cheap mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Troy_Thrills, May 26, 2005.

  1. Troy_Thrills

    Troy_Thrills Guest

    I record using a Tascam 488 and I usually mix it down by plugging into my friend's shitty computer. Needless to say, it comes out sounding like $*^t.

    What is a good, cheap program I can use to keep some of the fidelity that I am losing at the moment using my present system.
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Krystal is FREEware... There's another... Audacity?

    But I'll tell ya', software is the absolute LEAST important part of the system...
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    To properly do mastering you need four things

    A good set of ears

    A good monitoring setup including the room- the speakers and the amplifier

    Good outboard equipment to do the mastering or a DAW that is running a good program like SADIE or Wavelab.

    Lots of experience.

    If you don't have the above 4 items you will not be able to do professional level mastering.

    Suggest taking your project to a real Mastering Studio and have them do it once for you and attend the session so you can see what is involved.

  4. DeeDrive

    DeeDrive Active Member

    I agree, software is the least of your problems. When you say "plugging into your friend's computer" are you talking about plugging directy to an on-board sound card? If so, that's your problem. Even high-end consumer sound cards on computeres are not made for pro audio, and on-board sound is about the worst thing you can send your audio into. If you could go digitally into the computer, you would preserve whatever quality your board was putting out, provided you have high quality converters. But software should really not affect the fidelity.
  5. Troy_Thrills

    Troy_Thrills Guest

    Thanks for the info, I know I lose so much fidelity with my current method.

    It's just so quick and cheap.
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    quick and cheap doesnt' have to be crap. There are many ways you can get great results with less than stellar gear. what you can't replace is a good set of monitors.
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Why are you perpetuating this myth? There is no way someone with cheap equipment can do professional level mastering. I hear this all the time at places like GC and Sam Ash when the salesmen is telling their customer that some $125.00 graphic equalizer or compressor will allow the customer to do "professional level mastering"at home. It just isn't so.

    If you want professional results then you have to have professional equipment used by a professional with lots of experience.

    Your statement "quick and cheap doesnt' have to be crap. There are many ways you can get great results with less than stellar gear" will be taken out of context and used by people to justify their attempts at mastering with their dbx graphic eq and their Behringer compressor. When the stuff sounds like crap the "mastering engineer" will say to him/her self but Michael Fossenkemper, a well respected mastering engineer said it was possible and even would produce "great results"

    Lets start telling people the real truth.

  8. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Let's reverse your argument.

    Give the same guy that's going into sam ash the best compressors, limiters, and eq's money can buy and see if they can turn out a professional product. It's not going to happen. Gear is not the solution. Would I trade in my gear for a finalizer? no. But if I was stuck with only a finalizer and some good monitors, it wouldn't turn out like crap. This difference really lies in experience and knowing what you are doing and why. The "myth" as you say goes both ways. I've also seen many people go out and spend boat loads of money on equipment with horrible results. I've seen excellent engineers turn out amazing product on a mackie console and 2 spx90's. Would it be their console of choice? no, but it doesn't mean it has to be crap as long as they know what they are doing. I am in the camp that believes in "If you can't make what you have sound good, then you don't deserve better gear".
  9. somastring

    somastring Guest

    it s a freeware if Im not wrong
  10. Masteringhouse

    Masteringhouse Active Member

    Cool! Totally agree.

    There was a demo of mastering on cheap gear that we had on another forum that I believe Michael is aware of so I'll leave it to him to post a link. There were some very good results with prosumer gear, but it also assumes that the mix isn't a salvage operation. The best mastering jobs are those that are as close to straight transfers as possible IMHO, and should require minimal gear other than a good listening/monitoring environment.

    The problem with many home projects isn't so much that the mastering is bad as the mix needs serious work before mastering
  11. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    I think it's actually around $400...
  12. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Depends on how you get it I suppose.... :roll:
  13. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Reggie will be here all week. Remember to tip your waitress.
  14. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Hey what can I say? This board keeps me entertained while I am at work. :lol:

    And don't forget, comedians accept tips too! :)
  15. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Thomas is right about this.
    Quick and cheap will newer be more than a coincidence of good luck... if you even get that far with it.

    Michael, we all have to live and not spend too much money... but you are promoting fast food here. this doesn't help the amatour or the pro.
  16. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    It's not about promoting fast food, it's about getting the most out of the gear you have. I don't necessarily need to own a ferrari to be a good driver. If you know how to use and not use certain types of cheap gear, there is no reason that it can't sound good. Once you can make it sound good, then you step it up with better gear. I think this is an important learning experience. Rely on your skills and know how instead of a piece of gear. I'm not advicating buying cheap gear here. All I'm saying is use your brain and your ears to make it sound good.

    Maybe some of you have never been in a situation where you have limited gear but still need to pull it off. I've been on a tour bus with nothing more than a laptop, a 57, and a joe meek VC1 preamp that I had to rig to run off the bus's battery. I'm talking windows 32 laptop. I recorded a lead vocal while driving down the freeway at 70mph because he felt that he needed to put it down right then while it was fresh. we ended up using that vocal on the record. Was it the best sounding vocal ever? no. But it did not sound like crap, in fact it sounded pretty good.

    even the best gear has limitations, you have to know what those are and be able to use it in a way that makes it sound the best it can. It doesn't mean crap gear is good, it means the person behind the gear is good.
  17. Masteringhouse

    Masteringhouse Active Member

    On the other side of the coin you have to consider that having the best of gear is not necessarily the means to the end. I'm sure that there are budding MEs that think they would be as good as Bob Ludwig if they only had his gear. Music stores and manufacturers also perpetuate this myth in order to sell higher end gear along with the cheap stuff.

    For the novice, do-it-yourselfers, no/low budget engineers or artists producing demos the best way to have a great master is to produce a great mix and to spend more time preventing problems rather than spending money on finding ways to fix them.

    Unless you plan on mastering as your gig, it makes more sense to hire a pro rather than spend several thousands of dollars on gear trying to master yourself. However until you get to the point where you have something worth mastering professionally, an artist may want to produce a few demos and self-master to get product out quick and cheap. Again, if the mix is good you can always find a pro to master it later, if not you're starting from square one if you get an independent record deal. Anything larger than an indy is probably going to want to hire a producer and start from scratch anyway.
  18. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    That is in fact a good and REAL statement that happens all the time in the music scene. It happened to me too more than once and it turned out pretty good almost all of the time with the gear we had and sometimes there was almost nothing. The artist is there, ready and want to do it now, so no matter what you have as gear, just capture what is going on because that is where all it starts.

    So, having cheap or almost nothing to get a "picture" of what is going on NOW, is better than nothing. And if it happens that you can do something good with cheap stuff, that means the gear is not the first and only thing, ears & experience is the thing. ears & experience with great gear is the ideal.

    I remember to record and mix some bands in the early 80's with cheap reel 1/4 " 4 tracks recorder with some pedals effects patched on a Nepune 8 channel mixer and sounded ok but the most important is that the recording happened. I don't know if it would have sounded better if I had a $200,000 of equipment at that time because of lack of experience..andtoo much fast food :roll: .

  19. denizci2000

    denizci2000 Guest

    Prefession Mastering

    (edited by the moderator)

    that's strike one.
  20. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Uh? :roll:

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