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What mastering methods do you use?
Old 7th October 2012 | Show parent
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie.machete ➑️
Slap a Kramer tape plug on the master on preset kik in your face and a waves l2 + maximizer and be done with it. Or you could do what most sane producers do and concentrate on producing and leave mastering to those who have spent years concentrating on just mastering. Its not an add on skill to production as some might want to think. They also a lot of the time use tools us producers have never even heard of. If your not releasing on a label but want the sound of a label release you need to think about the process. It always ends with a professional mastering engineer. Rates are doable for someone on minimum wage with a little saving so just do it once and

sent from the future
good advice. As long as I have been recording music (20 years) proper mastering is still something I find hardest to grasp. Everyone should at least once pay $30-50 to have a track mastered professionally, if only to see if you think you can do better. It makes a lot of sense if you don't own some uber-expensive 'magic boxes' or if you don't have the moxy to learn the absolute ins and outs of frequency and volume. It's hard enough to mix a track properly.
Old 7th October 2012
  #32
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🎧 5 years
My method is imagination and then i start to achieve the sound that is in my and the clients head.

This is most often trying many things, coming back, A/B comparison... At the end the client must be satisfy. People have different preferences especially singers pay more heed to vocals, gutar players to guitars... producers pay more attention to the whole thing. This can get really interesting with bands and their different opinions. So sometimes it is also a path of two or more versions to achieve the perfect "master" but it always pays off.

At the end lowering the volume of the master to the volume of the original file - listening - is always good.
A good master sounds better or if the mix already sounded good it should sound at least as good at the same loudness.

There are a lot of things that can be improved instead loudness.

,.-' Aaron '-.,
Old 13th October 2012 | Show parent
  #33
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🎧 5 years
This kind of seemed to work but...

Luckily I still had Camtasia with me, which brought up the volume of the tracks high enough to rival some of the "high-quality" tracks. I still would need to learn how to make sure that my tracks' volumes are increased without any noise.

I heard mastering is much easier with GarageBand. That true?
Old 13th October 2012 | Show parent
  #34
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
The problem is I need both maximum loudness and dynamics at the same time. If the tracks aren't loud enough, no one can hear a thing, let alone calling it a good piece of music, and I need to increase the volume of my tracks and make all the parts be heard at the same time.
I am no mastering engineer but what you just described sounds physically impossible.

I am not sure what you mean in the latter part of the text. Possible arrangement issue? In any case, the classic "Do it yourself loudness mastering" is just slapping some limiter in the master buss and have couple dbs of GR at the loudest parts. In short at least.
Old 13th October 2012 | Show parent
  #35
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Well here's the thing, you can't have both. Pick one - either maximum loudness (at the expense of dynamics) or dynamics (at the expense of maximum loudness). There's usually a 'point of no return' where you can attain a reasonable balance of both. Welcome to mastering 101 (and the laws of physics).

If your tracks aren't loud enough, have you tried turning up the volume on your playback system? That's what it's there for.

Other than that, it sounds like a tracking and/or mixing issue. Well recorded tracks are present, full and dynamic, as is a finely crafted mix. It sounds like you have neither, and are trying to "master" something that really isn't ready for it.

Quite a few people have offered you good advice, but you don't seem interested in listening to it. Maybe hire someone to master the track for you and attend the session to see what happens, and how it ends up sounding? You may even get some constructive feedback on the rest of your production skillz. ;-)

Just trying to help,
Thor


Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
The problem is I need both maximum loudness and dynamics at the same time. If the tracks aren't loud enough, no one can hear a thing, let alone calling it a good piece of music, and I need to increase the volume of my tracks and make all the parts be heard at the same time.
Old 14th October 2012 | Show parent
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie.machete ➑️
Slap a Kramer tape plug on the master on preset kik in your face and a waves l2 + maximizer and be done with it.



sorry, above said is really really great bs.
Old 14th October 2012
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteaxxxe ➑️


sorry, above said is really really great bs.
Of course it is. How could you miss the sarcasm when I went on to say pay a professional mastering engineer straight after.

sent from the future
Old 31st October 2012
  #38
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🎧 5 years
Okay, just got Sound Forge 10. All I need to do is match the volume of the tracks to madeon's recent ones without letting it make any noise or at least get rid of the noise by the time I've finished with all the process. I still need to be able to hear every instrument and match with madeon's loudness at the same time.

