Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

It's a Living: Buffalo Hide Mastering

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

It's a Living: Buffalo Hide Mastering

Article excerpt

Editor's note: Creative Oklahoma, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting the state's innovative economic strengths, will host this year's Creativity World Forum March 31 at the Oklahoma City Civic Center. Registration information is available at This is the first in a series of features highlighting Oklahoma's creative minds.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Chris Wylie wants his clients to focus on making great music, not fretting about how loud they are or whether a particular digital coding format will sufficiently capture tonal subtleties between tracks.

Those nitpicky little details are his concern as a mastering technician. When he does his job correctly, musicians can lose themselves in their craft and communicate directly with the audience.

Wylie believes Tulsa needs more people like him - not just lovers of music, but those with the technical expertise to share the love. He hates to hear stories about how creative types leave Tulsa or the state in search of studios to produce their work.

"There are guys in New York and California who have been doing this longer than I've been alive, whose ears are very finely tuned and they know how to manipulate any sound source to behave how they want," he said. "I would love to get to that level. But the current studio scene locally isn't very supportive of that sort of development yet. Our artists can't stay here from start to finish on a project."

Wylie works most of the day producing news content behind the camera for KJRH Channel 2 television in Tulsa. He's dabbled in performing himself, but over the years fell in love with the production side of music; he enjoyed the studio more than playing live. He picked up enough evening and weekend mastering work for friends to give his efforts a formal business name: Buffalo Hide Mastering.

In mastering, Wylie focuses on the postproduction stages of making audio records, the transition from recording and mixing phases to reproduction and distribution. The data storage device that holds the final product is referred to as the master copy or just the master. He said it's often referred to as the dark art of music engineering. …

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