What's important is a great set of objective ears, years of experience and a great room with a true sound. Look at this way: If the equipment in a studio is a high performance car, and the mastering engineer is the driver, putting the car on ice and trying to achieve a good lap time is like trying to master music in a bad room, all the equipment in the world wont help you connect with the music and let you hear what's really happening. The room is the environment in which the mix performs to its potential, as the road is to the car. It's hugely important.
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For the nerd in me, I prefer full quality digital files as they give a truer representation of the source mix, the studio in fact. From these files I can quite often tell what kind of set up made the tracks. For the music lover in me, vinyl is more woosey, richer, more alive, more real, more imperfect and somehow becoming more like life itself. But I don't prefer it per se. The mastering engineer in me always loves to hear it as it was made.
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You don't play triathlon. You play soccer; it's fun. You play baseball. Triathlon is work that you can leave you crumpled in a heap, puking on the roadside. It's the physical brutality of climbing Mount Everest without the great view from the top of the world. What kind of person keeps coming back for more of that?
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