Here, DMCWORLD are talking to Nicholas Di Lorenzo of the Panorama mix/mastering studio. Before setting up Panorama in 2014, Nicholas developed as a budding young engineer under the tutelage of Martin Pullan of Deep Purple, Anthony Callea and Jimmy Barnes fame. Nicholas’s affinity for mixing contemporary pop and electronic records, as well as his diverse understanding of all genres has seen him graced with the opportunity of working on over 1,300 mixing and mastering projects for artists, labels, producers and engineers from both Melbourne and across the globe. And today he will be sharing some of his invaluable advice with us…
Interview by Greg Mitchinson
Nick a big welcome to DMCWORLD. Can we begin by please explaining how you started out in the music industry…
To be totally honest, out of necessity! I was freelancing from my bedroom at my parent’s house, having clients literally sitting on my bed whilst I mixed or mastered their records multiple times throughout the week. I knew if I wanted to grow what I was doing, I’d need to set up shop to help me move ahead in my career and take it more seriously.
Some consider Mastering a dark art, what’s your thoughts on this?
I can understand why people think this. Even though I don’t believe it to be a “dark art”, it’s something that for at least me is ever-evolving, multi-faceted and you never really stop learning. So even to me, someone doing it daily for the past 7 years, I feel like there are dark parts of my craft I’m always uncovering and developing,
What makes a good Premaster file & how should a client best prepare stems for mastering?
A lossless .wav or .aiff file which isn’t clipping and makes the artist smile when they hear it. As for stem mastering; make sure to null test your stems against your original mix – if things don’t sum correctly, it can cause a lot of issues for mastering because we spend more time rebalancing the whole mix rather than focusing on building from the original mix and vision.
It’s easy to be drawn in by the amount of plugins associated with mastering – what should an artist mainly concentrate on before sending you a project to be mastered?
Am I happy with this mix? If you’re not happy with your mix, consult your mastering engineer.
Let us in on a typical day in the life of your studio...
Wake up at 3.30am, go to the gym, studio by 5, emails and admin until 6.30, sessions until 4.30, then some wind-down and self-development.
Any advice for would be Mastering Engineers?
Focus on long term growth not short term gain.
Loudness. What’s your take on it, some seem obsessed with loudness?
It is what it is. I have bigger fish to fry concerning mastering. Such as, does what I’m doing on the desk make someone connect with the music. Loudness is a small piece of the equation too many people focus on.
Give us your top 3 tips to a good premaster.
1, No Clipping,
2, Be happy with the mix,
3, Get the mastering engineer to sign off on the mix before mastering.
Is there a Golden rule in Mastering?
Use your ears.
Finally please let us know what you think lies ahead for the future in mastering tech & techniques…
For technology, I think more of the AI we’re seeing in automated services being implemented in our plug-ins, so users have more autonomy over the process. Technique-wise, I’m not sure the sky’s the limit, I do feel though more DIY mixing and production is forcing the hand of mastering engineers to try quirky and innovate approaches to how they master records to help carry them over the line.