User Stories #001 – Neil Zeilenga – Dynaline Mastering
“For me, the journey started as a child. I won one of the very first sony walkman cd players in a sweepstakes. This allowed me to experience music personally, and intimately. My grandfather had some higher end equipment and at some point, made custom 15″ point source drivers which we had in our basement- this was the second memory that stands out in bold. Still very young, I remember hearing Metallica’s black album and it blew me away.. again. Unfortunately, we came upon hard times and loss and music was forgotten for some time. Fast forward about 15 years. A friend wanted to record an album, so we did, using the only Logitech mic we had. We were very pleased with the results.
After that, I did a Christmas album for a local church; where I remember manually clip gaining every track (before I knew compression was an option) to achieve an “even” sound.
The next step was when I bought my first pair of AKG headphones. I was blown away by their detail and depth, and started vigorously producing electronic music in FL studio. When I attained a bit of a following on soundcloud, I thought I was hot sh*t, so I started “mastering” other people’s tracks for $5. Around this time, a friend was also getting into audio production, and had a very minimal studio set up. He and I worked together on a couple albums and this was really where we started to explore what’s possible in ProTools and music production in general.
A few years later, it all kicked into gear. I was asked to produce his new band’s album, which was a cover of Sgt. Peppers lonely hearts club band and I was determined to produce it to a higher quality than I ever had before. This led me to buy new monitoring, new interfaces, new headphones and new audio processing tools. Finally, I felt as if I could start to trust my ears and I started to hear in a much finer fashion. Eventually, after obtaining REW, I realized I still had much work to do, so I started building acoustic panels, added a subwoofer, upgraded my monitoring again, and made the leap to an antelope interface. For me, it was a leap of faith because I didn’t have the workload to justify the purchase but when I heard it.. I knew I made the right decision. The phantom center and detail present was something I had never experienced previously. I started mastering again. I started mixing other local bands and collaborating with local artists. I was now determined to get “that pro sound”. This part of the journey was very challenging, as I wasn’t really sure what to look for, but I pushed through, and gradually, my mixes improved. A year or so later, my room is relatively flat +/- 2.5db 25-20khz, and my mixes and masters have never been better. I still have a long journey ahead, but now I’m getting into the broad, creative strokes end of things, so music is fun again. Finally!
Just last month, my old recording buddy and I reconnected and we have some big plans for the future. He has an exceptional ear, and is one of the best musicians I know and has many connections to other great talent. We’re building his space now, and I am more eager than ever to create (between the two spaces) an experience that will be remembered. I want to create a feast for the ears, and a journey for the soul.
Thank you Antelope!.. for making an excellent product, at an affordable price and for being a central component in my ability to be confident with my decisions.”