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Old 29th June 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 
Mastering: Clipping/Limiting

Greetings, Jens! Thanks for taking the time to answer questions here

I am curious about your approach to setting final level in mastering. I’ve heard you say before that you clip your AD converters pretty hard at the end of your chain instead of using limiting for transparent loudness, and my question is what happens after this? Do you record back into the computer and the track is done, avoiding limiters entirely? Or is there usually some kind of safety limiting or other processing you do in the digital domain after going back in to the DAW? If there is more to be done, what are you using?

Thanks for your time, all the best ??
Old 30th June 2020
  #2
Here for the gear
 
AAGG's Avatar
 
DR for mastering?

Thanks for your time, Jens!

I mix into a "mastering chain", because I want to get to the final sound as close as I can get it.

-If I wanted to send songs to you for mastering, how much Dynamic Range (peak to rms) would you at least need to comfortably master the songs?

-How loud do you usually get with your masters? I find that there is always a point where the front to back image (depth) gets lost.

-Do you sometimes have trouble to convince your clients that louder is not always better?


Cheers,
Andi
Old 1st July 2020
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
NathanC's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mastering

Hi Jens,

I've noticed that you're credited for both mixing and mastering the same productions more than once...

Long question short: How do you do that? How do you switch your brain from going from mixing mode into mastering mode and stay objective?
Old 1st July 2020
  #4
Here for the gear
 
Jens Bogren - Mastering chain

Hi Jens, congratulations for all your success!

You are always asked about your mixing methods, but this time I'd like to know more about your mastering methods:

- How do you approach the mastering stage (your own mixes and external stuff)?

- What is tipically your mastering chain?

Thank you so much and keep rockin!
Old 9th July 2020
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackkosto ➡️
I am curious about your approach to setting final level in mastering. I’ve heard you say before that you clip your AD converters pretty hard at the end of your chain instead of using limiting for transparent loudness, and my question is what happens after this? Do you record back into the computer and the track is done, avoiding limiters entirely? Or is there usually some kind of safety limiting or other processing you do in the digital domain after going back in to the DAW? If there is more to be done, what are you using?
Hey man, good questions. I do way more albums as a mastering engineer per year than I do mixing, so I was hoping to get some questions on these matters.

Yeah, I do not like limiters much, I prefer AD clipping or possibly some other digital clipping method. When it gets ugly, it gets ugly, but up until that point it's way more transparent than limiters. To reach "maximum" level (a relative term), I do however pre-treat the mix with some limiting (usually Oxford Limiter, the same one as I use on my monitor return while mixing to "emulate" mastering).
Then I might "shave" the clipped signal further with another limiter (0,5dB or so, usually compensating for the fact that I need to bring down the final output level to -0,2 or lower, depending on sample rate, etc.

For ADM (used to be Mastered for iTunes), I bring it down lower, around -1dB. Achieving volume has a lot to do with having a mix that is suitable for loudness. Then getting the frequency response right, and lastly having the gain stages in harmony: a little of many things, not trying to achieve final volume through one method only.
Old 9th July 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAGG ➡️
I mix into a "mastering chain", because I want to get to the final sound as close as I can get it.

-If I wanted to send songs to you for mastering, how much Dynamic Range (peak to rms) would you at least need to comfortably master the songs?

-How loud do you usually get with your masters? I find that there is always a point where the front to back image (depth) gets lost.

-Do you sometimes have trouble to convince your clients that louder is not always better?
Hey Andi!

As much headroom as I can get, really. I think it's a good idea to mix the way you describe, but then get rid of anything that probably could be done better in a separate mastering process.
It can be important to provide the mastering engineer with a "listening reference" though, containing all the bells and whistles from the mix stage.

I go as loud as I think the mix has potential for. Sometimes the client will ask me to push it louder, and then we might have a discussion about it. Sometimes I will provide 2 options for the first song with different output levels. Loudness is getting less important, but at least in my line of music it's still very common to want it freakin' loud. I can only do so much about that.
Old 9th July 2020 | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanC ➡️
Hi Jens,

I've noticed that you're credited for both mixing and mastering the same productions more than once...

