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What mastering methods do you use?
Old 11th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
What mastering methods do you use?

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).
Old 11th September 2012
  #2
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🎧 10 years
the method where I pay a professional mastering engineer to do it for me, sounds like that's what you should do too. Can't really follow your post but are you saying that you're compressing the master "track" three times? Then "just using mastering plugins" on it after?? overkill maybe??
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Old 11th September 2012
  #3
VST
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I use pretty much all of them, whenever necessary of course.
Old 11th September 2012
  #4
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Your question is pretty vague but speaking in terms of loudness most of that will come from your mixing process before hitting the 2buss. IMO most/all of your channels should be compressed and limited before going to the master channel, whether you do that on individual channels or sub busses is up to you. This will also help keep stray transients from triggering your 2 buss comps aswell.
Old 11th September 2012
  #5
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Just throwing a different viewpoint in --

I don't mix often anymore, but it happens. I wouldn't suggest using compressors and limiters ANYWHERE unless they actually serve the mix. And NEVER for the sake of loudness alone.

There is little doubt on this end -- The MOST dynamic mixes -- made with the MOST care and headroom at every possible phase of production, are the ones that have the most "volume potential" almost without fail.

Mixes that come in "pre-crushed" usually go out sounding "crushed" and not sounding too healthy.

I know that doesn't help the OP's original and unanswerable question --

You do what serves the mix - You do what the mix guides you to do.

Granted -- I don't think a mix has ever guided me to do what you're doing... That said, you seem obsessed with 'volume' - which is only a small part of the mastering process. It's usually the part where a lot of people spend the most effort -- but it's the most effortless part on the mixes that "deserve" it.
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Old 11th September 2012
  #6
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There aren't many mastering engineers doing their mastering work on multitrack software. It's not the best workflow/processing for many reasons.

95% of the time, I need a good EQ and MAYBE some compression, followed by limiting. There's no multiple import or parallel processing of any kind unless it's to serve a very specific reason, which is rare.
Old 11th September 2012
  #7
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I don't know any mastering engineer that works with Cubase but from the sound of it the DAW is not the problem here ....maybe you should sit down with a ME and see what he says. You need a good mix for a good (and loud) master.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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Laurend's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misjah ➑️
...You need a good mix for a good (and loud) master.
+1
Don't think about mastering before you're perfectly satisfied with your mix.
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Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by misjah ➑️
I don't know any mastering engineer that works with Cubase but from the sound of it the DAW is not the problem here ....maybe you should sit down with a ME and see what he says. You need a good mix for a good (and loud) master.
...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...
Old 11th September 2012
  #10
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Search & destroy.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wado1942 ➑️
There aren't many mastering engineers doing their mastering work on multitrack software. It's not the best workflow/processing for many reasons.
I don't agree.

My hands feel tied when using normal mastering software.

I'm mastering in Protools HD. With Wavelab for the arrange/PQ-coding/DDP etc.

The routing and automation features in most applications I worked on that are geared towards the mastering market feel very crippled.

Not that you need it too often, but when, it's all there.

But it has been a while (except for Wavelab). Maybe the applications catched up in that regard.

I've never looked back though.
Old 11th September 2012
  #12
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Thor's Avatar
 
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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).
If you're gonna compete with deadmau5 & madeon you'll probably need to crush 4 or 5 tracks at a time. Who knows maybe even 6.

Hammer time..?
Old 22nd September 2012
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Well, what I'm trying to do is find the best method to mastering using Cubase alone (because I cannot afford anything else, yes I will have to do the mastering myself) but the responses I am getting are too confusing. I mean... busses? mixing? I just don't get it. @[email protected]

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.

I think the primary problem, though, is that the final track is always quieter than popular modern-day tracks.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #14
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I think you need to learn some basics aspects, no ofense. Meaby you could book a real Mastering session and learn some things about
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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Riccardo's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
Well, what I'm trying to do is find the best method to mastering using Cubase alone (because I cannot afford anything else, yes I will have to do the mastering myself) but the responses I am getting are too confusing. I mean... busses? mixing? I just don't get it. @[email protected]

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.

I think the primary problem, though, is that the final track is always quieter than popular modern-day tracks.
I strongly suggest you start from the basics of audio engineering and production. Pick up or borrow a few books and start reading. Your knowledge about buses and mixing should be well acquired before even remotely thinking about mastering, let alone understanding the purpose of it. Having three duplicate tracks with different amount of compression could well be a weird production choice, surely nothing even remotely close to mastering practice or workflow.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
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Thor's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Don't take this the wrong way, but I think your assumptions are incorrect.

1. You don't have to master yourself. Just make the mix sound great and call it a day. Mastering is not a necessary step in production. It's icing on the cake. It's not the 4th wheel or paint on a car, it's detailing to bring out the last bit of luster and sparkle. When you've made your mix as good as you possibly can, you're done!

2. Who cares if "the final track is always quieter than popular modern-day tracks"? Really, stop chasing loud, make it sound good instead, and adjust your listening volume to suit. If by some random chance you actually get played on the radio, they'll take care of loudness for you and it will be as loud as everything else. It will probably sound better, to be honest.

3. "You know you have to do multiple compressions but have no clue how you're supposed to do that"? How do you know you're supposed to do that? Just as a point of reference, I almost never do that (maybe a few times a year) and have been doing this professionally, full time, for 10 years. Naturally one has to wonder where all this "information" - no, it's actually disinformation, comes from.

