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Building the Bottlehead Crack Headphone Amplifier (Review & Impressions)

January 8, 2020

This thing is like a nice glass of Bourbon for my ears, and I wanted the pictures to reflect that vibe.

Bottom line: The perfect pairing for my Sennheiser 650s. No other amp that I’ve tried for them in 14 years has made them sound as good.

I bought the kit about two years before I started building it. I had a few other projects to work on before this one, so in preparation for it I spent weeks online reading through many of the help posts on the Bottlehead forums, looking for the most common issues people have while building these and I also researched upgrades and other modifications for it. Read more…

REVIEW: DIYRE HC1 Headphone Amplifier

November 12, 2019


Most audio interfaces have a built-in headphone amplifier, but they tend to be a bit noisy and under powered. Like speakers, headphones sound their best when they are powered optimally, and I suspect that audio engineers who might dismiss headphones as reference tools simply don’t know how good a set of quality open-back set of headphones, driven by a better headphone amp sounds like.

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DDP – Not Just For CD Manufacturing

July 29, 2019

If you are still putting out music on CD, you’re probably familiar with DDP (Disc Description Protocol). This is currently the most accurate pre-mastering standard for CD (and DVD) manufacturing that is used by CD replication plants around the world. It is essentially a bit-perfect software package that specifies your project’s audio and metadata that is used by CD pressing plants to manufacture CDs, after verifying that your project’s data is 100% correct.

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What Mastering Isn’t

June 28, 2019

Most audio mastering services have a section on their website called “What is Mastering?” It’s usually some corny explanation that everyone already knows, trying to convince the reader that it’s a good idea to spend some money on mastering services.

Before writing this, I had to check my own site and make sure I didn’t have that on there, because it’s been a while since I checked the content (I’m currently working on a website redesign, in case you were wondering). Years ago when I put it together, I remember thinking that explanation would be a bit pointless because if people made it to my website and they were considering me to work on their project, they probably already knew what mastering is.

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Pre-mastering for Vinyl

February 11, 2019

Redsecta Pre-Mastered for Vinyl

When finalizing audio projects that are going to be released on both digital and vinyl, those of us that work with the digital files are technically pre-mastering for vinyl, since the actual master for this format is the lacquer. From the lacquer master, stampers are made and those are then used to stamp the actual records that we play.

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Mastering to Cassette Tape in 2014

September 27, 2014


I have been receiving inquiries recently from clients asking if it is possible to get a Cassette version of their project, and the answer is: YEP! It’s a unique format to work with, and often times clients who ask about it have never worked with it before so I decided to put together this article and publish it on the second anniversary of Cassette Store Day to let you know my thoughts on the format and how I go about creating a Cassette master, from decades of personal experience with it.

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In Retrospect: Must Volkoff – White Russian (Pang Productions, Melbourne)

February 14, 2014


If you don’t believe that in 2014, independent Hip Hop artists are able to produce albums that are sonically on par with anything that’s considered great, get it pressed on high quality 180 gram vinyl as well as CDs, and sell enough copies to recoup their investment almost instantly, then you simply aren’t aware of successes of small, Independent Hip Hop record labels like Pang Productions out of Melbourne, Australia.

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This Mastering Engineer’s Secret Weapon

November 15, 2013

Ear!If you thought this article would be about a particular piece of gear, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. At a certain point, seasoned Mastering Engineers will acquire a set of tools and a monitoring system that allow you to shape and analyze audio in whatever way necessary to accomplish the task of having great playback over a wide variety of audio systems. There isn’t one particular tool that goes on everything, often times it’s really all about having enough experience to know what combination of tools will do the trick. Read more…

Redsecta Rapaudiology Gear

June 2, 2013

rapaudiology-sm-logoWhat is Rapaudiology?

I jokingly came up with the term “Rapaudiology” a few years ago, when a friend was teasing me about how much effort I put into working on audio (which happens to be mostly Hip Hop), and how I’m always trying to make things sound better. He suggested I buy a white coat and have my name embroidered on it and I said something like “yep, and under it ‘Rapaudiologist, Hh.D’.”

Years later, I don’t have a custom-embroidered white coat, but have been using the “Rapaudiology” term mostly on Social Media to describe projects I’ve worked on that I consider being high-quality, artistically as well as sonically. If I mention a project I’ve worked on and it’s got the #Rapaudiology tag, it means that the listener can expect a high-end result.

Over the last few years, I’ve made some accessory gear to help me with day-to-day audio tasks with the same attention to detail and quality that I put into my audio engineering projects. Everything I’ve built uses high-quality components and I thought it would be a good idea to offer some of these things to other audio engineers, at fair prices. Read more…

Research your studio’s chair more than your monitors

February 10, 2013
This is my chair. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

This is my chair. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

A few years ago, after my 7th car accident in L.A. (none of them my fault, by the way), I decided to go to a Chiropractor because once in a while, my back would just go out on me for no good reason. He recommended that I see a massage therapist regularly and that’s exactly what I did.

One of the cool things about seeing a massage therapist regularly is that eventually, they start dropping good knowledge on you. My therapist says she is often asked by clients what they can do to make their backs feel better, and her answer is always the same: you should spend as much money as you can on a good bed and a good chair, especially the one you spend long hours sitting on.

A comment that stuck out to me was that another client of hers, a freelance graphic designer once commented how easier ideas came and that he was able to work longer hours without feeling fatigued, and that his upper back and neck problems had been reduced. You can imagine how this applies to working on audio. Read more…