In order to make a deterministic process, mastering requires critical listening, therefore, it can not be achieved without the presence of a mastering engineer. There are software mastering tools available to facilitate this last step, but results still depend upon the accuracy of speaker monitors. In addition, "music mastering" engineers may also need to apply corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement in order to improve upon sound translation on all playback systems.
The mastering studio is very different from a normal audio recording studio. In fact, all the equipment and gear found in most recording and mixing studios can actually hinder the acoustics of a room to accurately monitor sound. Thus, the correct room acoustics and arrangement of the equipment inside a mastering studio is an important factor since the mastering engineer (ME) needs to hear each mix in detail. This room design should be non-environmental or with a minimum room interference. By working with an experienced mastering engineer, the recording artist is also open to more creative opinions and technical advice.
A brilliant mix does not need any mastering. But it is wise to let another experienced set of ears judge your material before your release your work into the world. In this case a mastering engineer is your 'Quality Controller'. Once it is out there, there is no way back.
Also getting the acceptance of a label to release your track is getting harder and harder every day. The sad reality in the music industry is that most label people who are in a position of helping your project, aren’t going to give it the time of day. They are overworked, bombarded by demos. Working with a great mastering engineer will elevate your track and give you some cred with the A&R guys too.
" Rick Hoekman is one of the top mastering engineers I have been in contact with, and he is nothing but superior when it comes to cleaning up a mix and making levels meet their match. 5/5 Mastering Engineer recommended to any genre of music. "
" What can I say? Rick is a very, very nice guy and knows exactly what he is doing. Certainly looking forward to working with him more in the near future. "
" I have known Rick for almost 20 years and I can honestly say he is a modest guy with golden ears. When it comes to mastering audio there are only few who are *this* good. I am also not exaggerating when I tell you this guy can even hear through walls! "
" Knowledgeable, inspiring, and an all around good person :) "
" Rick is definitely my first choice when it comes to both mastering and audio clean-up. He works fast and the result is always great! "
" Rick adapted multiple audio files for me over the years. He is a wizzard with clearing outside noise from interview files so they can be transcribed way more easily. Moreover, he adapted a piano song for me so it matched a songtext I sang at a friend's wedding in a way no one would notice. So I highly recommend him: he does amazing work with audio - any audio! "