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Way to approch SATURATION in Mastering
Old 26th January 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Way to approch SATURATION in Mastering

Hey Guys!

I want to start dealing with Saturation while Mastering. Just wanna know what's the way you aproach Saturation.(Where in chain You usually put it , how you use it and what's your fav saturation for mastering esp. Plugins )

Thanks.
Old 27th January 2012
  #2
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Saturation/distortion is very rarely useful in mastering, at least in my world. I've got the HEDD and various other tools and they stay off 19 times out of 20. They can occasionally be useful with very limp mixes when all bets are off and there's nothing much to preserve.
Old 27th January 2012
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Saturation can really increase loudness, but why is not a good idea??
Old 27th January 2012
  #4
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George Necola's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
clip AD converter. some do better then others..
Old 27th January 2012
  #5
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inlinenl's Avatar
 
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so first post you talk about saturation. third post you talk about increasing loudness ... ???

what do you want ...

saturation is not really a loudness tool, more a shaping tool , and it can mask some aspects in audio-processing ... well it all depends on what you like / the client likes ...

if you want loudness , just go for the clip preset on your limiters ..
Old 27th January 2012
  #6
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I.R.Baboon's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
I use distortion (harmonic generation) a lot in mastering, it can increase loudness, thickness, vibeyness.

Obviously not on everything, today i'm mastering a jazz piano trio and all distortion tools are staying firmly locked in their velvet lined walnut cases.
Old 27th January 2012
  #7
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Joelistics's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In mastering, i use saturation to add some depth and character to very sterile mixes that usually come from itb mixdowns.. I rarely use tape although it often does the trick and am more into a tube saturation workflow..
There are a lot of possibilities here but my favourite is probably the saturation of the Gyraf Gx compressor. It doesn't darken the sound too much and does actually increase the perceived volume by about 1db. I use it as the first compressor in the chain often without any gain reduction..
Old 27th January 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by inlinenl ➑️
so first post you talk about saturation. third post you talk about increasing loudness ... ???

what do you want ...

saturation is not really a loudness tool, more a shaping tool , and it can mask some aspects in audio-processing ... well it all depends on what you like / the client likes ...

if you want loudness , just go for the clip preset on your limiters ..
I just wanna know how u guys are using saturation , i find many times that someone was hittin' hard sat or tape plug to increase level and also compress everything, but i don't really know what is 'proper' way to use it, i'm new with all mastering thing so i'm reading a lot , and if i dont know something i'm asking someone who have years of experience.
Old 27th January 2012
  #9
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MAzevedo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Well, I think you'll find that most folks with years of experience aren't using saturation plug-ins as a general thing. I think you'll find a fair number of folks going to tape or using tube gear or gear with colorful transformers as a tone tool, but even then probably not hitting things especially hard. This feels a lot like the dozens of threads about "How do you use multiband compression?" and when there is a chorus of people saying "I don't, generally" it gets treated like folks are being evasive.
Old 27th January 2012
  #10
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wado1942's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I usually steer away from it myself. I WILL use soft clipping from time to time to tame rare, extreme transients, but that's done so the limiting that follows will be less invasive that for the mere sound of it. As a general rule, I try to avoid adding audible distortion to my clients' music.
Old 27th January 2012
  #11
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Red Mastering's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
myself- I tend to use saturation quite often,
it really depends on the mix,
today's - I had great sounding mix, new metal/deftones kind,
Culture Vulture LE, which I use for that task just messed the low end,
so I switched it off,
when I got acoustic music, well recorded, proper gain staging, clean and with big headroom - CV can do wonders,
it creates deep 3rd dimension, accent transients and adds vibe,
I also use it in parallel,
but as any other tool sometimes it works, sometimes - totally not,
during mixing stage - it's different story...
Old 27th January 2012
  #12
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
a little real/reel analog tape saturation works for us.

JT
Old 28th January 2012
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Don't approach it.
Old 4th February 2015
  #14
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vaesion's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
you can get some amazing results doing multiband saturation look up the plug in Saturn and also Decapitator. duplicate your track and isolate certain frequencies that you feel need to be enhanced or fuller, crank up the saturation on Decapitator and then blend that in to your original.
Old 4th February 2015
  #15
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Conundra's Avatar
 
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🎧 5 years
I use saturation quite a lot on EDM and find that, like Joelistics, it often gets you an extra dB or more for free with the added benefit of being able to use less limiting further down the chain.

Also it can soften transients less than a lookahead process and tends to not over emphasise transients like compression can if the material is already a little too poky in that department.

I just started using this technique (link below) in the past couple of weeks and it is really incredible. You'll need Reaper or Ableton (or a DAW that allows control and inverse control linking) but it goes to show that sometimes ITB processing can get you amazing flexibility and results that are simply not possible with outboard gear:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-Gs-o39C5o

This tutorial is a real gem (as always with videos from Dan Worrall).

Being able to target saturation (or indeed any non linear processing) to various frequency ranges in this way makes using saturation in mastering more effective and a lot of fun.

I've only used the technique with Inflator so far but I'll bet you can also do some stunning stuff with Fielding Reviver, SDRR, Varisturator, u-He Satin etc.

Cheers

Conundra
Old 4th February 2015
  #16
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🎧 15 years
I really like the Cranesong Phoenix Plugin for that purpose. Subtle enough for mastering.
Old 4th February 2015
  #17
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PitchSlap's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You could try using a few instances of Nebula "mojo" programs on the master to give some subtle character and harmonic distortion from high end analog gear.

