Untitled Document



Mastering for discerning clients

By Rainer Gembalczyk, mastering engineer at Sienna Digital

Listening to music should be purely about experiencing the vibe of the recording, and my job as mastering engineer is to put the finishing touches on recordings with this goal in mind. Mastering is about passion for sound, emotions, and art, coupled with the ability to use the finest technology available to create a finished product that the listener will enjoy without distraction from technical flaws. It is about honoring the aesthetic presentation envisioned by the artist and using tasteful and appropriate adjustments with state-of-the-art mastering gear, to bring out the best qualities and ensure consistent flow throughout an album. Some projects need only small adjustments, while others require significant changes and I am comfortable with both approaches.

Mastering requires a thorough understanding of what constitutes “good sound”, earned by decades of listening to the best recordings in each musical genre on state-of-the-art playback systems. It takes the experience of knowing what it will sound like on lesser quality systems or car stereos and headphones, as well as various delivery platforms like radio, downloads, and streaming. Mastering also requires a thorough understanding of the delivery formats associated with a project, from a CD master in DDP or PMCD format to the numerous formats associated with digital distribution, like WAVE, APPLE Digital Masters (formerly MFiT), FLAC, MP3, Audible, and others.

Establishing close communication with clients is a crucial part of the mastering process. To determine how satisfied they are with their mixes and where they want to take the project sonically, and subsequently to discuss the mastering results, that’s the key to a successful project. Building long-lasting relationship is my goal and many of my clients have been mastering with me for over two decades. In recent years the internet has allowed me to reach out to an even wider clientele, which now includes projects from all parts of the US and countries like England, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Brazil, and India.

Over the years I have collected the gear that allows me to approach a project in the most organic way. From mastering-grade tube and solid state analog gear by Millennia/Forssell, DW Fearn, Focusrite ISA, API, Manley, Tube Tech, to state-of-the-art digital tools from Weiss, Dave Hill, Lavry, Antelope, TC Electronics, Fabfilter, DMG, Tone Proper, Izotope, TDR, Brainworx and many others, I will use whatever is most suited for a project. Monitoring is on Paradigm Studio Series and Amphion monitors, powered by Bryston amps, a system that translates exceptionelly well to the vast variety of playback environments.

From Rock to Jazz to Blues to Celtic to Funk to Grunge to Classical to EDM to New Age to Rap to Atmospheric to Spoken Word to House to Electronica to Bluegrass, over the past 30 years I have mastered across all genres. The count of mastered projects is now well over 3,000. Please scroll down to view a partial discography of albums that I have mastered.

Sienna Digital is on Apple's list of Apple Digital Masters (formerly Mastered for iTunes) approved providers.

Special “Free Sample Master"
New clients sometimes ask, “Can I hear some projects that you have mastered,” and while I can point them to my extensive discography, I have an even better offer. The contribution that mastering can make to a recording can only truly be evaluated when the mastering engineer works on your recordings, it cannot be judged by listening to another artist's release because you won’t know how much mastering contributed to the end result. To give you an opportunity to try out my mastering, I am offering a free mastering sample of one of your songs. A mastering sample will be treated with the same attention and dedication as regular projects because the intention is to win you over as a new client! Please click here to send me an e-mail so that we can talk about your project and the track to be mastered.

