What’s common between usability and music mastering? 22:39 on Thursday

Having interest in both music and usability, I noticed how well Jakob Nielsen’s description of important skills of usability specialists applies to music mastering engineers. Both usability and mastering engineers work hard to make the result more pleasurable for the end user or listener. In both fields of work experience is the most important “skill”, and experience can only be acquired by doing it, by listening to a broad variety of users or pieces of music.

The accumulating experience helps to spot patterns. As Jakob Nielsen puts it:

It’s a matter of being very good at pattern matching, being able to spot small things, and hold together the big picture of what that really means.

The job of the mastering engineer is to spot problems in individual tracks while maintaining a vision of the track as a whole, but also maintain the big picture of an album and how the individual tracks fit there. That’s where the patterns help, matching old solutions to new problems.

File this one under pointless philosophy at 11pm, but that’s what blogs are for, aren’t they?

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