small channel for music distribution. This is not the case for Film and Television, where audio must legally meet very specific technical requirements. I believe implementing similar guidelines for music would promote audio quality and improve the listening experience for consumers. By creating LEVELS we hope we have a made a step in this direction.
PTE: Is there anything else you would like to share with the Pro Tools Expert community?
Tom: The best sounding mixes come from well-written songs with great performances. Technology is fantastic and should be utilised but it won't do all the work for you.
PTE: Tom thanks for sharing your journey with us. We also have a Podcast Extra Interview With Tom Frampton at Mastering The Mix when we were offering the community a deal on his online mastering services in which we asked him about what he does, how he got into mastering, why people should trust him and much more.
As Tom says, he doesn't give his advice to his customers he has produced a free ebook Preparing For Mastering - The Essential Checklist.
Mastering The Mix is another perfect example of the sort of brand we set up The Audio Market to help and support. Remember to visit the Audio Market page and support all the small developers, all trying to punch above their weight.