Best easy-to-use mastering plug-in?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by weaver7, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. weaver7

    weaver7 Active Member

    Mar 5, 2008
    Home Page:
    So far I have tried the Image Line Maximus demo, and that seemed to work great, and I was able to get some of my songs sounding a lot better with it.

    I also recently got the free 5orcery mastering compressor plug-in from KVR audio, and that also works pretty good, even though I basically am just moving around some knobs until things sound better. Any other suggestions, as well as any suggestions for other things I could put in the master chain that would help get my mixes sounding better?
  2. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Good mastering is not about the specific plug-in or processor used: its all about hearing what is wrong with the original mix, and knowing what to do to improve it. "moving around some knobs until things sound better" does not count as proper mastering!

    I actually designed 5ORCERY. Glad you are finding it useful... but I would like to point out that I don't use the word "mastering" anywhere in the description or the manual! That doesn't mean you can't use it over a full mix: just that "mastering" involves a whole lot more than slapping on a multi-band.

    I am assuming that you are working on your own mixes, and that you are using the same monitoring and room that you mixed in..? In which case, you won't have any new insights at the mastering stage that you did not have while mixing. Any serious "mastering" processing is therefore likely to just compound the mistakes you made during the mix.

    I suggest you avoid any mastering processing, except for a limiter which you will use to raise your songs to the same target volume level. FabFilter Pro-L is the best I've tried (though I haven't demo'ed them all I admit) and the integrated K-Scale metering will guide you to suitable target levels. More info in this video:

    You don't need Pro-L of course: you can do K-Scale metering for free with Voxengo SPAN and several free limiters are available, which should work fine if you're just subtly shaving peaks to reach K14 levels.

    Once your mixes are all level matched, burn them to a CD and try them out in the real world. If you become aware of problems, try to fix these in the mix rather than using some "magic mastering" plug.
  3. Lougarcia

    Lougarcia Active Member

    Apr 11, 2007
    Manila, Philippines
    Home Page:
    Hi There!

    If you want you can try Izotope Ozone and waves mastering plugins. They are really good!

    Hope this one helps!
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Then there are those of us who still like T-Racks from IK multimedia. Not over abused of course.

    Subtlety is the art of definition
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. jshonuff

    jshonuff Active Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    Slate digital/Ozone/ T-racks
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    What IIRs said. Audio finalizing is less about what tools you use than experience plus natural ability. Your phrase "just moving around some knobs until things sound better" is proof of that. You might as well ask what the best easy to use Grand Prix motorcycle is. You won't be winning races any time soon regardless of what you're riding.

    But that's okay. Stick with the tools you have until you know them well and know what they aren't doing that you want done. Then you'll have something solid to base your next move upon.
  7. gilbert123

    gilbert123 Active Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    voxengo have some good plugins. the elephant 2 limiter is great.
    izotope ozone can be ok but you have to really watch it as it does nearly too much, eq,dynamics,loudness,enhancing,sterio image,reverb etc etc.
    any native plugin that 'does it all' is very suspect, but i have used izotope ozone and Tracks mastering suite in a minimal way with ok results.

    you really have to be careful with throwing plugins on the main output channel.
    if you can get a used UAD card, the Precision Mastering plugins are way better than native plugins, in many situations. (very clean sounding though).

    a used focusrite liquid mix or powercore card can be had for little these days, a step forward from most native plugins (in my opinion)

    as mentioned, the main thing is getting to know the techniques. knowing a multiband compressor and limiter inside out and the theory behind it. little things like knowing about dithering and bit depth/sample rate conversion at every stage can make all the difference.

    having said that, the 'all in ones' like izotope ozone and Tracks have presets that can sound pretty good straight away, then tweek the presets a little like you have been doing. less is more!
  8. Katalyst_Studios

    Katalyst_Studios Active Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    Dixon, Mo
    IIRs "Once your mixes are all level matched, burn them to a CD and try them out in the real world. If you become aware of problems, try to fix these in the mix rather than using some "magic mastering" plug. "

    Some of the best advice I have ever heard. people have laughed at in me in the past because I will burn a quick CD and go listen to it in the cd players of both my car and my wifes . You would be supprised what you can learn about a mix when its NOT being played on "perfect" monitoring system

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