Input Monitor Offset – This critical feature allows you to match levels between your processed signal (output) and unprocessed signal (input) so that you can make comparative judgements without misleading volume changes. Once input and output levels are matched, simply use the In/Out switch to objectively compare your mastering work to the original. Additionally, you can more accurately use a peak-over-average meter array (such as the one found in the Dangerous Music CONVERT-2 mastering D/A converter) to visually confirm your master’s loudness density. These are all important strategies used by top professionals to delicately manage the creation of a thoroughly professional production master.
Three Front-Panel Switchable Inserts – These stereo inserts tie all of your EQs, compressors, limiters and de-essers together into an elegant, rock-solid mastering rig. The MASTER’s front-panel switches give you functionality previously only available on very expensive, custom-built mastering consoles. And on Insert 2, you get Chris Muth’s ground breaking Mid/Side processing.
On-Board Mid/Side Processing – Residing on Insert 2, the Mid/Side processor inside the MASTER is an audiophile-grade sum-and-difference matrix. By “encoding” and then “decoding” the stereo signal, this matrix allows you to obtain separate control over the center and the sides of the stereo mix. A tool employed by deeply experienced mastering engineers to address specific issues in a mix without compromising other aspects of the stereo image, Mid/Side processing is the most powerful mastering tool available. For example, manage a harsh vocal or a strident snare in the middle of a mix while not affecting the instruments panned to the sides. Or perhaps one needs to tame some widely-panned cymbals while maintaining vocal air and articulation at the center of the mix. Further, on some occasions, mastering engineers might be processing the middle and the sides with completely different processors.
Width Control – This allows you to use the MASTER’s Mid/Side matrix to control the level of the “sides” of the mix, which changes the perceived stereo width. This is incredibly helpful when deploying any Mid/Side processing, but even when you’re not engaging outboard gear, the width control allows you to “focus” the stereo image perfectly. Ever come across a song that’s not sitting well among the others on the record? How about mastering a compilation where the width varies greatly? Whether you’re tightening or widening the stereo field, the width control is often exactly the right tool for pulling all the songs together into a coherent record.
Three Outputs & Two Inputs – A dedicated monitor output accompanies two stereo output paths that can be routed to A/D converters, tape machines, patch bays, or wherever the signal needs to go to get the job done. Many MASTER owners use the dual outputs to make direct A/B comparisons between different A/D units, listening for the vibe that best suits that particular record. The two inputs, selectable on the front panel, make it easy to have a D/A normaled to the first input and the second input wired to a patchbay or tape machine.