Zino tweaking outboard

The Art of Listening

– Mastering songs with Zino Mikorey

„Mastering, a form of audio post production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device (the master), the source from which all copies will be produced.” At least that’s what wikipedia claims it to be. 

To Zino Mikorey, mastering is much more than that. To him, mastering is the last creative step in the process. The last chance for the artist and the production team to make changes to the songs – both, sonically and emotionally. 

As a former music producer and mixing engineer, Zino developed the ability to listen to the final mixes from a musical as well as a technical standpoint. His focus being to find out what a song needs in order to make it shine. Sometimes it needs a lot of treatment and sound tweaks, sometimes you need to go back to the mix or the production state. Sometimes it is already where it’s supposed to be. In each scenario, it is the ability to sense the artists vision for a song, allowing him to make decisions that help the project. 

In addition, his musical background helps communicating with artists on a very effective and enjoyable level. Which, among others, might be the reason why artists like Nils Frahm, the Parcels, Olafur Arnalds and many more trust Zino to master their records.

In the Studio

Zino invited us to his studio in the Forster Straße in Berlin Kreuzberg to talk about music, the technical aspects of his job as an Engineer and his overall philosophy on mastering. His studio is in a studio complex which houses a number of production rooms, mix studios and space for other creatives. His studio is a very well thought out room, sounds beautifully balanced and has a great vibe. There is a carefully selected set of outboard units, converters, speakers – every detail is optimized for perfect sound. 

What stuck: Zino is truly in love with good sound. Good sound that serves the song and the artists vision.

For more information, have a look at Zino’s website.

For Gear Nerds

During our visit, it became obvious that Zino’s studio is an always evolving system. He’s always looking for the best stuff that’s around. So here’s only a short list of the key elements:

1/ Monitoring: Hearing is believing. Zino’s room is a custom built front to back room designed by Thomas Jouanjean of Northward Acoustics. He trusts his flush mounted ATC SCM 110 ASL in conjunction with a Custom Mo Stern 2 x 18 inch dipol subwoofer. Monitoring through Crane Song Converters and a Maselec Mastering Console.

2/ Software: The main workhorse is Avid Pro Tools, izotope’s RX7 is used for delivering the different master formats and codecs. When it comes to plugins, he has a signature EQ plugin made by Acustica Audio (Azure). We spotted some plugins by FabFilter, dmg audio, izotope – but obviously there are plenty of options.

3/ Converter: The core of the system is the Pure 2 A/D-Converter by Antelope paired with the Antelope 10m Clock. The Pure 2 offers crystal clean conversion with nice clipping properties.

4/ Outboard: A fine selection of analog and digital gear. Among others there is outboard made by Knif Audio, Rupert Neve Designs, Maselec, the list goes on…

If you made it till here, you may want to check out the equipment list on Zino’s Website. 🙂