Partial discography

Album Title
Album Title
Paul Brown
Ones Upon A Time
Stu Hamm
Marc Antoine
Something About Her
Donn Bynum
Slow Down, Melt and Catch Fire
True Life Blues
A Tribute to Bill Monroe (1997 Grammy Winner)
Merlon Divine
Soul Jazz
Marcus Adams
Victor Fields
A Tribute to Lou Rawls
Los Tigres Del Norte
Directo Al Corazon
Lucy Peru
The Mermen
Le Splendeurs et Misères
Jeff Pearce
Hidden Shores, Empty Beach
Jacqui Brown
Love Love Love
Sarah Rogo
Smoke and Water
Les Sabler
Nicolas Bearde
I Remember You
Stacey Giermann and The Fire
Catherine Warner
Loss and Found
Lisa Sniderman
The Grieving Project
Los Tigres Del Norte
Jefe De Jefes
The Fire
Bob Hillman
Inside & Terrified
Mary Loeffelbein
The Whole Year Long
Joee Corso
Only A Man
Ron King
Downtown Mama
Denny Berthiaume
With My Heart In A Song
Mary Loeffelbein
The Whole Year Long
Shenshen Zhang
The Bitter Elegance
Hiding in the Spotlight
Stu Hamm
Book Of Lies
Stu Hamm
The Diary of Patrick Xavier
Robert Zinn
Walk The Walk
Michael Paulo
Beautiful Day
Jeff Pearce
Archive 1
Andy Rising
Kevin Moore
Prayer Closet Vol. 2
Chris Godber
Vince Guaraldi Trio
An Afternoon with the VG Trio
Mic Gillette Band
Turning Two
Vince Guaraldi Trio
Live on the Air
Will Donato
Renaissance Christmas
Linda Arnold
Bright Ideas
Bobby Treasure
Never Stop Trying
Love & Revolution
Resist and Refuse
Where to Begin
Kevin Moore
The Prayer Closet Volume 2
Andy Z
Camp Andyland
William Coulter and Edwin Huizinga
Fire and Grace
The Fire Scottish Band
The Fire Scottish Band
Safety Squad
Into The Danger Zone
Aaron Lington
Secondary Impressions
Kristen Strom
Moving Day
Hafez Modirzadeh
Voices Unveiled
Desiree Goyette-Bogas and Denny Berthiaume
A Time and Place for Us
The Trio
Jazz Impression of The Wizard of Oz
Tim Solook
Jacksonville Rd
Tom Ralston
Nomads and Nightingales: Wake Up!
Sandy and Doug McMaster
Ukulele and Slack Key
Viviana Guzman
Song of the Whale
Gourd Music
Kingdom Come
Rudi Wilburn
I Love Your Smile
Sonya Jason
Feels So Good: Live in HMB
Derek Allwardt
Travel Plans
Mark Etheredge
AAA Battery
Corrosion Of Buddha
Native Elements
Lovers Under Cover
St. Michael Trio
Music of the Americas
Altered Evidence
One Lane Bridge
The Kimberly Trip
Hold up the Sky
Mesut Özgen
Anatolian Fantasy
The Kimberly Trip
Unicorns, Glitter, and Heartbreak
John Handy
Excursions in Blue
Dub Nation
Rising Force of Change
John Stowell
The Sky at Our Feet
J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science
Matt Flinner
The View From Here
Nicolas Bearde
Jon Jang & Pan Asian Orchestra
Never Give Up
Nicolas Bearde
Wagon Cookin’
The Whitehalls
Into The Wild
Banana Slug Stringband
We All Live Downstream
Viviana Guzman
Teleman Flute Fantasies
Falling Awake
Marty Dread
The Hits (1993-2003)
The Guarneri Jazz Quartet
Tell your Story
Festival of Four
A World of Music
Reggae Angels
Reggae Angels
Anthony B
Rasta Love
Kathy Kallick
Call Me A Taxi
Anthony B
A Tribute to Legends
Christopher Mallett
The Porcelain Tower
Mission Incomplete
William Coulter
Celtic Crossing
William Coulter
Celtic Sessions
William Coulter
The Crooked Road
Neal Hellman
Autumn in the Valley
Neal Hellman
Emma's Waltz
Barry Phillips
The World Turned Upside Down
Music on the Mountain
Barry Phillips
Shelley Phillips
The Wood Between the Worlds
Barry Phillips
Summer of Cello
Deby Grosjean
Healing Well
Vinyl 45
Drive You to the Sun
Jefferson’s Fiddle
Along Came Betty
Secrets Parts of Fortune
Shelley Phillips
The Wood Between the Worlds
Along Came Betty
Smells Like Christmas
AAA Battery
Year of the Woman
Mary McLaughlin
Daughter of Lir
Kim Robertson
The Butterfly
Mary McLaughlin
Sacred Days, Mythic Ways
Armada Blue
Armada Blue
Neal Hellman
Oktober County
Stevan Pasero
Twelve Shades of Night
Trio Garufa
El Rumor De Tus Tangos
Stevan Pasero
Stevan Pasero
Musical Art Quintet
Nuevo Chamber
Windham Hill
A Winter Solstice 1998
Kuyi Karshyga
14-CD set special edition
Primary Colors
More Than One Way Home
Sol Rising
Mystical Awakening
Deby Grosjean
O'er the Moor, Among the Heather
Sol Rising
Mystical Awakening
Tom Liles
Street of Dreams
Susmit Sen
Lisa Sniderman
Is Love A Fairy Tale
Cactus Choir
Cactus Choir
Ann Sabra Roach/M. Bayard
Pandora’s Hammer
Freddy Clarke
Recuerdos De Mi Padre
Blackbird Blackbird
Boracay Planet
Drifting Sand
Summer Splash
Sol Rising
