Mastering Process Explained with Alan Silverman – Part 1

In the above Part One video, Alan Silverman de-mystifies and defines mastering and some of the finer points as it relates to the art and science of the craft.

In Part Two Alan continues by discussing some of the best practices as it applies to the mastering process.

Alan Silverman

Alan Silverman is a Grammy nominated engineer and producer. He coproduced, mixed, and mastered “Winter Stories” by Judy Collins, named “The Best Folk Album of 2019” by Digital Journal. “Mountain Girl,” a single from the album, hit #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. He mastered Catherine Russell’s “Alone Together” a Grammy finalist and the most played album on jazz radio in 2019, and the ground-breaking “SYSTEM EP” by DJ Delia Beatriz, listed in Pitchfork’s 10-Best EDM albums of 2019.

He co-produced, mixed and mastered “Silver Skies Blue,” a duet album by Judy Collins and Ari Hest, which was Grammy nominated for Best Folk Album in 2017, and the long-awaited reunion album by Judy Collins and Stephen Stills in 2017.

In 2015, he co-produced and mixed “Strangers Again,” album featuring duets by Judy Collins with Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Michael McDonald, Don McLean, and Jeff Bridges. The album reached the Billboard top-100. His recent track record for mastering includes credits on four Grammy nominees in 2016, four in 2017, four in 2018, and three in 2019, and four in 2020.

Alan Silverman

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Alan got his start doing tech and assisting at NYC’s Electric Lady Studios, covering sessions for The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Hall & Oates. Thereafter, he accepted a staff engineering position at A&R Recording, where he worked with legendary producer Phil Ramone and renowned musical artists Billy Joel, Kiss, and Judy Collins. He recorded and mixed musical scores for film directors David Mamet, Francis Coppola and Frank Oz, and top composers Elmer Bernstein and John Barry. He also fostered professional relationships that would come to last decades – he and Judy Collins still work together on numerous projects.

He went independent in 1996, continuing to work on music for records and feature films. He engineered and produced the soundtrack for the feature film adaptation of “The Fantasticks” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He worked as music supervisor for Sesame Workshop, producing music and directing Muppet performers and celebrities for Sesame Street’s network television specials “Elmopalooza” and “Cinderelmo.” He garnered a Cable Ace Award for “Best Music Special,” as audio producer for “Child of Mine,” a film of live performances set in everyday locations by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rosanne Cash, Carole King, Emmylou Harris, and Dionne Warwick.

Alan and Lara Downes – Power Station


In 1996, Alan established his own company, the internationally recognized Arf! Mastering – headquartered in the original space of Jimi Hendrix’s first studio. His film score credits continued to flourish – he was the score mixer on the late 90s classic “Birdcage” starring Robin Williams. He notably co-produced the main title song for the major motion picture, “And So It Goes” – the Judy Collins classic “Both Sides Now,” written by Joni Mitchell.

However, for all his professional recognition – he counts among his favorite accomplishments that he “almost” managed to train a Siberian husky. He’s also an avid dancer who steps out of the cockpit of his “starship” regularly to recharge in local partner dance classes, which inform his understanding of music through movement.


Affiliations and Accolades

Grammy Award Nominations 2021: 
Gregoire Maret, Romain Collin & Bill Frisell “Americana”, Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra “Four Questions”, EHSS & Signature Sound “Something Beautiful”

Grammy Award Nominations 2020: 
Catherine Russell “Alone Together”, Joseph Habedank “Deeper Oceans”

Grammy Award Nominations 2019: 
Kitell & Co. “Chrysalis”, Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats “All the Sounds”, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound “Clear Skies”

Grammy Award Nominations 2018: 
Raul Midon “Badass and Blind”, Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra “Familia”, Karen Peck and New River “Pray Now”, The Collingsworth Family “Best Of”

Grammy Award Nominations 2017: 
Judy Collins and Ari Hest “Silver Skies Blue” – Catherine Russell “Harlem on My Mind” –  Joey Alexander “Countdown” – Afro Latin Jazz Orch. “Cuba, The Conversation Continues”

Grammy Award Nominations 2016: 
Best Roots Gospel, Best Jazz Vocal, Best Jazz Instrumental, Best Large Ensemble Jazz

Adjunct Professor:
Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU|Tisch School of the Arts

Adjunct Professor:
Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at NYU|Steinhardt

Related Links

Paul Abbott’s Zen Approach to Mastering

How to Create a Recording Studio for $100

How To Record, Equalize, and Edit Classical Guitar Tracks In A Home Studio

Recording Acoustic Guitar in Stereo for Beginners

First 50 Recording Techniques You Should Know to Track Music

Chuck Schiele is an award-winning musician, producer, editorialist, artist, activist and music fan. He still plays every day.

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