James Pingel (@White_Noise) Mastering Appreciation Thread


All right it’s time to kiss some ass! I’m jk, kind of.

I’ve been meaning to put this out there for awhile, and I’m not sure if this is the right section so mods feel free to move it, but I feel like this needs to be addressed:

@White_Noise has been mastering the IDMf albums for awhile now, and his skill and growth in that role has been a testament to the talent within this forum, showcasing it. I am listening again to his work on “Are We Dead Yet?” (IDMf050)… .a huge milestone for this place. The care and work he did with my track on there, a remix of @Jazzyspoon 's “The Long Trip Home” is phenomenal. I remember submitting that track and thinking, “Hahaha good luck BRO.” send

And when I heard the master for the first time, I was like, holy shit! He completely breathed life into it. The sub sounds clear(er), my upper mids weren’t completely muted but blended, and even all of my ridiculous layering and maximalist tendencies, he took what I made and polished it like a boss. Particularly, @RFJ 's track Cicuenta I still consider to be ARENA READY electronic music. Epic. It’s one of my favorite releases from our entire catalogue ever. I gotta hand it to this guy (WhiteNoise – but also you too Rick lol – that whole freakin album is amazing!)… Man you have you have done so much good work. Anyone who has done it knows it’s an artform… not only as practice in restraint, from changing too much of the original master, but taking a track and turning it into something that is radio/car speaker/live sound ready is seriously something that takes so much consideration and practice.

@White_Noise I’ve kind of watched (aka listened) you grow better and better from afar and I am constantly impressed by your work. I know what it takes and what you’ve done with IDMf in this has blown any work I’ve done out of the water by far. I’m proud to have your name attached to my music.

Like the other guys who have run this place, you have never asked anything in return, and you’ve perpetuated this little niche of music we’ve grown here, and for this I cheers and thank you! Your work on Permutations was stellar as well! Great job bud. Thank you for what you do. Cheers to you bud. Golden Ears!


Yeah, he’s a nice guy


@Fidelium also there was a thread in which he were posting about his mastering process a full video


Can only agree with the previous comments, always very happy with his mastering! Great ears, great talent and super nice, helpful and supportive guy! Also, very flexible in terms of different genres including experimental stuff. Great choice for any mastering task imho! :heart:



(I know you can all hear the picture above)

Mastering is a pretty difficult & sometimes ungrateful job, since most people have no clue what mastering is. I didn’t either for the longest time, until I became serious about releasing some music out in the wild.

Allocating so much of your time for free and getting superb results is a testament to the man.

With that said, get out of your apartment, @White_Noise! Let’s hang out & talk shop one of these days! :slight_smile:


Awwwww, thanks man <3

Fun story, when I got my audeze, which was the last time I changed monitoring systems, I re-did the mastering on IDMf 050 (not released, I still have that folder somewhere but when I want to listen to 050 I listen to the originals) to get to know the headphones as that is still a really good litmus test for mastering IMO - due to the variety and some of the challenges that the specific tracks on there present (Aaron Goodwyn’s opening track has huge dynamic swings for instance that you have to do something about or any limiter is going to shit itself).

No thanks necessary though, I consider the free mastering I do for the netlabel to be my best/only advertising because every one of my paying customers is someone who’s had a free master on one of the compilation albums. It doesn’t pay the dreaded bills, but it does let me afford some fancy software I can throw at the work. And this has been a lot of good practice for me over the years, I’ve developed my craft on your music so that I know better what to do with my own.

I don’t like to brag, but having mastered almost 1/3 of the netlabel catalog I like to think I’ve contributed to a “house sound” for the label at this point - and I’m proud that I think I can justify saying that. I don’t think that’s something a lot of mastering engineers can say at any point in their career. Not many get to have such a close relationship with a specific artist/label for as long as I have.

It’s funny you mention “restraint” near the context of 050 because that album is what really taught me restraint in mastering. It was the 3rd album I’d mastered - ever - after 048 and 049. If you go back and listen those are still good albums (the middle tracks 3-4-5 on 049 are still some of my favorites the netlabel has ever put out, and they all come back to back on a one-synth album) but they have a much more obvious sonic signature. When the tracks came in for 050 I realized pretty quickly that wasn’t going to work due to the greater variety and, frankly, much higher mix quality. So I had to learn to do less fast and really did just enough to tie all the tracks together without changing them more than I had to. That is still more or less how I think in terms of our compilation albums 5+ years later.