Don't really say it's impossible to have both because many of the artists I know have both dynamics and loudness maximized.
Old 31st October 2012
  #39
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So what we've garnered from this thread is:

1) Garageband is the best mastering platform.
2) You should get professionally mastered only to see if you think you can do better.
3) Professional mastering uses "magic boxes".
4) Deadmau5 and Madeon are mastering benchmarks.
5) The new hipster handle for "tracks", is "lanes".
6) The best place to learn to be a mastering engineer is on YouTube.
7) When a newb asks a question, DON'T say it's impossible, because it isn't.

Good info.
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Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #40
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
Okay, just got Sound Forge 10. All I need to do is match the volume of the tracks to madeon's recent ones without letting it make any noise or at least get rid of the noise by the time I've finished with all the process. I still need to be able to hear every instrument and match with madeon's loudness at the same time.

Don't really say it's impossible to have both because many of the artists I know have both dynamics and loudness maximized.
ahhhh!

You mean they're apparently dynamic and loud. Yes - I get that. But a lot of that is the type of track and the particular arrangement. Careful arrangement nd mix gets a track a long way towards its loudness potential. In other words - you can't make any track loud and dynamic.

You can make some tracks apparently dynamic and loud.
Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #41
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If you couldn't get the results you wanted from Wavelab, I don't think Soundforge 10 is going to help you much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
For now, I compress the file twice, making three lanes. The first one is the original track, the second one has a bit of compression on it, and the third one has even more compression. Then I apply the UV-something (that is used for mastering, according to Cubase) on all three tracks. I know I have to do multiple compressions but I have no clue how I'm supposed to do that.
You don't HAVE to do multiple compressions. You can theoretically use none. If you don't know why you have to (or don't know how), just use one compressor and make it sound great.

Just wondering- are you trying to master the three tracks in a Cubase project, or are you trying to master one stereo wav file from those three tracks? You should be doing the latter.

Oh, and the UV something is the UV-22 dithering plugin. If you're mastering a 24 bit file that's something you need to do. If you're doing 16-bit you probably don't need to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
Don't really say it's impossible to have both because many of the artists I know have both dynamics and loudness maximized.
To me, dynamics means "loud AND quiet". Loudness means "just plain loud". To achieve both, I think Narcoman is right- your arrangement should have louder and quieter parts. Nail those in your mix THEN go for loudness in the master.

And to be honest, I think the OP knows what he wants, but just doesn't have a clue what to do. If you're doing this for fun and learning, go for it. If you want more of a final product, don't waste your time. Let someone else show you what to do. You will get much better results and will learn a lot in the process.
Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInOttawa ➑️
the UV something is the UV-22 dithering plugin. If you're mastering a 24 bit file that's something you need to do. If you're doing 16-bit you probably don't need to.
Dithering to your destination bit depth is mutually exclusive to the bit depth of your source audio and that of the digital processing. But it's also the least important issue in this thread by far.

Learn by doing and many countless hours of listening and, more often than not, by keeping things simple. Most of the best sounding mastering projects are more simple than most here would believe. Knowing what not to do, and when, is arguably more valid than any processing. And every project is a clean slate.

Loudness? There's no loud without soft. The rest is the craft of "maximum illusion/minimum voltage" in the recording and mixing process.
Old 31st October 2012
  #43
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🎧 10 years
linear phase EQ, peak compression, tape saturation, stereo widener, RMS bus compression, Brickwall limiter. That's what my chain looks like
Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dene ➑️
...it is more than that...
I like to call it "loudness potential" ( I have no clue what it is really called)
but every track has limitations on how loud it can be made based on the sounds within, the arrangement, etc.,
Of course a good mix will help big time...
and there are reasons why pro ME's can do a better job...
But if your goal is to make music as loud as another artist you need to start by looking at how their sounds are arranged to maximize their "loudness potential".
Or...you can concentrate on making great music...your call...
This is so sad. Creativity I like to think of in too ways: working in the confines of a theme/idea (exploring it), or pure freedom (trying anything). But when you have to start making sacrifices in the name of loudness, it's no wonder why people think everything sounds the same. There are only so many tricks that work.

