using sound forge tp master my tracks

Discussion in 'Mastering Engineers Forum' started by jerryroy, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. jerryroy

    jerryroy

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    hey guys im new here and aslo new to the whole thing of mastering. im an up coming producer and i made a couple of tracks and i want to know how can i master may tracks so that they sound like any other commercail cdon the market. and i use sound forge. walk me through the process. thanx in advance
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Moderator Moderator

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    First thing, welcome to the mastering forum.

    There is no process so to speak. you do what needs to be done, no more, no less.

    If you're not sure what the mix needs, then you're not going to know what to do or when you've arrived.

    I'd start by reading, listening.
  3. jerryroy

    jerryroy

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    ok so can u recomend any books. well to tell u the trueth some times my mix sounds low and sometimes dry so when i reach this piont i dont know what to do. but everything sounds ok but it seems low and a bit dry, i mean when i compare it with a my john legend cd it sounds low compare to the cd, so i want to know what can i do to bring the levels up
  4. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Moderator Moderator

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    There is a great book by Bob Katz on mastering. It will explain lots of things about the mastering process.
  5. Masteringhouse

    Masteringhouse

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    Perfect answer Michael!

    People new to mastering want to find rules of thumb, magic plugins, or some "secret" to mastering. And unfortunately many equipment and software manufacturers take advantage of this misunderstanding.

    In order to perform mastering some of the basic things that you will need are:

    The ability to critically listen to a mix in order to determine what types of processing may be needed to enhance the mix.

    A accurate listening environment (monitors and room) otherwise it's difficult to tell what the mixes may or may not need.

    Processing gear in order to perform the tasks required that is going to leave the least amount of artifacts after processing.

    Good quality control of the final master.
  6. jerryroy

    jerryroy

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    thanx man really appreciate the help
  7. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering

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    Keep in mind not to drive yourself nuts trying to take a recording somewhere it's not going to go - I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm just trying to keep you rooted in reality.

    The less "stellar" the recording is, the MORE stellar the mastering engineer needs to be. Mastering a great sounding recording is about KEEPING it great and perhaps adding a little polish. Taking a recording that isn't quite "there" and making it sound like it IS there takes a good amount of experience, among other things.

    A lot of people get upset that their recordings don't end up sounding like their commercial counterparts - It's not that it can't be done, but much of the time, people are comparing recordings made on a $5,000 recording rig with recordings that had $5,000 budgeted just for the mastering session and accomplished with hundreds of thousands in gear and hired talent from the start.
  8. Masteringhouse

    Masteringhouse

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    Another book to have a look at is Bobby Owsinski's "The Mastering Engineer's Handbook".

    While it doesn't have quite the depth of BKs book, there are some really good interviews and a nice section on vinyl.

    As far as answering your question, it's a very big topic. You may want to break it down a bit more, for example:

    What are some recommended signal flows for mastering?
    How do you deal with an xyz problem in the track?
    What is dithering and why is it used?
    Should I upsample during mastering?

    Stuff like that ...

    In order to bring levels up, you will need to compromise on the dynamic range of the material (you don't get something for free) assuming that you are already hitting peak. You can do this by a combination of limiting and compressing. In general limiting is used to aggressively bring down the peaks so that the overall level can be brought up by the same amount. Usually used to tame transients. Compression is a more "gentle" process, used to increase the "density" of the mix and reduce overall dynamic range.

    Try using both in combination (compressor first then limiter) and listen to the efect they have on the mix at different threshold levels and ratios.

    As far as the "dry" comment, this seems to be more of a mixing issue than mastering. adding depth is a combination of recoridng with good room ambience or adding reverb and delay.
  9. imagineaudio

    imagineaudio

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    mastering house.....im not trying to master my own stuff, but I do have some questions.....as basic as they may be

    regarding the comp/limiter... would they be inserted before or after the master fader, or comp before/limiter after?

    what aresome recommended signal flows??
  10. Masteringhouse

    Masteringhouse

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    As always it depends. If you're using something like an L2 for limiting and dithering from it, you will want that to be last in the chain. Any changes in volume level should be performed before the dithering takes place.

    For digital processing I try to keep my master fader at zero in order not to incur the additional processing. You should be able to set the final volume level at the limiter, so there really should be no need to use the master fader at all. In this case, the limiter should be fine before the master fader.

    (I'm assuming that your talking about a completely digital chain).
  11. timtu

    timtu Guest

    hi,
    I use sound forge to master stuff all the time because it is the next best thing to a fully decked out studio dedicated to mastering. I do have a general process for mastering, which is as follows;
    First I increase the levels to a maximum amount while still keeping a good sound (avoiding distortion, especially in more vocally orientated artists). This, of course is using the Soundforge dynamics plug-in.
    My next step is to run a noisgate at an appropriate rate (this will variate). After that I will put the final EQ. There are two ways of doing this:
    1. Run out of the via either the soundcard or audio interface into a 'proper' analogue EQ, than back into the computer. This is typically to complicated for a lazy individual such as I. So I will usually rely on option number two.
    2. Simply use the EQ plug-in on Soundforge.

    These steps don't answer any such questions of mastering that have been refered to above however it may give you a guide.

    tillman.
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