Mystical Awakening
Particia Wilder
Lay Down Daddy
Crossing Borders
Mess Around
Calvin Keys
Close Enough for Love
Paul Tiernan-John Lester
John Lester
Live at Freight and Salvage
Deck the House
EDM Holiday Songs
Kawika Alfiche
Steve Seskin
Two Paper Town
Michael McNevin
Kickin’ Tires
Devil on Both Sides
Tony Saunders and MRLS
Jazz Ala Soul
Queen Ida
Cookin' With Queen Ida
Mad and Eddie Duran
Simply Mad
Jessica Williams
Encounters II
Jessica Williams
The Victoria Concert
Jessica Williams
Beth Custer
Mount Madonna Choir
Sweet Home
Mount Madonna Choir
Clear Day of Grace
Freedom is What Everybody Needs
Blues Himmel
Blues Himmel
Death Machine
Death Machine
The Whiskey Thieves
Almost Time
The Essence of Romance
Jasun Tipton
The Lights of Russia
Mantra for Healing
The Still Point
The Offering
Kristen Strom Quartet
Mason Razavi
People, Places, and Monsters
The Tuttles
Introducing the Tuttles
Mariachi Santa Cecilia
Corrido del Mariachi
Vince Guaraldi
Peanuts-Lost Cues Volume 1
Vince Guaraldi
Peanuts-Lost Cues Volume 2
Viviana Guzman
Argentine Music
John Houghton
Solo Piano II
Todd Phillips
In the Pines
Katie Garibaldi
Follow Your Heart
Andy Z
Welcome to Andyland
Andy Z
Summer in Andyland
Andy Z
Return to Andyland
A Great Day for You and Me
Keystone Crossing
Crossing Paths
Are We There Yet?
Richard Patterson
Recuerdos Del Sol
Linda Arnold
Love You to the Moon and Back
Bill Phillippe
The Brothers Goldman
Tami Michelle
Lovers of the Wind and Rain
Trina Boo Tran
Noi Dau Ngot Ngao
Doug and Sandy McMasters
Sweet Hawaiian Dreams
The Peat-Fire Flame
Doug and Sandy McMasters
In My Heart
Five Year Mission
Year 3
Robert Lee Chaffee
Angels, Lovers, and Other Lunatics
Verdant Groves
A Musical Journey through NE Shaker Villages
The Brothers Goldman
Bill Phillippe
M-Byrd Gillespie
Wild Days and Escapades
Jeff Hanson
Here at Home
Diversity Personified
Mark Etherdge
Change Coming
Marty Atkinson
Marty Atkinson
Two Room Shack
Butterfly Jazz Trio
First Time Around
John Roy Zat
Who Zat
Outer Edge
About Time
Ware-Patterson Duo
Past, Present, Future
Outer Edge
Colonels of Truth
Colonels of Truth
Carolyn Gauthier
Songs of Unity
Morning in Alaska
Morning in Alaska
Kim Robertson
Shall We Gather
Kim Robertson
Shall We Gather
Kim Robertson
Highland Heart
Kim Robertson
Tender Shepherd
Gordon Getty
The Music of Gordon Getty
Robert Van Horne
Piano and Memories
Robert Van Horne
China Love
Robert Van Horne
Embraced by a Dream
Bartron Tyler Band
Yesterday Never Knows
Sofa Lords
Sofa Lords
Kristin Lagasse
Rugged Heart
Hank Harris
Deadwood Songbook Vol. 1
Hank Harris
Deadwood Songbook Vol. 2
Hank Harris
Hank Harris
Shortcut to Hanksville
Genre Peak
Veronica Klaus
Live at the Lodge
Voices Over Rhythm
Kawika Alfiche
Shelley Phillips
Caliente Amor
The Thursday Night Club
Mimi Dye
Spiritual Songs of Hildegard
Pastor Robert Lyons
Stay With the Lord
Highway One
Highway One
Feel Me
Ware-Patterson Duo
Christmas Passage
Louise Costigan-Kerns
Into the Light
Larry Potts
Gone West
Laura Zucker
By the Refinery Lights
Larry Potts
Close to Home
Laura Zucker
Life Wide Open
Larry Potts
All Things Considered
Donnie Williams and Park Place
Just Like Magic
Secret Town
Secret Town
Denny Berthiaume Trio
Jazz Kids
Love Ya, Mean It
Denny Berthiaume Trio
Solar Plexus
Laura Sullivan
Close to Home
Mark Gelfand
Rhythm Changes
Laura Sullivan
Feast of Love and Joy
Matt Patty
Above the Heavens
Girls Agains Abuse
Vol. 4
Girls Agains Abuse
Season of Hope
Girls Agains Abuse
LIVE in Boots
Girls Agains Abuse
Girls Against Abuse
Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers
At Home and Abroad
Barry Phillips
A Toolbox Christmas
Peninsula Scottish Fiddlers
Barry Phillips
Toolbox Classics
Rise Up
Thom Duvan
So Shall We Learn
Phil Engstrom
My New Reality
Making the Mantle
Tim Solook
Tim Solook
Comfortable Blues
Susan Colin
Prayer of the Heart
Susan Colin
Every day
Susan Colin
Shabbat Favorits
Susan Colin
Be Strong
Angel island
Celtic Dreams
Crystal Springs
Pipa Pinon
Wash Me Clean
The Nitelighters
CaliJano Style
Pipa Pinon & Dreambeach
Blue Heart
Usiogope SRL
Indietro No Mai
Usiogope SRL
Alzati E Cammina
Outside World
Outside World
Scrilla, Scratch, Paper
The Lind Institute
Relax With the Classics
Moon Birds
Johnnie Marshall
I Dun Struck Gold
Johnnie Marshall
When the Smoke Clears