Katie Tavini

Katie Tavini answers your questions on all things audio

In the first installment of a brand new series for Audio Media International, our exclusive columnist and acclaimed mastering engineer, Katie Tavini, answers your questions on all things audio.

Our Questions For Katie series sees Tavini answer your questions on everything from best practice in the studio, to tips and advice on how to progress through the ever competitive pro audio industry. 

Unsurprisingly, we’ve been inundated with inquiries, so Tavini has handpicked a selection of the most pertinent questions to answer. 

To submit your questions to Katie Tavini for next month’s session, simply follow us on any of our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) and send us a direct message. You can also Tweet us directly on Twitter. 


“Is it too late to get into the industry at 50? No regrets and all that, but sometimes wish I’d pursued in getting into what I wanted to do after my sound work experience at BBC aged 18” – Simon Hughes

This is such a great question! Everyone I speak to who works in sound all seems to have arrived via a completely different route, and there are some fantastically talented engineers and producers who have followed their passion later in life. It’s never too late to pursue something that interests you.

The only thing that I would say, is be mindful that most people who work in sound are freelancers, and it can take a little while to build up regular work. But age is just a number, and if you love sound then go for it! There are so many amazing resources for learning about sound online, and tons of brilliant workshops with people sharing their skills – dive into these and see if you’re still as interested as you were when you were 18. Chances are you will be! 

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‘Do you need the lates plugins to create a cool beat? Is basic Garageband going to be okay?” @melisamiamusic (IG)

What do all the beats you love have in common? It’s probably the fact that they’re all imaginative, unique and cool. And perhaps they were also made in Garageband! Don’t get me wrong, fancy plugins are always nice, but there’s nothing wrong with not having those. In fact, sometimes limitations can make us more creative.

There’s a great video on YouTube where LNA Does Audio Stuff makes an entire beat out of a soup can……because she can! Don’t feel pressured into feeling as though you must have the latest and most expensive tools to produce amazing music, your skills and talent are enough.

‘What’s your go-to mastering chain?’ 

So many people asked this question! And honestly, I don’t have one. Sorry for that anti-climax! The first thing I do when I have a new project to master, is to listen to it. Every project is so unique that there’s really no one size fit’s all approach. Some projects will need a little more in terms of processing, and some will need less, but I think it’s really important to be very intentional about any mastering processing. Unless you can say why you’re doing something, then it probably doesn’t need it.

This isn’t really answering the question, but I feel that as mastering engineers we have to stay open minded and objective, and I can’t start off a session by putting a mastering chain that’s made for something else on to a new track, because it’s probably not going to be needed.

“As a mixer, what can I do to make life easier for my mastering engineer?” – @krrrschmidt (IG)

Well, this is another great question! I think it’s really important that you have this conversation with your mastering engineer, as I can imagine most mastering engineers will have different opinions about this. But I would definitely say that having a great file naming system is super important, and I don’t think any other mastering engineer would disagree with me on that!

Having a set way of sending files is also really useful – pick a platform and stick to it. This sounds really basic, but when someone sends you a Dropbox link to the main files and then sends the instrumental mixes by WeTransfer, it feels a bit faffy. We like to know what to expect! I would also say that it makes life a lot easier if you’re able to communicate well with your mastering engineer. Talk to them, tell them what you like and what you’re not keen on, and start to develop a good working relationship.

Katie Tavini

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