It reminds me of "meta" gaming: the builds that are the most efficient and most powerful. There are only a handful of these two and once everybody starts using them, the game gets stale.
Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #45
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman ➑️
ahhhh!

You mean they're apparently dynamic and loud. Yes - I get that. But a lot of that is the type of track and the particular arrangement. Careful arrangement nd mix gets a track a long way towards its loudness potential. In other words - you can't make any track loud and dynamic.

You can make some tracks apparently dynamic and loud.
What kind of instruments I use and the number of instruments I use have nothing to do with it... right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInOttawa ➑️
And to be honest, I think the OP knows what he wants, but just doesn't have a clue what to do. If you're doing this for fun and learning, go for it. If you want more of a final product, don't waste your time. Let someone else show you what to do. You will get much better results and will learn a lot in the process.
I am doing this by serious means but I do not have the money to have someone else do the mastering. Plus it's very helpful so I should learn how to do that myself anyway. That means I have to do the mastering myself and it has to match with madeon.

Oh, what I meant by "dynamics" I pretty much meant, "being able to hear every main and minute instrument in the song"... is there another word for it? As for loud and soft parts I normally just have an intro fading in via filter called Tonic. The rest is usually all-out.

Therefore, I need to be able to hear every minute instrument playing and the whole song has to match up with what madeon does, without letting it have any noise. I've begun using what's called Wave Hammer, I think, and I managed to get a little closer, but...

Feel free to put up Sound Forge tutorials. I've just installed Sound Forge 10.
Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #46
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pluginslut's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverking ➑️
So what we've garnered from this thread is:

1) Garageband is the best mastering platform.
2) You should get professionally mastered only to see if you think you can do better.
3) Professional mastering uses "magic boxes".
4) Deadmau5 and Madeon are mastering benchmarks.
5) The new hipster handle for "tracks", is "lanes".
6) The best place to learn to be a mastering engineer is on YouTube.
7) When a newb asks a question, DON'T say it's impossible, because it isn't.

Good info.
Old 31st October 2012
  #47
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All this "you must use a mastering engineer" is just a fad and people trying to drum up business.

No, I'm joking - mastering is about transferability, the very best equipment and particularly the very best ears, monitors and room. It's designed above all to get rid of the problem of you doing a perfect mix at home, then hearing it somewhere else and going "it shouldnt sound like that... i didnt mean to make it like that..." etc. - to solve all that you DO need the very best of the above, and even if you have Β£30,000 worth of outboard and monitors, a second pair of ears is equally valuable probably.

That aside, I think it's wrong for people to say that, if you're def. not going to send your track (/every track) to a mastering engineer, you should do nothing on the 2-buss. True, many amateur mixes are ruined when amateurs try to "master" them in the sense of doing anything on the master buss.

But it's wrong to pretend there are no good rules / guidelines when trying to do this difficult task for tracks you know you wont be sending to a mastering engineer.

Tips i'd suggest are

- as others have said, the mix is the secret. If your kickdrum peaks 5 bd louder than everything else, using the mix buss to fix it will create a mess. If your hathats stick out painfully and suck, using master eq to fix it will be a mess. etc.
- use the minimum number of plugins and use each for a purpose
- try and make sure each only changes the mix by a small amount, you want a number of small layers each of which is solid gold, NOT the best limiter turned up to match deadmaus. That way lies ruined mixes and worst of all mixes it will take you months to realise that you've ruined. This is why there is advice all over the internet "always save an mp3/wav of your track with NO mastering plugins".
- look at subtle compression, subtle limiting, subtle mid-side eqing, look at parallel compression (i normally use sends rather than multiple audiofiles of the track), look at reverb on a send (very, very carefully), look at eq of course, and look at getting a good limiter but use is only very very slightly.
- REFERENCE with multiple other tracks that you like and that you know are well produced. Learn how to use match eq. Mix clips of e.. 2 bars of the chorus of youre favourite comparable pro-track with 2 bars of the chorus of your own track, bounce/burn a file that just repeats each clip. I often do e.g. song A/my song looped 3 times, then song B/my song, looped three times, i.e. A/B/A/B/A/B [pause] A/C/A/C/A/C where A is a 5-10 second clip of my track, and B and C are tiny clips of pro tracks that are similar and that i like.

