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Mastering
Old 21st January 2003
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Mastering

Mastering question
How do you (big guys) get that big stereo wide image on recordings?. Plugs+outboard comb...?

I would appreciate some comments about procedures and the massive passive eq; anyone has got one?
ctmix
Old 22nd January 2003
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The image is made in mixing, not mastering.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks jay, Mixing is the most inportant sure but I need to open a little more a track that I was mixed in another studio to remaster and I Β΄d like to know any ideas out there.

cheers
Old 22nd January 2003
  #4
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
stereo imaging

I'm by no means a mastering "expert", but I'm pretty sure the experts use an MS matrix to accentuate the out of phase material. Also, some compressors do this naturally, but I'm not sure why.

I'd love to hear the details from someone who knows from experience.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #5
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sounds like it needs to be mixed again

MS techniques can increase the impression of stereo width, but they tend to mess up the phase and EQ of the mix.

It's best to get it right in the mix. The best mastering is when there's nothing broken to be fixed.

I never put plug-ins on the 2-bus, personally...some folks do, but I prefer an analog outboard chain.

We have a Massive Passive (stereo tube EQ) here and I use it mainly on vocals while mixing. Sometimes I'll use it on the 2 bus when mastering something. I wouldn't see it as useful for stereo image enlargement, unless you EQ differently left and right (maybe for a Beatles-style mix...).

Good luck!
Old 22nd January 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
MS techniques allways go at the cost of phase. To be used with much care imho. And so easy to get tempted to add more.

Wideners / spreaders / whatever .... I keep away from them.
Old 23rd January 2003
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Jack the Bear's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
All of the above are absolutely right. The ME is not a re-mixer (although we get asked to do some stupid unattainable things at times).

I'm assuming that a re-mix is not possible here for whatever reason, so the use of M/S eq and or compression may be helpful. Remember you WILL experience some phase anomolies. You may find you'll be taking one step forward and one step back. I've found M/S to be more useful when I'm cutting lacquers.

I'm amazed how many MEs default to widening, because it has that certain wow factor. Not to mention defaulting to stoopid LOUD by smashing a mix to pieces in the oddysey to cut the loudest CD irrespective of fidelity. Maybe a case of penis envy?? Besides ever thought the mix engineer may have purposely mixed the choon wanting a more conservative width?? There's nothing in the rulebook to say it's mandatory to have it in extreme panoramic mode.

An ME is really there to get your mixes from whatever format you deliver it, ready for production. Sure you don't always get the luxury of impeccable mixes, but the integity of the mix is paramount.

Chris Lord Alge and Bob Ludwig are two guys at the top in their respective fields. Lord Alge will make a ****load more loot to do an album than what Ludwig would to master it. There's a reason for this. Mixing takes longer than mastering and it is CRUCIAL to having a great sounding record. Yeah we need a great song, performance etc, but it's the mix that'll make or break it.

Bob Ludwig is a genius in my book, but even he can't make strawberry jam outta cow****!!

Subtlety is the key.

As far as the Massive Passive eq is concerned, I find it to be a very useful color box for more "broadstroke" applications. It's a very powerful eq and you'll find it sensational when working on those thinner of digital mixes. Nice and beefy and plenty of grunt where you need it. The shelves are great.
It's not a surgical device, ala GML, Millenia etc but many a mastering studio now own one and have become quite common place.

I wouldn't put it on top of my list if I was starting a new room, but there would definitely be a reserved sign in the rack for the future.

Cheers,

Tony Mantz.
Glorified tape copy boy.
Old 23rd January 2003
  #8
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
The image is made in mixing, not mastering.
The precursor to mixing is, of course, tracking. Tracking is when the biggest opportunities to either nail or mess up a mix before you ever get it started happen. Spatial assignments answer to the choices and results made from tracking. When you start recording, you should have at least some train of thought as to how all the tracks are forming as a mix. I won't get into already having a vocabulary of sounds in your head from which to reference the composition of your mix, but that's even more important.

So I'd add that mixing owes it all to tracking first, and mixing is hopefully going on the entire time except for mastering which owes everything to both.

The Massive Passive is a texture, color, attitude, overall "mix aura" box. I can't recommend any techniques or tricks for using it except to go with what you hear (same old answer, different day). While it makes broad strokes, it is: 1) hard to make things sound extremely bad with (unless you're trying to), 2) is rather obvious in its effects on whatever you're treating. Distinct.
Old 23rd January 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
jazzius's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
ok, i can see where this is going..........what good is top mastering, mixing and tracking if the musicians aren't hitting it right?..........a great drummer can make the ****tiest of kits sound good, while a bad drummer etc etc etc........but then what good are good musicians if the song is ****ty.............

1.song
2.performance
3.tracking
4.mixing
5.mastering
6.colour of underwareyuktyy
Old 24th January 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
jazzius's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
er...i think i meant underwearyuktyy
Old 24th January 2003
  #11
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jax


So I'd add that mixing owes it all to tracking first, and mixing is hopefully going on the entire time except for mastering which owes everything to both.

The Massive Passive is a texture, color, attitude, overall "mix aura" box. I can't recommend any techniques or tricks for using it except to go with what you hear (same old answer, different day). While it makes broad strokes, it is: 1) hard to make things sound extremely bad with (unless you're trying to), 2) is rather obvious in its effects on whatever you're treating. Distinct.
I'll have to disagree a little on this one.

Yeah in theory having great tracks to work with makes the mixing job easier, but nowadays it is not as crucial. I think one of the qualifications nowadays for a mixing engineer is to be able to "polish the turd". With all the tools available today it makes the job much easier.

Personally nowadays when I get a track to mix that I didn't track(vocal wise) i expect it to have some kind of issue. Mentally I am prepared for anything that gets thrown my way. So you have to not only have the tools, but also the now how on how to use the modern technology to be able to repair problems in tracking. That is one reason personally the whole "analog vs. digital" thing is a moot point. Somewhere along the line they both will meet, so why agonize over it.

I also find that the new "guerilla mastering guys" are taking the same approach. That is why they are getting the work. They welcome the challenges and pains on their turn to"polish the turd". If the original poster wants help on making mixes wider afterwards than he will find it eventually(there are certain techniques that help by the way besides M/S). This is a common problem with people that mix their music themselves(and guys that also claim they know what they are doing), so if he discovers it they will go to him. I think by telling him that it should be done before(which I gather he knows already) or that it should be remixed is doing him a diservice.

Now by no way am I excusing poorly recorded music or mixes. This is a topic on itself. Its just if you want to keep working professionally nowadays, I think a more open mind is just as valuable.

Just an opinion.
Old 25th January 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
AudioGaff's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I also agree with Thrillfactor. In fact when things are slow or when I am bored, or need to brush up my skills on using certain techniques and gear, I will take the challange to Polish Turds for both mixing and/or budget mastering/sweetings. Since I know there is always something that I can do to make it better, it is a good workout and ego booster. I am often amazed at how this kind of work leads to new clients by someone who let them hear and compare the results of before and after. I also find polishing turds can lead to new discovery of things that pay off for me later and can only add to my experience. But it is hard to tolerate on a regular bassis. I'm afraid that with the advent of the small home studio and PC with a soundcard in every ******s bedroom or garage, polishing turds will become (or already has become) a more routine way of studio business to make income and thus require it's own unique, vital skills that the engineer will need to master.

Let us all hail the Polished Turd...
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