Beginning outboard gear

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by bender_2112, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. bender_2112

    bender_2112 Guest

    I'm so glad I found this forum!! I have been reading through the posts on here and they have been very informative thus far.

    I am currently in the process of scoping out some bare necessity outbaord gear for mastering. I have been mastering for about a year now and am now ready (from a budget standpoint) to move my mastering processes from solely using plug-ins to setting up an outboard set up.

    My question is what are some good budget consious pieces of gear (EQ, Compressors/Limiters, Exciters, Maximizers, etc..). How can you tell if one brand is better than the other, besides trying it out? I've been looking at Behringer (sp?). From reviews I've read on some of the gear, it's been positive and is reasonably priced.

    I currently master (don't laugh) with SoundForge and Izotope's Ozone plugin as well as some of the stock processors that come with SoundForge (which aren't that bad). I also use CD Archtiect to do the ISRC and Redbook CD burning. My monitors are JBL.

    I have been able to produce, what I think (and my clients think) are good masters. Some of my clients think they're really good, but I'm a humble and self critical kind of guy. I know that I need some good gear to take my mastering to the next level.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks much,

    Matt Bender
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    The best monitors you can buy should be your next purchase. Without good critical listening monitors, your shooting in the dark. You'll also be able to tell what gear is working for you and what is not. You'll get more mileage out of the gear you have if you can really hear what your doing.
  3. bender_2112

    bender_2112 Guest


    Thanks for the response. Any recommendations on affordable good quality monitors? or at least a link or two?

    Thanks much
  4. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Hi, I´ve done the very same question here last year and I remember Michael also recommeneded the best monitors one could afford.
    Although I am more of a junior mastering guy and some proes here will not agree, I would recomend the Dynaudio BM6´s.
  5. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    I will recomend AudioNote speakers.
    I've never heard as much musical detail as i hear with my AN system.
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Read this forum first (Dead Link Removed)

    Buy the best monitors you can not afford to buy. If they are not self powered (and a lot of the best are not) get the best amplifier you cannot afford to buy to power them with. The speakers and tha room are two of the most important things you can have in mastering. Without them it would be like trying to use Photoshop with your eyes closed.

    Get your room checked by an acoustician to make sure you do not have a lot of problems in your room. A bad sounding room can make even the best speakers sound bad.

    Listen to a lot of material from CDs in your room to get to know its "sound" before you start to master with the new speakers.

    Check the output of what you are doing on lots of different systems to see how closely what you are hearing in your room translates into the real world. Listen to your stuff on boomboxes, car stereos, club systems, home hi fi and other systems that someone might be listening to your mastering on.

    Hope this helps....
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I don't like to recommend monitors because everyone has an opinion as to what makes good monitors. listening to as many as you can over a period of time. Don't make a rush decision. When you start to check out high end monitors, they will sound different than what your used to. It takes a little time to tune in to them. Listen to the same ones at different times in different conditions. you'll be amazed at how different the same monitors can sound. I don't think about what a monitor costs when I listen to them, and I don't ask. listen, narrow then down to about 10, listen some more and then ask. If they're pricey, look at ways to figure out how to buy them. Don't underbuy because in 6 months you'll regret it. This really is the best piece of equipment you can buy. The first set of really good monitors I bought sounded pretty good to me but my clients couldn't relate to them, so keep this in mind too. If your clients attend sessions, they have to be able to judge what's going on too. Once you have a really reliable setup, your work quality will tripple. I don't know any other piece of gear that can bring in that kind of return.
  8. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Michael, which should be step 2?
    a high end a/d? ( an 192 should o fine?)
    a linear phase eq? (Waves MAsters bundle/Weiss digi?)
    a stereo comp? ( Manely, Crane ?)
    Thanks again
  9. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member

    I hate to rain on the budget parade, but budget mastering is kind of an oxymoron. Mastering is all about getting the best out of the material. If $300.00 compressors could do the job the mastering houses wouldn't waste money on the expensive stuff.

    Excluding the best full range monitors you ca afford, (if they are not full range monitors you are just guessing on the low end) I would recommend the TC Finalizer Pro or whatever the latest version of it. It has the tools you need. It sounds good. It's a very good place to start.
  10. bender_2112

    bender_2112 Guest


    You're right. It is an oxymoron. I will start with the best pair of monitors/amps I can afford, then work my way up. Unfortuneately I'm not in a position where I can make a large capital investment right now. I'd like to work my way up to that. Thanks for the input and information.
  11. joe lambert

    joe lambert Distinguished Member



Share This Page