So.... those are some tips for you!

If you remember two things I'd say only look for a tiny (but definatley very good) change from each plugin, and A/B always, break for an hour, close your eyes and bypass/un-bypass the plugin, which sounds best to you? Dont kid yourself, good plugin does not equal better sound, for amateurs the opposite is true far more often than not.
Old 31st October 2012 | Show parent
  #48
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MikeInOttawa's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
Therefore, I need to be able to hear every minute instrument playing and the whole song has to match up with what madeon does, without letting it have any noise. I've begun using what's called Wave Hammer, I think, and I managed to get a little closer, but...

Feel free to put up Sound Forge tutorials. I've just installed Sound Forge 10.[/FONT]
Hard to say what you should do without hearing your song. How many instruments are you using simultaneously? Maybe use the standard techniques for separating them- panning, different timbres, reverb, different octaves. Those are more of a mixing thing than a mastering thing of course.

Not sure what you mean by "without letting it have any noise" either. Hiss/distortion?

Whatever you do, I think trying to keep things simple is best for now. When you're mastering use 1) one stereo compressor, 2) EQ, 3) Brickwall limiter. If you try using a multiband compressor, a clipper, EQ, another compressor, another EQ, then a limiter (an extreme example but stuff like that is done) you're probably gonna get mush.
Old 1st November 2012 | Show parent
  #49
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Andrew Kinsey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Like everyone else has said id recommend taking your tracks to a proper ME, there really is no substitute and to get the kind of ressults that they would get will certainly be close to impossible without years of experience and the rights tools to get the job done properly.

The main issue alot of the time is that if you mix down the project yourself, and your more of a producer than a mix engineer you may not realise exactly whats needed to improve the loudness potential of your mix before it even gets to the mastering stage.

Then because you do your own mastering, the problems never get realized and fixed in the mix, or the master and what you get left with is something that doesn't sound as good as it could of done, and at every stage of the process.

A mastering engineer who is good a what he does will tell you how to improve the mix to get more loudness potential if that's what you want, or if the mix is fine he'll just get on with it.

Another point is that if your tune is good enough to get released, the label will get it mastered properly anyway.

Main thing is to make a good tune that sounds good. No one will care if its not as loud as Madeon, and a DJ can allways turn it up when mixing the two together so that in the end the more dynamic mix will sound bigger anyway.


Old 1st November 2012 | Show parent
  #50
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47radAR's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️

Therefore, I need to be able to hear every minute instrument playing...
Then I think your best course of action would be to remix the song as this should be accomplished BEFORE mastering.
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Old 1st November 2012 | Show parent
  #51
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🎧 5 years
Some of the advice in this thread is disastrous for an aspiring engineer.

That being said, OP, I'd suggest not even thinking about mastering right now. You should be mixing so that you are 100% satisfied with your mixes (with the exception of how loud they are). Mastering isn't going to take a mediocre mix and make it great. And in the most sincere, unoffending way, the fact that you don't know the terms "buss" or "mixing" means you are far from learning how to properly master a track. It is nothing to be ashamed of, though. After all, ALL engineers started somewhere.
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Old 1st November 2012
  #52
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Madeons stuff is not mastered professionally at all he does it all in fl himself am not implying it's good but he does it all himself as does deadmau5

Am not sure what you're interpreting as "dynamic"as i can assure you madeons track are beyond smashed and by no means sound consistent across different playback systems due to the heavy handed processing approach alot of these "complextro" (shudders) artists take

You want this sound?,it's all in the mix getting extremely heavy handed with the already none exsistent dynamics by smashing the shizzle out of things with multiband maximisers and saturation.liberal is the operative word here.subtlety wont get you anywhere