I'm sure there are some who will disagree, but mastering is not about making it loud, it's about making it sound good. As good as possible. Sometimes loud(er) is part of that, but not necessarily.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Thor



Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
Well, what I'm trying to do is find the best method to mastering using Cubase alone (because I cannot afford anything else, yes I will have to do the mastering myself) but the responses I am getting are too confusing. I mean... busses? mixing? I just don't get it. @[email protected]

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.

I think the primary problem, though, is that the final track is always quieter than popular modern-day tracks.
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MASSIVE Master ➑️
There is little doubt on this end -- The MOST dynamic mixes -- made with the MOST care and headroom at every possible phase of production, are the ones that have the most "volume potential" almost without fail.

...

That said, you seem obsessed with 'volume' - which is only a small part of the mastering process. It's usually the part where a lot of people spend the most effort -- but it's the most effortless part on the mixes that "deserve" it.
True words, and they'll doubtless now be largely ignored except by those of us who've done this for a living for a while and experience their truth on a daily basis.

I'd like to tattoo the essence of what John said in mirror writing on some people's foreheads, but that's just me.
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Old 22nd September 2012
  #18
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Spend a while watching youtube for mastering techniques. But getting a good mix before mastering is 99% of what's important. Get nice volume but keep decent headroom for what you record. Envision all the elements and sounds in your song as different blocks of frequency that need their own space and volumes to live in. Balance everything before mastering. Proper mastering should be that other 1% of finishing a track, by boosting the low and/or mids with EQ, adding harmonics and lightly compressing, etc.
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Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstace ➑️
Spend a while watching youtube for mastering techniques...
You've seen a Youtube video with accurate info about mastering?
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntley Miller ➑️
You've seen a Youtube video with accurate info about mastering?
It depends on what tools you use, but there's tons of great info on the net. Now applying it correctly to your own music is a whole other issue. I just found this by doing a quick search, idk, seems pretty informative to me although he does run his mix pretty hot, but it seems to suit the track.

Old 22nd September 2012
  #21
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narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
just watched that video. Not bas to get someone started. Will help.

However - in a fairly unrelated matter:

In my many long years doing this I have met a lot of the worlds best mixing and mastering engineers. One thing has been consistently common with all of them; none of them were ever "young". I dont think I have ever met a top end mix or mastering guy under 35. I havent met many under 45. The point is - it takes a long time to "get it" (and I'm far from able to make a loud master like some of the chaps out there - but then again I mix score so I dont have to).

Why am I saying this? cus when I see a video from someone who is something like 25 years old - and someone I've never heard of - then getting it "as loud and clear like the best in the world" is something I raise my eyebrows at!!

That's my experience - and of course, you may indeed think I'm "full of it".
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstace ➑️
It depends on what tools you use, but there's tons of great info on the net. Now applying it correctly to your own music is a whole other issue. I just found this by doing a quick search, idk, seems pretty informative to me although he does run his mix pretty hot, but it seems to suit the track.

What is your favorite record that was done by "Rob"?
Old 22nd September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
VST
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntley Miller ➑️
What is your favorite record that was done by "Rob"?
The one where you realized there ARE Youtube videos with accurate info about mastering. It was released on September 22, 2012.
Old 22nd September 2012
  #24
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clo17 ➑️
What are the methods you use to apply mastering
Analog, digital, tape, tubes, transformers, plug-ins, hardware, etc... whatever best serves the project.

JT
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Old 23rd September 2012
  #25
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🎧 5 years
WBM it is called time zones...posting in this thread is only going to move it over your thread on the main mastering page
Old 23rd September 2012
  #26
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The best three words I heard at the last AES:

"Listen, care, repeat" - Scott Hull
Old 6th October 2012 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor ➑️

2. Who cares if "the final track is always quieter than popular modern-day tracks"? Really, stop chasing loud, make it sound good instead, and adjust your listening volume to suit. If by some random chance you actually get played on the radio, they'll take care of loudness for you and it will be as loud as everything else. It will probably sound better, to be honest.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vstace ➑️
It depends on what tools you use, but there's tons of great info on the net. Now applying it correctly to your own music is a whole other issue. I just found this by doing a quick search, idk, seems pretty informative to me although he does run his mix pretty hot, but it seems to suit the track.

I don't use ProTools. TT_TT I use Cubase 5, WaveLab 6 (just acquired), and Audacity (just acquired).
Old 6th October 2012
  #28
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The problem with that is that there's an unavoidable ceiling that you will hit. The louder you want to go, the more you have to compromise on the dynamics. It's much like plowing snow up against a brick wall. You can't push the snow past that wall so it just gets more bunched up and packed the harder you try.

If you are going for a "levelled" sound, you can still do that at a lower level, so that you still have room for peaks. You can get higher perceived loudness by reducing low bass a bit too.

As others have mentioned, definitely focus on your mix, and the elements within. Your mastering will make your mix more of what it already is (for better or worse).

Hope this helps, best of luck!

Rob
Old 7th October 2012
  #29
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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).
From reading this I have not idea what are you doing..
copying tracks to get a fatter mix? don't think that will work, digital is digital and there's a ceiling on what you can do and getting the mix to 0db will sound pretty much the same no matter what you do, also from what you are saying I can only tell Cubase is actually doing the job correctly, as it is delivering a clean mix for later mastering, as Cubase is not a mastering suite.
Old 7th October 2012
  #30
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eddie.machete's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
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
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