In general, when it comes to saturation, I think most "professionals" use many layers of subtle saturation throughout the tracking/mixing stage rather than try to rely on a magic piece of gear in the mastering stage.

This article could be helpful:
Sonic Varnish | Allen Farmelo
Old 4th February 2015
  #18
Deleted 49af092
Guest
I don't do it regularly but I think multi-band saturation is the way to go.

I was very impressed with the UAD Vertigo VSM-3 plugin that just came out, I think it's by far the best saturation plugin available today. The way you can solo just the distortion to really dial it in is incredible.

FabFilter Saturn would be my next suggestion if you're on a budget and/or not a UAD user. I don't like that it has a constant subtle noise floor that can't be turned off though.

Decapitator is good too but you need to do your own techniques to split into multi-band which could lead to phase issue if you're not careful.
Old 4th February 2015
  #19
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Conundra's Avatar
 
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Yeah, I really wanted to love Saturn as the workflow and flexibility look great. Unfortunately after demoing I just didn't like the sound so ended up passing.

The Slate VBC FG-Red can be nice for some subtle saturation if you bypass the ratio and add a little drive.

Also the Slick EQ GE silky saturation output stage is nice in small doses.

I stll haven't gotten around to trying out Nebula but would like to when I get more time.

bManic said that the digital saturation mode in SDRR is extremely good. I have that but it's been gathering digital dust since I bought it. I need to brush it off and see what it has to offer on full program material.

Anyone else know of any saturation plugins that can be subtle enough for mastering?

Cheers

Conundra
Old 4th February 2015 | Show parent
  #20
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stinkyfingers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conundra ➑️
Anyone else know of any saturation plugins that can be subtle enough for mastering?
airwindows drive.
Old 4th February 2015 | Show parent
  #21
Deleted 49af092
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Conundra ➑️

Anyone else know of any saturation plugins that can be subtle enough for mastering?

Conundra
I was hoping that Plugin Alliance/Brainworx would do a native version of the Vertigo VSM-3 that Brainworx did for UAD but so far, it's UAD only. It's so great that if PA released a native version I'd buy it again so I can use it outside the UAD platform.

If you're not currently a UAD user and looking for a subtle mastering saturator, I'd strongly consider getting one of the less expensive UAD cards to try it out. It's one of the more DSP hungry UAD plugins but even the UAD solo can run 2 instances.

The flexibility of the UAD Vertigo VSM-3 is like no other and it goes from subtle to extreme quite well.

This also reminds me that Brainworx has it's own bx_saturator plugin that I didn't like as much as the VSM-3 but it could suit your needs.

Can't stress enough how great the Vertigo VSM-3 plugin is.

Last edited by Deleted 49af092; 4th February 2015 at 03:42 PM..
Old 4th February 2015
  #22
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by edneysis ➑️
Hey Guys!

I want to start dealing with Saturation while Mastering. Just wanna know what's the way you aproach Saturation.(Where in chain You usually put it , how you use it and what's your fav saturation for mastering esp. Plugins )

Thanks.
Saturation, like most things "mastering" is over hyped and overrated. But if you like to saturate things, use a quality audio tape recorder...
Old 4th February 2015
  #23
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Conundra's Avatar
 
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🎧 5 years
It depends on the genre and the material.

All non linear processing can add harmonic distortion and engineers become familiar with the sonic fingerprint imparted by certain processors. That gives intuition when hearing material as to what piece of gear is likely to help in any given situation.

So, actually, with the right touch and approach, saturation in mastering is a very valid and useful tool imo

On delicate jazz, ambient or classical, probably not, but elsewhere and used correctly it can add richness and detail where it's needed without adversely affecting dynamics.

Cheers

Conundra
Old 6th February 2015
  #24
Deleted 691ca21
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I will occasionally hit the transformers in the analogue chain a little harder for saturation, but very rarely do it in digital.
Old 6th February 2015
  #25
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inlinenl's Avatar
 
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hit it until it breaks !


Old 6th February 2015
  #26
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finetuner's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
^ nice one Wim ;-)


There's the occasional peak clipping at the ADC, switching on the output transformer of one of my analog eq's twice a year and running a master through tape once in 2 years. That's about as much as saturation I'll apply.

When an obvious grainy type saturation is called for, I'd rather suggest doing that selectively at the mixing stage because saturating a whole mix quickly sounds degraded to me. YMMV
Old 6th February 2015
  #27
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
Saturation is more make-up gain from an ANALOG DEVICE (i.e. Compressor) driving an AD
DIGITAL saturation emulation sounds nothing like that at all.
IMHO all that non linear ITB stuff sounds artifical and degrades the mix. less is more and if you want to drive, drive analogue either to tape, or tubes or mixbus into a decent AD
Old 6th February 2015
  #28
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inlinenl's Avatar
 
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here we pushed it all on to the right_side_edge of the spectrum ...

Old 22nd April 2015
  #29
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Conundra's Avatar
 
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🎧 5 years
Looks like the VSM-3 went native without many of us noticing!

Plugin Alliance :: News - PLUGIN ALLIANCE

Cheers

Conundra
Old 22nd April 2015
  #30
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Synchronia's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Cranesong HEDD here for saturation (light clipping or dsp processing, usually pentode and/or tape at approx. 2), sometimes proper gain from API 2500.
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