The only dynamic that is created in this kind of music is the sidechain you could include the modulations etc but as most of them gravitate to smashing every nuance of the modulation into the ceilling it's not worth mentioning


Johnynotknow

Sent from my HTC ChaCha A810e
Old 1st November 2012 | Show parent
  #53
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnynotknow ➑️
Madeons stuff is not mastered professionally at all he does it all in fl himself am not implying it's good but he does it all himself as does deadmau5
I've noticed quite a few Madeon tracks not sounding good in clubs. Deadmau5 always seems good though.
Old 1st November 2012
  #54
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
What are the methods you use to apply mastering on your tracks with Cubase 5 alone? The method I'm using right now is putting the track in three times and applying compression on two of them (one has a bit of compression and the other is compressed by double the amount). Then I just use the mastering plugins on all of them.

The problem is, regardless of what I'm exporting, the final tracks always turn out to be quieter than deadmau5's and madeon's tracks (not sure if it's a different case with my current method applied or not).
Based on your technique you should get a white noise generator. That will get you the quickest where you are heading.
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Old 2nd November 2012
  #55
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🎧 5 years
Well anybody can master a song if you understand the way of how the audio works but if you want to take your music to the next level then hire a PRO mastering engineer.
Old 3rd November 2012 | Show parent
  #56
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInOttawa ➑️
Hard to say what you should do without hearing your song. How many instruments are you using simultaneously? Maybe use the standard techniques for separating them- panning, different timbres, reverb, different octaves. Those are more of a mixing thing than a mastering thing of course.

Not sure what you mean by "without letting it have any noise" either. Hiss/distortion?

Whatever you do, I think trying to keep things simple is best for now. When you're mastering use 1) one stereo compressor, 2) EQ, 3) Brickwall limiter. If you try using a multiband compressor, a clipper, EQ, another compressor, another EQ, then a limiter (an extreme example but stuff like that is done) you're probably gonna get mush.


Electronic house is not my usual musical genre... although it is very similar. I just couldn't record any guitar or bass tracks in this one because I was forced to ditch all my gear and go to Texas at the time (it was last summer).

Still it sounded pretty good and I began experimenting with it via Sound Forge last week. I used one piano track, one cello track, one percussion track, two emphasis lines, three triangular lead patches, one track with Acid Bass preset (which I turned into a lead preset), the little tremolo thing, and I think there were more tracks than that but I forgot.

This is like half the volume of Icarus by Madeon. TT_TT
Old 3rd November 2012 | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotchontheRocks ➑️
Some of the advice in this thread is disastrous for an aspiring engineer.

That being said, OP, I'd suggest not even thinking about mastering right now. You should be mixing so that you are 100% satisfied with your mixes (with the exception of how loud they are). Mastering isn't going to take a mediocre mix and make it great. And in the most sincere, unoffending way, the fact that you don't know the terms "buss" or "mixing" means you are far from learning how to properly master a track. It is nothing to be ashamed of, though. After all, ALL engineers started somewhere.
Well I know that. :< I did get the mixing part down, I just need to get it louder without causing any unwanted noise.
Old 3rd November 2012 | Show parent
  #58
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If I was using just Cubase as per the original post, the methods I would use would be the ones that provoke emails like this one I received yesterday:

"This is a magnificient, inspiring, "analogue-sounding", warm, involving master."

Although I use Nuendo. I guess using a professional ME is just a fad though.
Old 3rd November 2012 | Show parent
  #59
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
Well I know that. :< I did get the mixing part down, I just need to get it louder without causing any unwanted noise.
I'm assuming you mean "distortion" when you say "noise." How balanced your mix is will determine how "loud" it can be without terrible artifacts. Make sure dynamics are tamed, there are no lumps or gouges in the frequency spectrum, and the stereo field is well balanced. The worse a mix is, the less you can push it through a limiter without hearing artifacts.
Old 3rd November 2012 | Show parent
  #60
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JVFM's Avatar
The music itself tell you how loud she 'll fit, not everything is commercial level.
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