I know there’s a “sound” beyond that, but all I can really describe is I try to make sure everything has the right amount of oomph and give the song it’s best shot on whatever it’s being played on. I want the song to sound like it’s right at the limit of whatever your system can do cleanly as, in theory, that is where the song is going to sound the best while still being what the artist envisioned. It takes a lot of practice to be able to go right up to the edge without walking over it, and thankfully I’ve been able to get a lot of practice here. Ask Manton though, I think we went through 2-3 versions of his track on Permutations - it’s still really easy to walk right over the edge sometimes, so I still have more to learn and this place can still teach me.


That video is a great insight into how I’m thinking (and how to use Elevate, which no one seems to get is the best limiter in the world - period), but a lot of the rest of it is out of date unfortunately. It’s not that I want to keep what I do secret, because I’m confident in my abilities to the point that even if I told you exactly what I was doing I don’t think anyone else can replicate it. Unfortunately, doing that video was a lot of work and I’m not super happy with how it turned out. I think to get it where I’d want it would take 10 times the work I put in, and I want to be working on music, not videos about music.Plus in that kind of timeframe, I could master like 5-6 full albums compared to doing an in depth tutorial on one song. So if masterclass reached out and wanted to pay me to do a video for them, and they were going to lend me production resources then yeah I would take that paycheck. But doing the solo youtube game like Underdog or MixbusTV isn’t my goal, so I can’t spend time doing that and take away from working on my music (or someone else’s).


Get in my DMs. I actually am going to wrap up my main day job in a few weeks and don’t have anything else lined up yet, so I’m going to have some time on my hands. Also it’s still my parent’s house, though I’m flattered you think I can afford LA rent AND my expensive synth habit.


sweet could you link me??


That’s really amazing man. Truly. One fucking third… that’s nuts! With 050 I just remember thinking, “shit man if this guy can make my 8 minute clusterfuck of a track sound good, he’s a winner.”

After Altered Tensions parted was with us back around Synaecide’s EP (005), I basically volunteered to take a crack at being the resident mixing mastering engineer. My first album I actually mixed and mastered for net label was IG88’s “Mutual Mastication” (IDMf006) back in 2009 – and I’ll be perfectly honest with y’all 15 years later, I don’t think I had any clue what I was doing. Hopefully that isn’t too apparent LOL. I gotta give a TON of credit to Branden (IG88) for being so patient with me, as I sent masters back and forth to him over a few weeks and nervously received his very careful and crucial critical feedback. Even though he’ll never read this, I owe so so so much thanks to Permutated (the OG Golden Ears), for guiding me through the process, coaching me, and pointing me to amazing resources so I could very haphazardly give myself a crash course on post-production tips and techniques. It was all a very messy learning process, and yes, I was doing it on milk crates on my empty apartment I had just moved into, but in the end I feel we got to put out a piece of art that we were proud of.

At that point I was definitely doing too much but without that process and the help I received from artists here I wouldn’t be where I am today. The lessons of restraint in mastering slowly sunk in with me later.

Anyway blah blah blah. What I’m trying to say is that having carried the responsibilities this roll here, we see you and thank you! You really took it on gracefully. Listening through IDMf’s latest repertoire and knowing the difficulty mastering other artists’ work entails I gotta say I’m impressed, and I’m glad it’s opened doors for you to expand your resume beyond the forum/label. Beyond the listening booth. Hehehe :stuck_out_tongue:

Just felt like throwing some love and gratitude out there to you! I don’t express these sort of things enough.


I just had an interesting idea…

Since I’ve restored this old HD and found a bunch of raw unmastered wav files of old IDMf tracks, and an interesting project or competition or whatever would be providing some of them to anyone here who wants to take a crack at mastering one or two tracks or even an album themselves. Then, maybe post their master to an LB thread and let the rest of us provide critical feedback. Just an idea. I know it wouldn’t hurt for me to try to remaster some of my old work… What y’all think?

The mastering challenge thread


I used Satin on a master for the first time in 2 years last week. I’ve mostly stayed away from tape sim, but I had a track I made that due to strange production circumstances tape was a helpful mastering step.


I’ve worked with James on a few projects, and I can confidently that he’s a great partner to work with. He is responsive, efficient, and maintains high-quality work. James is highly professional and provides insightful feedback on the production process, explaining the rationale behind his adjustments in mixing and mastering. I’ve learned quite a bit from him on mastering engineering topics, which I’ve been applying to my own projects now!

Thanks for our previous collaborations again, James :slight_smile:


Funny you popped up here, I checked out the song you put up on youtube this morning and it was sounding great. I could polish it up a bit, but you’ve clearly been learning from my feedback and are leaving me less and less room for improvement.


Hah that was a little piece of something bigger I’m trying to finish up, going to try to finish an album of a similar style, hopefully 5-7 tracks. I’ll forsure hit you up after completion to get your intake on the tracks. :slight_smile: cheers !