Long question short: How do you do that? How do you switch your brain from going from mixing mode into mastering mode and stay objective?
Hi Nathan, yeah I switched around 2008 to master most of my own mixes, simply 'cause I thought it got better that way. I had a clear picture of what I wanted, and I had the means to do it. By now, I also have experience. :-)

To answer your question, it can be very hard. I really prefer some days between mixing and mastering. The good thing is if I have to work too hard during mastering, I will go back into the mix.

One reflection I can share is that I think many mastering engineers are trying too hard, and thus altering the mixes where the cons of whatever they're trying to do outweigh the pros by far. Especially if it's a mix engineer trying to master. I've been there for sure.

In general, I really recommend working with an external engineer. These days I have Tony Lindgren inhouse, even though I can't help myself messing with him when he's mastering my stuff. Control freak to the core.
Old 10th July 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by julz666 ➡️
Hi Jens, congratulations for all your success!

You are always asked about your mixing methods, but this time I'd like to know more about your mastering methods:
- How do you approach the mastering stage (your own mixes and external stuff)?
- What is tipically your mastering chain?
Thanks, man! It's hard work.

Tough question, I never reflected over a certain approach. It's instinct, and mostly it's about different stages of EQ. Less compression than people think, and a correct (or what works for me) gain staging through various processes to achieve the desired volume. I tend to work in MS a bit, but mainly stereo.

I do quite a lot of stem mastering work since people know me probably more through my mixing work. Then they think I can fix their mix. ;-)

A typical chain can be: Pro Tools session, possibly some Epure or Digital V3 EQ, maybe some limiter shaving, out through my Forsell MADA-2, possibly through my RND summing system (for the transformers), off to my Gyratec, into my SSL XLogic compressor, into my Thermoinic Culture Phoenix (usually no compression), onwards into MADA-2 again, into an aux track in Pro Tools where I might add another limiter, routed to an audio track where I print.

I might also use the LinMB before going analogue, and on occasion, I'd use the Voxengo CurveEQ.
Old 11th July 2020
  #9
Here for the gear
 
Awesome of you to share so much of your chain and thought process! Do you use that Tube Tech multiband for anything, or is it there for aesthetic reasons these days? 😉
Old 11th July 2020
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Hey Jens,

Your a beast for sharing that signal chain!

Interesting to hear your using the Voxengo curve EQ - I know you said only occasionally, but are you doing some EQ matching on those occasions?

I feel like iZotope Tonal Balance Control has helped me with analysis of target curves and see if I’m in the ballpark, but go through cycles of mixers depression feeling like I’m cheating or something (like we’ve all got this notion in our head that we only get the trophy by playing this game on Nightmare mode or something!!)

If you are ever doing a curve compare of sorts, even if it’s just for checking purposes rather than eq marching purposes what’s your go to references?
Old 15th July 2020 | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackkosto ➡️
Awesome of you to share so much of your chain and thought process! Do you use that Tube Tech multiband for anything, or is it there for aesthetic reasons these days? 😉
I rarely use it, sorry. :-) I thought it was what I really needed when I got it, but it’s doing too much most of the time for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digimortal ➡️
Interesting to hear your using the Voxengo curve EQ - I know you said only occasionally, but are you doing some EQ matching on those occasions?

I feel like iZotope Tonal Balance Control has helped me with analysis of target curves and see if I’m in the ballpark, but go through cycles of mixers depression feeling like I’m cheating or something (like we’ve all got this notion in our head that we only get the trophy by playing this game on Nightmare mode or something!!)

If you are ever doing a curve compare of sorts, even if it’s just for checking purposes rather than eq marching purposes what’s your go to references?
Yes, that happens sometimes, especially if the mix I receive is very far off. It can be very helpful, however, the more you use it, the more you will hear the drawbacks. I tend to go very gentle or replace part of whatever it suggested with different EQ’s. I have a cocktail of references that I’ve created into frequency response “targets” depending on the genre or type of production. But again: it’s easy to do more harm than good here.
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