Definition of mastering

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by logamos2001, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. logamos2001

    logamos2001 Guest

    can somebody give me a basic definition of MASTERING. thank u
  2. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Mastering (a.k.a., correct / common: "premastering") Bringing a selection of mixes into their final state before manufacturing.

    At its very simplest when it comes to CD's, it's the making of the production master - A RedBook compliant, error verified, PQ logged disc. In a broader sense, it's tweaking the sound of the mixes on the way to creating the PMCD.
  3. logamos2001

    logamos2001 Guest

    hmm, so basically making all the songs sound like they belong on the same cd?
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    That's a big part of it, yeah... There's really so much to it and so little to it at the same time... To me, (well probably to every M.E.), it's the most vital part of the chain. It's where everything comes together. I think that's why I was drawn to it in the first place.

    Just like my old car - I didn't want to build it, I didn't care for working on the motor - Hell, I didn't even hand-wash it.

    But the detailing... The polish, the wax - Cleaning out every crevice I could find... Getting in between every spoke on the mags, putting a shine on the tires... That's what it was all about.

    And that's what mastering is all about - Taking a really cool car that needs a little TLC and tweaking it until it's as good as its' potential will allow - Hopefully, without making it all "pimped out" and gaughty (the pimped out and gaughty part is what multi-band compressors are for. :lol: )
  5. logamos2001

    logamos2001 Guest

    so when one is mastering. are they taking the one track and messing with it as one file, or the whole song (project with all the audio tracks) and tweaking those?
  6. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    The mixes (normally). Trying to get them to their potential, and at the same time, trying to get the album to it's potential also. You have to do what's good for the song, but also for the album as a whole.
  7. JimC

    JimC Guest

    Guys, I have additional question! When I receive 10 tracks from different artists,already mixed and I need to do pre-master cdr, what is the most important that I do? Remove clicks and similar (edit) of the tracks, put them on same volume, and make red book cdr. Is that right? I should not change any sound of them as they are final tracks...Please,any advise what I should check more? Thanks!
  8. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Exactly. :-?

    Seriously though - You do what you need. If you don't know what you need, you'd be best served getting someone who does.
  9. JimC

    JimC Guest

    I didn't know that this forum is made to self-promote some mastering company's. Thanks for being so smart ... :roll:
  10. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Jim, care to elaborate?

    I feel pretty damn lucky when I think that there are full time guys, myself included, that are willing to take the time to read the questions on this board and hand out their opinions, expecting NOTHING in return.

    No one here gets paid, and I'm sure it's extremely rare that any business comes from our involvement here.

    Our payment comes via the satisfaction that another cat in the business has been educated, in some form or fashion.

    (Would you rather take advice from someone who does not give you his credentials, unlike John? Someone who you have no way of knowing whether or not what he brings to the table is on the up and up?)
  11. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    That and the fact that, hopefully, the quality of recordings out there might be raised 1/100th of a bar. But, I'm primarily a student on this forum. Sometimes the best advice is the advice we don't want to hear. Humility has great value when you're trying to learn something.

    My 2 cents.
  12. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Did somebody call me?
  13. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you and Hueseph - the two enigmas of the recording world...

  14. JimC

    JimC Guest

    Hi Space, nice to see you here ! :D
  15. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    You do what needs to be done. There is no one else to pass the buck to. It's your job to catch all the little stuff, their option as to whether or not they want it corrected, but you must give them the option at first. If you hear clicks and pops and don't say anything about it, then you aren't doing your job.
  16. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Drop the 'tude... :roll:

    You might notice that I (at least not to my recollection) have ever tried to "promote" my company here. I don't think any of us really do.

    If the engine in my car needs repair, I can either post on a forum "what do I have to do to fix my engine?" and receive a bunch of answers - most of them suggesting that if I don't know what needs to be done, then I should take it to a mechanic -- Or, I can take it to a mechanic.

    And then I'm not going to tell some mechanic that he's trying to promote his company by suggesting that I go to a mechanic...

    And even on the other hand -- When I *do* know what needs to be done -- Last year, my bike was running hot - HOT - and it was backfiring on deceleration. I'm not a pro, but I knew that it was running far too lean *and* was getting far to much air in an uncontrolled manner. So, I needed a (proper) high-flow air cleaner installed *and* needed the carburetor re-jetted to increase fuel flow.

    With the right parts, the right tools and the right manuals, I probably - probably could've done that myself in the course of an afternoon and hope I don't strand myself on the highway 100 miles from home. Or, I could just ride into the HD shop and have them do it for me in less than an hour and know that it was done properly.

    Just because I have some tools and have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done, it doesn't make me a mechanic.

    You're asking a very, very basic question about mastering. My answer was to let you know that. As Michael mentioned, you do what you need to do. No one can just "tell you" what it needs.

    I don't assume you don't know - You listed a bunch of things, etc., etc. But if you don't know then you'll probably be better served going to someone who does. If you want to experiment, you need to be prepared to be stranded on the side of the road. That's fine on your own bike. But not on 10 other people's bikes.
  17. This may help

    For the most part I agree with the other guys , but there are some certain things that must be done.

    1. On your pre masters you should be hitting an average of -11 db or better, this is so you can have enough volume in your track so that you dont have to squash the crap out of it when it hits the final mastering stage.

    2. have an out ceiling of 0 db on your final master, this is so your music doesn't distort and if its digital you need to be even more cautious on this end of things because .01 db over will cause a harsh harsh distortion in the recording which would be defeating the whole purpose of mastering.

    3. If you are recording in 24 bit or anything higher than 16 bit, you will need to dither down your track to 16 bit. This is so you dont loose your sound quality from 24 bit or something like that, haha, I just use it cause I know your supposed to.

    4. 100% of the time you'll need a limiter to get the song pumping enough volume into your 0 db ceiling that you set up, along with a good multi- band compression to even the mix out a little.

    But like the others guys said, theres no way to know exactly what you need to do on a mastering job , every master is different in terms of what needs to happen in order to make it an industry standard.

    I hope I helped out a little, I will admit, I am not a pro at mastering, but I think my masters sound as good as any one elses.

  18. JimC

    JimC Guest

    Heey Joshua, many thanks on such reply! :) That's something I expected to find as answer! :cool: Guys, but maybe I was not clear enough. I will receive finished mixes of the songs, so I'm not allowed to change anything on them! I just need to put all 10 on one cdr as pre-master for the factory. So, there could only be matter of different tracks levels and what else? That was my question. Thanks in advance!
  19. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Re: This may help

    Oh boy. Here it comes. Expect backlash. Not only is this wrong. It's a pet peeve of a lot of people here.

    JimC: You shouldn't ask a question if you have expectations in regards to the answer. The only answer you should expect is a good one. Whatever that may be. You got several good ones and one that you expected. Just because it was the answer you wanted does not make it right. For that matter, if you had predetermined the answer you wanted in your mind, why bother asking at all?
  20. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    The EQ on each track might need adjusted to be more consistent, you can compress each a little bit to get the volume consistent too, but besides that you make any assumptions until you have the tracks.

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